Subaru Ascent Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was inspired to create this thread by another discussion where another forum member mentioned the Blue Ridge Parkway. I love that road, and it's northern neighbor Skyline Drive. I have been fortunate enough to live many different places in my life, and I've been a car guy in most of them, so I thought I'd share some of my experiences and I'm hoping others become inspired to do the same.

We have driven Skyline drive (north Blue Ridge) many times, and my wife and I started on the northern end of Skyline and drove all the way down through NC to Knoxville via Skyline/Blue Ridge/Cherokee/441 to Gatlinburg... fantastic trip. Cherohala Skyway south of Knoxville is another gorgeous drive. Highly recommend it if anyone finds themselves in east TN or SW NC. The town of Robbinsville NC is a cute little town as well, I recommend a visit for sure. Another beautiful town in SW NC with great driving in the area is Highlands NC. Just cruise the back roads in the area, you won't be disappointed.

Unless it's in the middle of a global apocalypse, skip Tail of the Dragon. I used to live 20 minutes from it and have driven it many times and it is almost always bumper to bumper traffic, often has idiot motorcyclists needing rescue after having driven off a cliff, and is way too short anyway. If anyone's interested, I know several back country roads in east TN that are just as fun and virtually unknown by anyone but locals, as I lived in Knoxville for a number of years (my son was born there).

When I was a cable installer working out of Knoxville, one of my areas used to be the Caryville/Jacksboro/LaFollette area. I can tell you that taking a drive "out the valley" through Caryville/Jacksboro/LaFollette on 63, hanging a left on 9 and cruising up to Jellico, hanging another left on 297 back down to Caryville is a really really nice drive. Getting off of 75 in Rocky Top (yep, that Rocky Top) TN and driving 441 down across Norris Dam is another gorgeous drive. Honestly, there's loads and loads of stunning driving throughout east TN. For more suggestions, just ask and I'm happy to share. One more virtually unknown route to outsiders but is fun for the "I love twisty roads" crowd is E. Miller's Cove Rd / Walden's Creek Rd. between Walland TN and Pigeon Forge TN. Part of it is dirt (or at least used to be, it's been a couple years), and it's loads of fun and very lightly traveled (at least it used it be ;) )

By the way, if y'all find yourselves in the Townsend/Pigeon Forge area, don't miss a visit to Cade's Cove... very much worth a visit. I was fortunate to be able to visit Cade's Cove at night with a big astronomy club who set out a bunch of really high quality telescopes. I can tell you I can count on one hand the number of times I've been able to see so many stars in the sky... breath-taking.

One more suggestion for now. If you happen to find yourself in Naples FL with a burning desire to see/photograph alligators, head out Alligator Alley (Everglades Parkway 93) and hang a left on Turner River Rd. It's an out and back, as it dead-ends at a campground, but it runs right alongside a canal, and the alligators love to hang out and sun themselves right alongside the canal/road. I have some pics somewhere in my archives, might hafta dig 'em out.

That's all for now. Would love to see other suggestions in other parts of the country (or even other countries).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
Awesome thread to start!!

Great River Road from Northern IL into WI and MN.
Interesting scenery with the cliffs, eagles, Mississippi river, winding steep roads and old towns. We took this trip to break-in the Ascent. We also checked out National Eagle Center in MN. Seeing the eagles up close was incredible.

https://www.experiencemississippiriver.com/pdf/EMR-Detailed-Map.pdf

My favorite so far is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Very relaxing drive, gorgeous views, clean air and not touristy. Also great in winter on snowmobile as road is closed and becomes a snowmobile trail.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd love to take the Great River Rd. drive just for the chance to photograph eagles. The Pictured Rocks drive, though, is exactly my kind of trip. I'm definitely going to keep that one on my list, thanks for sharing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
590 Posts
I actually live 10 miles from an access point to the Blue Ridge Parkway at the VA/NC line so we drive it quite often! It’s absolutely beautiful and fall is my favorite time to do long travel on it! Breathtaking views!

We go to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg about once a month, love our Dollywood passes! Haha! We always ride through Cades Cove and go picnic at The Chimney’s.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've always liked doing the Cade's Cove loop, then taking Rich Mountain Rd. back out and down into Townsend. Some great photo opportunities from Rich Mt. Rd., especially at sunset.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,449 Posts
I’ll be doing skyline dr from spotswood trl to big meadows campground today and Sunday. For anyone that’s been they the area is there anything noteworthy along that route i should watch for?
On second thought i may just head north Sunday rather than backtracking until I hit lee hwy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
I'd love to take the Great River Rd. drive just for the chance to photograph eagles. The Pictured Rocks drive, though, is exactly my kind of trip. I'm definitely going to keep that one on my list, thanks for sharing.
Just discovered the Great River Rd not too long ago and been living near it for over 30 years! Never crossed my mind to check out it. 14 from Madison to La Crosse was also a great road that meandered through Wisconsin's rolling farm country.

Could drive through Pictured Rocks and the U.P. of MI every year. Love the part of MI and the relaxed vibe and great food. Was thinking a good 7-10 day trip would be Great River Rd north over to Porcupine Mountains- Copper Harbor- Isle Royal- Pictured Rocks- Mackinac Island- Torch Lake- Saugatuck. Lots of opportunity for hiking, boating and sight seeing and if you really want to test the Ascent's AWD Silver Lake Dunes would be the place.

Porky's: https://www.porcupineup.com/porcupine-mountains-wilderness-state-park/

Isle Royal: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attract...t-Copper_Harbor_Upper_Peninsula_Michigan.html

Mackinac: https://www.michigan.org/city/macki...&page=0&pagesize=20&pagetitle=Mackinac Island

Torch Lake: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevor...-exactly-like-the-caribbean-sea/#3137f1c67013

Saugatuck Dunes Rides: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attract..._Rides-Saugatuck_Allegan_County_Michigan.html

Silver Lakes Dunes: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUse...e_Sand_Dunes-Hart_Oceana_County_Michigan.html
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sigmonster

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
In our Forester XT, I loved driving through Cades Cove and then taking the unpaved Parson Branch Road to Highway 129 then onto Foothills Parkway. It's a beautiful drive, and Parson Branch Road is beautiful and secluded. I am looking forward to taking this trip with the Ascent in the future!

https://tailofthedragontours.com/cades-cove-parsons-branch/#!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’ll be doing skyline dr from spotswood trl to big meadows campground today and Sunday. For anyone that’s been they the area is there anything noteworthy along that route i should watch for?
On second thought i may just head north Sunday rather than backtracking until I hit lee hwy
If ya go past Big Meadows a bit, I've always really liked Jewell Hollow overlook, but Big meadows itself is pretty durn cool. Seen huge numbers of deer, birds, and even a fox and black bear with cubs around Big Meadows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In our Forester XT, I loved driving through Cades Cove and then taking the unpaved Parson Branch Road to Highway 129 then onto Foothills Parkway. It's a beautiful drive, and Parson Branch Road is beautiful and secluded. I am looking forward to taking this trip with the Ascent in the future!

https://tailofthedragontours.com/cades-cove-parsons-branch/#!
When I lived down that way, Parson's Branch was closed due to a bridge being washed out and them taking forever to fix it, so I never got to drive it. Gonna hafta do that one of these days.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,449 Posts
If ya go past Big Meadows a bit, I've always really liked Jewell Hollow overlook, but Big meadows itself is pretty durn cool. Seen huge numbers of deer, birds, and even a fox and black bear with cubs around Big Meadows.
I’ll see if I can find that Jewell hollow overlook. It should be on my way on Sunday. Im running low on planning ahead time now and won’t have service all weekend I’m assuming. ill be hiking in the area Saturday. Not sure how I’ll react if i see a bear out there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I’ll see if I can find that Jewell hollow overlook. It should be on my way on Sunday. Im running low on planning ahead time now and won’t have service all weekend I’m assuming. ill be hiking in the area Saturday. Not sure how I’ll react if i see a bear out there!
Hopefully you won't react like the vast majority of idiots out there and run towards the poor creature trying to get pictures. Down TN way we used to call them "bear runs"... crowds of people jumping out of their cars (leaving them stopped in the dang road half the time) and moving en-masse towards the bears. See it in Cades Cove and other parts of the Smokies all the time. If you're quiet and calm, you can pull off or just stop and watch and the bear(s) will just go about their business and pass on by. They're not really very aggressive unless you surprise them or they feel their young are threatened.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just discovered the Great River Rd not too long ago and been living near it for over 30 years! Never crossed my mind to check out it. 14 from Madison to La Crosse was also a great road that meandered through Wisconsin's rolling farm country.

Could drive through Pictured Rocks and the U.P. of MI every year. Love the part of MI and the relaxed vibe and great food. Was thinking a good 7-10 day trip would be Great River Rd north over to Porcupine Mountains- Copper Harbor- Isle Royal- Pictured Rocks- Mackinac Island- Torch Lake- Saugatuck. Lots of opportunity for hiking, boating and sight seeing and if you really want to test the Ascent's AWD Silver Lake Dunes would be the place.

Porky's: https://www.porcupineup.com/porcupine-mountains-wilderness-state-park/

Isle Royal: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attract...t-Copper_Harbor_Upper_Peninsula_Michigan.html

Mackinac: https://www.michigan.org/city/mackinac-island#?c=45.8658:-84.6444:12&tid=358&page=0&pagesize=20&pagetitle=Mackinac Island

Torch Lake: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevor...-exactly-like-the-caribbean-sea/#3137f1c67013

Saugatuck Dunes Rides: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attract..._Rides-Saugatuck_Allegan_County_Michigan.html

Silver Lakes Dunes: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUse...e_Sand_Dunes-Hart_Oceana_County_Michigan.html
Even as far south as I am I've heard of the UP. Would love to pass through those parts on my epic dream trip of starting in NC and driving up to the Banff area of Alberta BC, then over to the Pacific NW, then down through Cali, AZ and NM, through TX and then along 10 to the east coast, then north and back to my birthplace in OBX (Avon NC, on Hatteras Island).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
The Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is a gravel, one-way road that climbs several thousand feet from heavy forest with occasional views opening up to end up way above the treeline at the Alpine Visitor's Center. "The 9.4-mile gravel, one-way road leads cars along the steep slope of Mount Chapin's south face past waterfalls, pine forests, and Fall River Pass."


Once you get up there, you can keep going to the other side of the mountains, which takes you across the Continental Divide--or return back to the eastern side of the park on Trail Ridge Road [definitely worth taking if Old Fall River is closed because of weather or road conditions]. Trail Ridge starts down in the forested mountains and the last 11 miles are above the treeline with views you can't imagine.

The return trip, west to east, is not for the faint-hearted drive. You're on the outside line going around some curves that look like you're going off the edge of the mountain. LOL


Truly, just google both roads and check out the photos and videos. We love that park and go every few years even though it's a full two-day drive from home. And it isn't complete without going up to the top at over 12,000 feet on one of the roads!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,449 Posts
^^someone needs to do that drive and give us some motivational pics of their Ascent there!
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top