Highway 19E Is the Most Underrated Road Trip
As of press time, the trails and campsites mentioned in this piece were open. To check for safety protocols and potential closures, check state websites.
Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, I lived close to Highway 19E, a stretch of road that begins a short distance north of Asheville and ends in Bluff City, Tennessee. At first glance, 19E is a practical country road. It’s the sort of expanse travel writer William Least Heat-Moon might have called a “blue highway,” one of America’s old back roads marked in blue on the maps and almanacs travelers used before the era of apps.
For those who know where to look, the road is like a multipurpose tool. Although it’s little known outside of the region, the 60-mile stretch connects as much natural diversity as any locale in southern Appalachia. It links southeastern superlatives: the highest point east of the Mississippi, 6,683-foot Mount Mitchell, whi.... Continue Reading at Outside Online