Driving the Devil’s Whip

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, warm and clear, the best time to take a car club drive.  This time the drive leader had us meet in Swannanoa for an event that was supposed to be two weeks ago, but was postponed.  We drove as a group from Swannanoa to Old Fort, and then formed up again to begin the winding, twisty and steep drive up into the mountains by a road locals call the Devil’s Whip. It is Hwy 80, going north from Hwy 70 out of Old Fort. This road is 12 miles with 160 curves, some switchbacks, and rising in elevation 2000 feet in those 12 miles.    There are huge signs telling trucks not to take this route, then this small one that says “steep winding road”, yeah, no kidding!!

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

But, taken carefully, it is a fun drive with a lot of gorgeous scenery, trees meeting overhead to form green arbors over the road, and flowers blooming.  Well, that’s what I thought was good about it, DH preferred the curvy road driving.  I did try to get more pictures, but you have to trust me that it was a beautiful road, but difficult to get a good picture while going around all those curves.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

At the top, we turned left to enter the Blue Ridge Parkway east of Mount Mitchell. The parkway was busy, as usual for summer weekends, especially on clear days. Several tunnels are on the way to the peak of Mount Mitchell, where we were going to have a picnic lunch.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The higher elevations have rhododendrons blooming profusely along the road. I tried to get pictures of them, but few turned out, and even this one that is clear doesn’t show you the mass of blooms we were seeing.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Reaching the summit at Mt Mitchell, the guys were pretty happy with the drive. Three of our members brought their British motorcycles.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Just look at the mountain view past the cars!  The orange car on the left is a Tesla, all electric and quiet as a ghost.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The temperature on the top is often cool to cold, even in summer, but this day was nice. It was in the low 70s, and sunny, perfect for a picnic.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The views were clear too. Often it is so foggy up here that you cannot see these vistas.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

I love seeing all the layers of smoky blue-grey that define the Blue Ridge mountains.  This elevation is in the parking lot, and you can walk to the highest point of 6,684 feet via a paved walkway.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Heading home, we enjoyed the parkway views.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

I kept trying to get more rhododendron shots, the purple-pink color was so pretty.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

There is nothing like a day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it never disappoints.

What did you do for fun this weekend?

18 thoughts on “Driving the Devil’s Whip

  1. My husband laughs at my from the car window shots, but some of them turn out OK. It’s a fun challenge, don’t you think?

  2. Looks like your car club picked the perfect day to take this drive! We are going with our car club today to drive “tail of the dragon”. It should be fun.

  3. Hello Carole! This does look like a magnificent post with all of your photos and details. Again, I truly appreciate the time you take to involve us. We have not been out in the woods to spend the day in quite some time. So, I mainly sew and take care of my parents as best as possinle.

  4. Phyllis Smith

    Good and happy morning to you,
    Oh my how I wish I could be on some of these trips with all of you, such fun. The last time I was on Mt. Mitchell was with my fiancé and my girlfriend and my mother’s twin sister took us up there, that was before Jay and I married in 1962, gracious how time has gone by. I remember the tunnels and the curvy roads, Don’t ever recall going over the Devils Whip though. Most of my traveling buddies have developed fear of heights or just don’t like the mountains so about the only time I get into them is if I’m going to a northern state to visit anther high school friend in Indiana. It’s about time for me to go see her again, she had polio as a young child so she doesn’t get around much like she would like to.
    If the weather holds out will be having my yard sale this weekend, praying for no rain, we have had so much but we are in the high drought area so the rain has been great for us in that respect. My mother’s orange triple layer lilies have a lot of blooms on them, hoping to keep the deer away from them with the Irish Spring soap bars in knee highs on dowels hanging around them, so far I still have my blooms. I’ve not seen any other lilies like them and I don’t know where my mama got these but I have managed to keep them going for all the 40 years I’ve been here in this home. Guess I’d best get back to sorting yard sale material.
    Bye for now,

  5. We had a day out yesterday, too, and window shots are so difficult!!! And there were very few safe places to pull off and stop. Coming home, a huge delay as a large truck had rolled off the road down into a paddock, and the 2 huge cranes were there, it had just been pulled back up as we drove past. Windscreen pics were not the best!! What a great view from your high lookout.

  6. allisonreidnem

    Just breathtaking! We all need a day out every now and again! Thank you for sharing.

  7. We’ve driven that twisty road once, and I loved it. Mount Mitchell was most impressive in a snow squall, but we’ve been on nice days, too. It’s always impressive. I loved your photos.

  8. My fun this weekend was being totally lazy and pampering myself. The husband worked so I read , crocheted and took a very long soaking bath with salts and essential oils. It was good ♥

  9. dezertsuz

    Nothing that much fun, for sure! That is so beautiful. Those mountain views into the distance remind me of some of my favorite Arizona mountaintop views. I love it when you can see layer after layer of mountains going off in the distance. If I weren’t going home to Arizona, maybe I should have come further into the Smokies and western NC!

  10. Your photos were great and prompted me to recall similar visits to the Blue Ridge. A beautiful sight and one I enjoy, especially if you’re at a lookout and you’re standing in the breeze and warm sunshine. A lovely part of the country! Am now in Maine with its
    own greenery and mountains! I would love to know, too, what kind of car you drive. If DH likes the curves, something tells me it’s a sportscar?? 🙂

  11. Cheryl Buchanan

    Loved seeing the pictures of Mount Mitchell. I haven’t been in a couple of years, but last time I was there my friend and I witnessed a beautiful lighting storm. I say beautiful because I like storms and this was magnificent out over the mountains and it was starting to get a little dark. Thank you for sharing the beautiful scenery we call home.

  12. sharon schipper

    ohhh, Like Hwy 66 over from Klamath Falls to Ashland, OR, the old route, switchbacks galore, and I got carsick when I wasn’t driving. How’d you do with that?
    Amazing! I did lots of sewing this weekend, just gave one finished quilt, the other will finish binding and go in the washer tonight (I always wash short wash, little detergent and color catcher, then dry on warm…) Daughters came over after we went to church yesterday and did some assembly line cutting and sewing. I think you had more fun!
    We’re having some beautiful days here after the snow back in May! Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures.

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