Northern Terminus: Newland, NC (Via NC 194)
Southern Terminus: Morganton, NC (Via NC 18)
Total Miles: 40
NC 181 from Morganton to Pineola is known as the Beatrice Cobb Highway. NC 181 is one of a few state highways that have mile markers; oddly, the numbers are incorrect to the length of the highway. Stranger still, the mile markers start at 12 and end with 31 near Jonas Ridge. At Mile Marker 20, there is an overlook where at night you can see the Brown Mountain Lights.
One of the more scenic routes, NC 181 has several great overlooks and mountain views (if there's no fog). Unlike other state highways, NC 181 takes a slow hill climb up, usually with sweeping to some tight curves. It even has a few four-lane stretches that will allow you to pass slower moving cars with ease.
Something a bit more interesting is the fact that NC 181 South ends where NC 181 North begins in Morganton. If you drive down on main street, you will see NC 181 South take a left, just to see a NC 181 North sign appear.
Around 1989-90, NC 181 was realigned from Linville to Newland. It gave the locals a much faster and safer route between the two towns, and bypassing the community of Montezuma. In the mid-1990's, the Linville Bypass was created. This road was basically built because of old, snobbish rich people who didn't want travelers to drive by there expensive homes. Though this didn't change NC 181 and US 221's relationship, it did divorce NC 105/NC 181's relationship... How sad!
Blue Ridge Parkway
Northern Terminus (03/18/01)
Southern Terminus (04/06/01)