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Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

Livonia, Michigan
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Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

We plan to golf in Pinehurst over Memorial Day weekend and then head west to do some hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I've been checking out hiking guides suggested in this forum and Mt. Mitchell State Park seems interesting. On Mapquest, it appears the drive from Pinehurst is approximately 4 hours but it looks like it takes you way north on 1-80 to the BRP and then back way south. Does that sound correct? I'll also post in the Pinehurst forum, but it appears there is much more activity here, especially about hiking and the BRP. Thanks!

Chapel Hill, North...
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1. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

There's no I-80 in NC, you mean 40? 85?

Google Maps (my preferred mapper) takes you up 220 (74/73) past Seagrove (famous pottery center) to Asheboro (home of the wonderful NC Zoo if you've got an extra day) to Hwy 64. Hwy 64 takes you across to I-40 near Mocksville and then 40 takes you on toward Asheville and Mt Mitchell. That seems like a good route to me. You could take some of the little bitty roads across the state, but I think you'll probably make better time on this route.

Virginia
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2. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

Yeah, I don't know where you're looking either. I like google too.

You can take the 64 route and highways and it says (don't need to worry about 'looks like') about 4 hours. Or click on options and check avoid highways for a direct slower route that takes about 5 hours.

Virginia
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3. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

Oh, I see what mapquest is doing. Go to their map and zoom in on their destination for Mt. Mitchell. A nice subdivision surrounded by farms. You want google's.

Livonia, Michigan
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4. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

I meant to say I-40 not 1-80! When I used MQ, I put in the address for the Mt. Mitchell State Park office that I found on one of the hiking sites, since just putting in Mt. Mitchell NC gave me something even stranger. That's why I also like to ask the experts as a sanity check. Thanks for your feedback.

Virginia
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5. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

Have a great time.

Clemmons, North...
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6. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

Just wanted to mention--US 64 is a nice drive through the NC countryside (and the Uwharrie Mountains), but you can get stuck behind some serious country traffic as it's a two-lane road most of the way. As an alternative, you can take I-73 to I-40 through Winston-Salem and not lose much time, if any. It may be a bit quicker, in fact, as you can go 65+ mph on the interstate vs. 55 mph on US 64. Your choice--just depends on whether you prefer the backroads or the interstates.

Asheville, North...
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7. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

There is not a fast way to get from the sandhills region of the state to the mountains, but the new I-73 helps. Yes, I -40 goes well north to Winston Salem then starts back south from there to Asheville, but its still the fastest route by far.

I'm a bit surprised at your choice of hiking destinations. Mt. Mitchell State Park has the observation tower at Mt. Mitchell, but view May through October is likely to be very hazy and the hiking is ho-hum. Worth a visit but I wouldnt pick that as my hiking destination. You would have a shorter drive to great hiking at Stone Mountain State Park near Sparta, NC, right off I-73 ( the views from the top of Stone Mountain are actually much nicer than those from Mt. Mitchell, e.g, no view of a gaping feldspar mining site), but then you'd still be 3 hours from Asheville. . If you intend to drive on to Asheville, you might consider great hiking trails in Linville Gorge State Park, Craggy Garden off the Blue Ridge Parkway or a stretch of the AT over Big Bald north of Asheville, or other great hikes in the southern mountains, e.g. the waterfalls in DuPont Forest State Park near Etowah, NC.

Livonia, Michigan
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8. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

Thanks for the alternate hiking suggestions. I have been reading the www.romanticasheville.com site and the BRP guide both mentioned in other threads in this forum. When I checked where several of the top hikes were located, it appeared Mt. Mitchell State Park was enroute from Pinehurst to Asheville. Now that I have more information, I may explore some of the other recommendations which seemed largely to be south of Asheville.

Clemmons, North...
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9. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

Hey Mangonboat, nice to hear you mention Big Bald as I have some great memories of that place. My in-laws used to own a place at Wolf Laurel, and we loved hiking around the Bald. I remember one July 4th we had a picnic on top of Big Bald. As it got dark we could see fireworks in 3 or 4 towns down below--it was an amazing sight.

Summerville, Georgia
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10. Re: Suggested route - Pinehurst to Mt. Mitchell to Asheville

My two favorite hiking destinations in WNC (my home sweet home) are Chimney Rock Park and Grandfather Mountain. For the views, I personally don't think either of them can be beat. Don't get me wrong, I love Mount Mitchell, and it is a treasure, but as far as vistas and views go, it is hit or miss, especially during "haze" season. I think Grandfather and Chimney Rock provide decent views even if it is hazy. Also, Crabtree Falls and Linville Falls and Linville Gorge provide good hiking and views as well. You really can't go wrong as all of WNC is beautiful. In fact, it is the Garden of Eden. :)