(WJHL) – As colors change and colder weather settles in, there are several accessible roads where you can see fall in all of its glory around the Tri-Cities.
This road spans from Lenoir City to Savannah, Georgia, but some of its best views can be found in the Tri-Cities. If wide views of rolling hills are your favorites, look no further than Telford. One particular spot offers a view that stretches out for miles.
If you prefer your mountains close-up, starting a drive in Elizabethton and riding 321 to Boone would net some great views of Watauga Lake and the many hollers that make up the TN/NC border. You could also turn onto Highway 67, up through Butler and on to the gorgeous Doe Valley.
TN-133 Shady Valley
On the other side of Doe Mountain, Tennessee Route 133 offers a cozy cruise all the way up to the Virginia border. Heading west, Tennessee Route 91 runs between Holston Mountain and the Iron Mountains. You could also drive east to Damascus, Virginia and enjoy the little mountain town’s amenities.
Erwin Highway – TN 107
A stretch of this road from South Central to Erwin takes you past some great views at the foot of Embreeville Mountain, and cuts through a mountain gap next to the Nolichucky River. A fun detour could lead down Bumpus Cove Road and Little Germany Road, which follows the river in a tight bend known as The Horseshoe.
This road boasts several scenic spots, and a great drive runs from Duffield to the Powell Valley Overlook near Hoot Owl Hollow. The overlook faces back along the drive, and gives you a chance to see the entire valley light up as the sun goes down. Along the way, you can spot several Southwest Virginia gems, like the high-running CSX Copper Creek viaduct.
I-26 – Sams Gap
This interstate is one of the region’s most ambitious pieces of infrastructure and has the breathtaking views to prove it. I-26’s journey among the mountains begins around Johnson City, and Sams Gap offers a view that few interstates can rival. Just make sure your vehicle is up to date on maintenance and brake pads, the grade can get steep at the highest elevations. You can keep going to Weaverville and Asheville to make the most of your trip, or take the long way home on Highway 19E.
This mountain has its own set of well-maintained roads that are extremely popular in the fall. TN 143 and NC 261 take drivers to the Carvers Gap Trailhead, and offer their own beautiful views in either state. Bakersville and Roan Mountain serve as outposts on either side of the route, and are likely your last chance at gasoline before you tackle the mountain.