Northern Terminus: Near Helton, NC (Virgina State Line)
Southern Terminus: Ingalls, NC (Via US 19E)
Total Miles: 85
One Truck Route
Banner Elk/Valle Crucis (18 miles)
At the state line, NC 194 becomes VA 743 and continues towards US 58.
This highway changes style almost every five miles. Sometimes tight and curvy, sometimes mellow and straight, this is not boring route to take whenever you visit the mountains. Oddly, only one section of NC 194, from Elk Park to Banner Elk, is signed as a "NC Scenic Byway;" though most of the route could claim as such. The absolute worse (or exiting) section of NC 194 is the route it takes from Banner Elk (starting at the Watauga County line) to US 321/421 in Vilas. Scary to think that at one time, this was the only route a person could take from Banner Elk to Boone before NC 105 was constructed.
Another curvy section is called Three Mile, which is from US 221 to US 19-E in Ingalls. However, the state plans to straighten this road out and make it a four-lane connector, so it's days are numbered. The only other curvy section is north of Boone to the Ashe County line. Reminding the fact that Watauga County doesn't give a rat-ass about this highway, making it one of the best mountain backroads around.
Southern Terminus (03/18/01)
Truck NC 194 (03/18/01)