Northern Terminus: Beech Mountain, NC
Southern Terminus: Invershield, NC (Via NC 105)
Total Miles: 8
From Banner Elk to Invershield, NC 184 is multiplexed with Truck NC 194. Though it is not the highest road in North Carolina, it officially claims Beech Mountain as the highest community east of the Mississippi (5,505 ft) and unofficially the highest point of any state highway to cross the Eastern Continental Divide (almost 4,200 ft). Invershield (by locals) and Tynecastle (by tourists) are nicknames given to the intersection of NC 105/184. Officially, however, the town limits of Seven Devils (Tynecastle side) and Sugar Mountain (Grandfather Mtn. and Linville Ridge sides) both claim the intersection.
The Tour Du Pont (Bike Race) usually uses NC 184 from Banner Elk to Beech Mtn. (a.k.a. Beech Mountain Parkway) as part of its yearly race, because of its steep climb up the mountain.
This road can be considered main street for both Banner Elk and Beech Mountain. It also goes through part of Sugar Mountain, but it isn't signed as such. And even though the NC 184 ends at the top of Beech Mountain (was extended later in the mid-1980's from Banner Elk), it isn't labeled as such; so you can't honestly pinpoint the exact spot the highway ends and the secondary road begins. Apparently neither can NCDOT, who decided to put an "End NC 184, Four Miles" sign in Banner Elk. Using my Odometer, I've estimated that the Northern Terminus rest on a curve, just a quarter mile north from the Avery/Watauga County line.
Possible future idea for the highway is to extend it from Beech Mountain back into Avery and have it end with US 321 before entering Tennessee. The road actually goes on to US 321, but it isn't labeled as such nor would I recommend it. It's a more intense drive, some spots unpaved, and can easily get lost on. If your driving on US 321 in the small Avery section, you'll spot a sign for Beech Mtn. Elementary School, that would be the back road to Beech Mountain.
Probably the closes east-west route you'll get in Avery County; but it is truly a north-south route despite how it seems. You might notice the fact that the mountain counties of Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey don't have a single east-west highway going through them.
Southern Terminus (03/18/01)
NC 184 South (03/18/01)
NC 194 Intersection (03/18/01)
Four Miles to Go (03/18/01)
Northern Terminus (04/07/01)