Note: I wrote this blog post for Brian Brown, a YouTube Influencer, from Brian’s Farming Channel (135k subscribers) to give him the complete rundown on all he could do when exploring the North Carolina Mountains on a Mahindra Roxor. For those looking to plan a trip, for out door activities, and things to Ashe County and West Jefferson, NC – this blog post is for you.
West Jefferson is located in Ashe County, NC and the elevation is right around 3000 ft.
It’s a pretty town with lots to do, but you don’t really get to experience the best views until you start traveling in the north and north-western parts of the county where the elevation climbs to 5000 ft. People never really make it that far. They make it to the Mt. Jefferson Overlook and the Blue Ridge Parkway and that’s about it.
The best view in my opinion are Pond Mountain and a few places down on the river, and the drive through the backcountry in the Mouth of Wilson, VA (you have to know where you’re going).
Regarding my renters, I keep it simple and give them the River Route and Peak Route. Most of the time, they come back with saying the experience has exceeded their expectations.
With that said, I want to give you more options for a number of reasons.
This blog post is to give you the rundown on the area (i.e. swimming holes, trips outside of the route)
I’m trying to write out basically what I would tell you in person, so here it goes.
I’m going to start with the routes, then dive into more detail like with the swimming holes, farmland, trips and certain way points.
Check out the Instagrams below, as each has multiple pics in each post that highlight what you guys will see down on the New River and different forks, branches, and creeks associated with it:
As I mentioned, I’ve put together the River Route based on many of my favorite views from dual sport riding and put them into a motorcycle app that allows you to create routes.
It’s called REVER. Most are on dirt roads once you get 10 miles out of town. Several way points couldn’t be added due to the route not flowing.
My point here is that you can get back there and explore the river and creeks with this route. You could honestly spend all day exploring dirt roads lol.
Here’s a link to the one-pager River Route:
Regarding the Instagrams below, check out all the pics on each post to get the gist from what you guys will see:
Unseen Pass’ Peak Route covers the top two mountain views in a hundred mile radius, in addition to the road and view which inspired Unseen Pass’ name and logo (Quillen Ridge Rd).
Pond Mountain is my heaven on earth and favorite place under the right conditions.
If for some reason you use GPS, say to get to a certain way point like Pond Mountain, don’t use Apple maps, which is the first map icon on the iPhone. Use Google Maps. Only Google maps will take you to Pond Mountain Game Lands.
I normally tell people to combine the River and Peak Routes, which is roughly 5 hrs of drive time. When you combine both routes, the point at which both routes intersect is Lansing, NC.
In Lansing when you guys are 3/4 of the way finished with the River Route, you guys can do the following:
- Grab pizza at Pie on the Mountain (tell Matt I sent you); best pizza in Ashe County
- Eat your pizza across the road at the Lansing Creeper Trail Park
- Visit the General Store (use the restroom here as well); (very nice, they need to update their social)
- Grab snakes at the grocery store, Lansing Foods
- Eat at Country House Restaurant
… in addition to using the bathroom and etc.
It’s a great place to stop and take a breather before picking up the peak route.
The swimming holes are great place to bring the family and kids. You can set up chairs, watch the kids swim, and have a few cold ones (as long as you don’t exceed the legal limit to drive lol). The creeks and New River are clean!
There are three main areas where you guys can pick up swimming holes:
- Helton Creek
- New River
- Big Horse Creek
#1) Helton Creek
Helton Creek is located on Big Helton Rd, then on Helton Rd. It’s on Unseen Pass River Route.
All along the creek, you’ll see little trails cutting off the road back into the woods or straight to the creek. Keep an eye out.
My favorites are passed Helton Creek Campground. You’ll see two turn off spots after you pass the campground. They’re really good swimming holes!
I take my girls swimming here all the time. They love it.
#2) New River
Scroll through these pics on each post…
In the summer, the grass is grown up to where you can’t see many of the spots you can get in at.
Here are a few of my favorite spots:
The last two are on the river route. The best is at the converge, where the north and south fork of the New River meets. There is a rock shelf you guys can sit out on. We normally order a Bojangles Tailgate Special and eat it out there lol.
If the river is up, DON’T swim here at the converge. I personally have experienced a current (my wife and little girl swim here too), but they say “when it’s up, it could pull you down”. There has been drownings in the past.
Big Horse Creek
There are several at Big Horse Creek.
Once you pass through Lansing, NC headed north – you’ll start to see them about a mile or two up. Lansing also has the Lansing Creeper Trail Park, which has two small swimming holes and a little park for everyone to sit at.
The most notable is at the Wilburn Waters Memorial (scroll a few pics over).
You can’t see the swimming hole here, but it’s over to the right from this pic. The parking spot is up on the road.
You’ll have to look hard for this one once you get two miles up from Lansing, NC. It’s back through the trees on the other side of a guard rail. Parking is a back down the road a hundred feet. It’s kind of grown up, but you can pull two Roxors in there.
Honestly man, I have friends who farm but I don’t know too much about it.
There is beautiful farmland in the Mouth of Wilson, VA.
Simply GPS Mouth of Wilson and once you get there, turn right at the intersection of 58 and 16 (you’ll see the signs) – then head up the road. Feel free to turn off and explore, then go up 58 more and then turn off on the dirt roads. It’s beautiful country.
And another… (make sure you scroll through these)
Feel free to use Google Maps to GPS some pretty cool way points:
- Wilburn Waters Memorial (it’s hard to pinpoint this one as of right now)
- Fox Creek General Store (ask for Bruce and Sarah + make reservations if you go for diner tomorrow)
- Comers Rock
- Hurricane Creek
- Grayson Highlands Park (where the little ponies are at)
I’ll probably add more way points tonight and tweak this post some more…
Other Short Trips..
Personally, my routes are better, but the trips below are solid options say if you run the routes tomorrow and hit some of the way points Sunday morning.
Check out each post to get an idea of what each consist of.
If you decide to go to Damascus, call ahead and eat at Damascus Old Mill. Ask for Kelly and tell her Kyle sent you.
#2 Blowing Rock, NC
This is a trip down the parkway. I’d take this Sunday evening or Monday AM. Today and tomorrow, it will be packed out!
#3 Todd and Boone, NC
This is a neat little trip that goes along the New River through Todd, NC for about 50% of the way to Boone, NC. Boone is the #2 biggest mountain town in the NC Mountains.
I get asked frequently about places to eat. Here are my top places in the county.
Lunch and Dinner:
The sitemap is where you can see everything, but here are other popular post.
- Rent a Mahindra Roxor in the NC Mountains
- 1960 CJ Jeep Rentals in the NC Mountains?
- Fun Outdoor Activities, Restaurants, and Breweries in the NC Mountains
- Planning a trip to Ashe County, NC
- Places to Stay in Ashe County & NC Mountains
In addition to that, here are Unseen Pass’ Social Media Accounts if you’d like to link to them and etc.:
Hope you find this helpful and hope you guys have an awesome time in Ashe County, NC!!
I’m here if you need me!