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Six Scenic Drives In Wilkes You Can Take Right Now

August 01, 2020 at 12:50 PM

NC National Park Service Banner Doughton Park

Itching to get out but not quite ready to get up close and personal? Wilkes is a beautiful, rural county with miles and miles of quiet back roads, stunning peaks with overlooks, and much more. Discover what awaits you on these scenic drives. 


Wilkes County Barn Quilt TrailA Barn Quilt in Wilkes County, North Carolina

Reflect on times past as you travel through the beautiful pastoral landscapes of Wilkes County, with generational homesteads, barns and farms. Quilt patterns were chosen from centuries old, placed on barns of local residents wishing to ensure this legacy, and enjoyed by all who gaze and recognize it as a form of art. Sharing rich heritage through quilt design, Wilkes County Quilters Guild in partnership with Cultural Arts Council of Wilkes present a Barn Quilt Trail.  Wilkes County Public School art students participated in producing three blocks, initiating future generations to keep the historic quilting tradition alive.


Ben Long Fresco Trail

In 2002, a beautiful partnership was formed between the Cultural Arts Council of Wilkes, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and the world renowned artist Benjamin F. Long, IV to paint two fresco scenes of the Apostle Paul’s time of conversion and while writing the Epistles in prison. The frescoes reside in the historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, in the commons area joining the chapel and the sanctuary. These classically beautiful frescoes are open for viewing by the public at no charge.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is America's most visited National Park unit and is known as Blue Ridge Parkway at Doughton Park, Wilkes, NC"America's favorite drive." Its 469 miles offer stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, spectacular mountain and valley vistas, quiet pastoral scenes, sparkling waterfalls, and colorful flower and foliage displays, with abundant hiking trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, and interpretive signage. Popular stops along the Parkway in Wilkes include EB Jeffress Park, Doughton Park, Rendezvous Mountain Educational Forest, Stone Mountain State Park, and the Bluffs Restaurant at Doughton Park, opening in 2020! Wilkes County is a member of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation the primary fundraising partner, 501(c)(3), for the Blue Ridge Parkway, providing support for initiatives along the 469-mile route, including historical and cultural preservation, environmental protection, visitor amenities, and education and outreach.


US 421 Scenic Byway

The U.S. 421 Scenic Byway travels through Watauga County’s portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The byway offers sweeping views of the valleys, woodlands and mountains between Deep Gap and Boone. It also runs near the home of multiple Grammy Award winner and cultural icon Doc Watson. Extend your trip Eastward and enjoy the rustic beauty of Happy Valley and W. Kerr Scott Reservoir, the Charming Downtowns of Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro, and the stunning landscape of Wilkes' Swan Creek Wine Region. 


Upper Yadkin Way

The Upper Yadkin Way byway takes motorists on a scenic adventure through the state’s northern foothills. The route’s eastern terminus is near the W. Kerr Scott Reservoir in Goshen at the intersection of N.C. 268 and Reservoir Road (S.R. 1178). Follow N.C. 268 west toward Goshen. The reservoir was formed in 1962 for flood control and recreation and named for North Carolina Gov. W. Kerr Scott, who served from 1949 to 1952. 

Not far from N.C. 268, in southwest Wilkes County near the town of Ferguson, is the grave of Thomas C. Dula. He is perhaps best remembered in the folk song “Tom Dooley,” and was hung in Statesville for the murder of Laura Foster in 1868. 

Yadkin Valley Scenic Byway

Located in the western part of North Carolina, the Yadkin Valley Scenic Byway gives motorists the opportunity to see everything from gently rolling farmland to foothills and mountain terrain. The byway begins in downtown Elkin at the U.S. 21/Main Street/North Bridge Street intersection. Within walking distance of this point are the Foothills Art Council, Elkin Valley Trails, Elkin Public Library and Crater Park. 

Until recently this area was known for its tobacco. Now the area is transitioning into the wine industry. Vineyards and wineries present along this route add a tremendous cultural asset to the driving experience. For those interested in sampling locally made wine, the Swan Creek Wine Trail gives motorists a great opportunity to tour several vineyards. Just make sure to have a designated driver. 

Piccione Vineyards in Swan Creek, Wilkes, NC


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