Leaving home we traveled I-40 W then connected to Hwy 52 N toward Mount Airy, NC. You can tell the topography of the land changes along this route. The one standout feature along Hwy 52 about 20 miles south of Mt. Airy is Pilot Mountain. Unless you are asleep, you cannot miss this famous North Carolina landmark.
Called Mt. Pilot in 1960’s TV series The Andy Griffith Show, "Pilot Mountain rises more than 1,400 feet above the rolling countryside of the upper Piedmont plateau. Dedicated as a National Natural Landmark in 1976, this solitary peak is the centerpiece of Pilot Mountain State Park."
For a sunny weekend afternoon, the parking lot was nearly empty. The sign near the entrance to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center showed a trail to an overlook. Here we go. The paved trail lead into the woods where it merged into a boardwalk with the first overlook. Here you can see a bit of the arch bridge, but not much else. I noticed the boardwalk continued down, down, down to another overlook.
About 170 steps later we arrived at a much better view of the New River Gorge below, and the high arch bridge to the right. It was sunny mid-afternoon. Can you say harsh lighting for photography? Still the view was spectacular. It was one of those times I wished I could have stay for hours to explore more of the area.
On Monday afternoon shorting after 2 p.m., we crossed the state line into NC. We stopped at the visitor center off I-77. This is one of the nicest vc’s I’ve stopped at. Outside the office is a large granite map of NC. Inside you will find books, brochures, maps, flyers, etc. from all across the state. What made this vc interesting to me was there were paints by Bob Timberlake on display as well as other items unique to NC. It’s like a mini museum. Most rest stops will have the maps, flyers, etc for travelers, but this one had some history on display too. So if your travel plans take you up I-77 near VA, stop by and have a look. You will be glad you did.
Canyon Rim Visitor Center is located on U.S. Route 19, just north of Fayetteville, WV. U.S. Route 19 is easily reached from Interstates I-64 and I-79, as well as U.S. Route 60.
Hiking at New River Gorge.
"The New River was designated an American Heritage River on July 30, 1998. There are currently fourteen American Heritage Rivers in the country." The river, too, has served as a migration route for plants and animals as well as people. Some of West Virginia's rarest plants are found in the area. http://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/hiking.htm