Blueways & Byways

The New River is formed in Ashe County by the confluence of the South Fork

New River and the North Fork New River and is one of only 14 American Heritage

Rivers in the United States. Flowing 320 miles north through southwestern Virginia

and into West Virginia, a trip up the New River provides beautifully scenic pastoral

vistas so breathtaking that in 1998, a 26.5-mile section of the New River in Ashe

County was designated a National Scenic River.

Formed prior to the uplifting of the Appalachian Mountains, the New River is

second only to the Nile as the oldest river in the world. Because of shallow,

gentle waters, the New River is ideal for canoeing, kayaking and tubing, while

the opportunity for occasional minor rapids adds just a bit of excitement to the trip.

Higher water levels occur during May and June. August and September are low-flow

periods. Canoes, kayaks and tubes may be rented through local outfitters. Public

launch areas are located in the New River State Park, where you can also enjoy

picnic areas, hiking trails, primitive camp sites, fishing and educational programs.

The New River is also recognized as prime for sport fishing. Smallmouth and

redeye bass traverse the waters and trout fishing is excellent in the smaller, faster

tributaries, most of which are designated general trout waters and are stocked

regularly with rainbow and brown trout. Anglers need a state fishing license in

order to fish these waters. A license can be obtained

on line at

For more information on the New River, contact the New River State Park

at 336-982-2587 or visit them on the web at

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most impressive national parks in

the nation. Referred to as "America's Favorite Drive," the Parkway is one

of only 23 roads nationwide having earned All-American Road status. Along

the Parkway the high mountains of Western North Carolina provide panoramas

of seemingly endless peaks, including the highest point east of the Mississippi

River. For more than 30 miles, the Blue Ridge Parkway traverses the ridges

of Ashe County, showcasing spectacular long range views, picturesque log

cabins and truly breathtaking pastoral settings. There are many activities to

enjoy on the Parkway. Experience the scent of a spruce-fir forest while hiking

and picnicking. View the waterfalls and enjoy the tremendous variety of

wildflowers. Birding is a favorite activity on the Parkway, so be sure to

bring your binoculars!

Back Roads Tour of Ashe County
The High Country Back Roads Tour is a driving tour that meanders through

the back roads of Ashe County. Beginning in West Jefferson, the tour continues

for 34 miles through Warrensville, Lansing, and Helton. The drive traverses

26 miles of beautiful NC Hwy 194, designated a "Scenic Byway", passing

through Historic Todd, with its old fashioned general store. A downloadable

CD, accompanied by a map, is available at

or by visiting the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce located in West Jefferson.

Barn Quilt Tour
The Ashe County Arts Council has brought together members of the

community to design, paint and mount quilt block paintings on barns throughout

the County. The treasure hunt begins with the help of a brochure pinpointing

the locations of over 31 barn quilts. Stop by the Arts Council in West Jefferson

for a brochure on visit the Arts Council web site at

Virginia Creeper Trail

For a one-day outing, consider the short drive from Ashe County to Damascus, VA

for a 17-mile bicycle ride - all down hill! The Virginia Creeper Bicycle trail is considered

one of the most spectacular bicycle trails in the world. A shuttle will take you to the top

of White Top Mountain where the gentle ride down the mountain begins. Created on the

existing rail bed of the old Virginia Creeper train, the trail leads over original train trellises,

through the woods and over flowing mountain streams. You can spend the day on the

Creeper Trail and be back in Ashe County in time for dinner!

Article by Ashe Chamber. To find out more information on Ashe County visit:

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