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Driving to Highlands from Northern end

Fort Lee, New Jersey
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Driving to Highlands from Northern end

I will be driving with my family in November to Highlands, NC from NJ. I was told that the roads could be treacherous and snowy/icy. We live in a pretty snowy area that is hilly so we are used to driving in these conditions. Is it very snowing around Thanksgiving? How dangerous is it to drive through there during that time of year? My friend said driving without a 4X4 is not recommended. We will be driving our Honda Accord. Thanks.

Chapel Hill, North...
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1. Re: Driving to Highlands from Northern end

Ehhh... snow could happen, but it does not usually snow every Thanksgiving. I'd say maybe once every 5 or 10 years, so chances are you won't see snow, but you could and you should be prepared for that possibility. Four wheel drive is always nice in the mountains, but not a necessity.

Clemmons, North...
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for North Carolina, Winston Salem
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2. Re: Driving to Highlands from Northern end

^ Agree with pancho, and I'll add a word of caution. US 64 into Highlands is very curvy and steep (you can look at google street view to get an idea). Don't get overconfident just because you're used to driving in snow. You have to take it very slowly. And remember we often get ice--sometimes alone, sometimes mixed in before, during, or after the snow. That makes things extremely treacherous, even if you're used to snowy conditions. But as pancho says, it's more likely that we won't have winter conditions that early in the season.

Georgia
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for Atlanta, Savannah
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3. Re: Driving to Highlands from Northern end

I have a place about 20 miles from Highlands and we've only had snow before Thanksgiving once in 17 years. It's not very likely.

I don't know what route you plan to take but if you are coming in on 81, I'd head south at Wytheville and head to Statesville and then head west on 40 to Asheville and then on to Highlands. In other words, I'd not go through GSMNP and the mountains - if there is any concern about bad roads (rain in cold temps or snow). It's just a few minutes more and eliminates a lot of problem areas.

You could also go further south, 95 to 85 to Greenville, SC and then head up to Highlands. The roads into Highlands will be curvy no matter the routing, but if weather is a concern then eliminate as much high altitude/mountain driving as possible.

Fort Lee, New Jersey
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4. Re: Driving to Highlands from Northern end

Thanks everyone. We were planning on taking 81. You can't pay me to drive down I95 south corridor. We will avoid the parkway and stick to the main highways and also travel very carefully. Thank you all for the feedback!

Asheville, North...
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5. Re: Driving to Highlands from Northern end

Especailly if the weather is dicey, don't use Hwy 64 coming into Highlands from Brevard but stay on I-40 west all the way to exit 27, take US 74/23 west approx. 25 miles to the exit for Sylva /Cullowhee and follow NC 107 south through Cullowhee, past Western Carolina University and continue south through the twisties up the mountain to Cashiers, which is where you can get on Hwy 64 for a short drive over to Highlands. It cuts the about 30 minutes and a lot of very curvey sections of Hwy 64 off your trip.

Clemmons, North...
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for North Carolina, Winston Salem
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6. Re: Driving to Highlands from Northern end

And after all this advice about driving in (possibly) winter weather, I should add that if the weather is nice and you have the time, you should consider driving a stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can pick it up at Fancy Gap, VA, and from there it's roughly 4 hours drive to Asheville through Boone and Blowing Rock. But if possible, you should allow more time to take in the many sights along the way. Another alternative is to take US 421 north from I-77 to Boone, and get on the parkway there. From that point it's about 2 hours to Asheville.

Jacksonville...
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7. Re: Driving to Highlands from Northern end

We have a house in Franklin, but have family in Highlands, so we make the drive back and forth over Hwy 64 every year for Stewarts fabulous grilled turkey. There have been years with snow, years with rain and one year with a bear on the road. Just be careful, keep it slow and when some local yah-hoo starts tailgating you, pull over and let them pass. It is beautiful country and worth stopping along the way to see the scenery. BTW, I've been in 50 states, 35 countries yet Hwy 64 is one of my favorite roads in the world as I know it.

8. Re: Driving to Highlands from Northern end

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