Want to get from Blowing Rock to Valle Crucis/Foscoe and back again without having to go through Boone? Here’s how. Shull’s Mill Road is a beautiful two-lane road that can cut about 10-15 minutes off taking the highway route. This route is written from Foscoe to Blowing Rock.
Turn onto Old Shull’s Mill Road from Highway 105 near the stoplighted intersection at Broadstone Road. There are two entrances and at both you will see signs for Hound Ears Resort, and Appalachian Angler is very close to the northernmost intersection. Follow Old Shulls Mill Road til you see the turn to Shull’s Mill Road. Turn onto this road. It will take you past Hound Ears Resort, and you will go up a curvy paved road as you ascend up the mountain. You’ll pass Yonahlossee Resort and the Inn at Crestwood and the Gamekeeper Restaurant as you come up the mountain. As you get near the end of Shull’s Mill, the road will bear to the right by Trout Lake. If you stay straight there, you’ll end up on unpaved Flannery Fork Road. Just past the intersection with Flannery Fork, Shull’s Mill Road intersects with a service road to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The total length of Shull’s Mill is about 5.7 miles. Turn right onto this little road. In about a block or less, it will intersect with Highway 221. Turn left to go to downtown Blowing Rock, and turn right to head towards Linville.
About halfway up (or down) Shull’s Mill Road is the intersection with Poplar Grove Road. If you turn onto Poplar Grove, it comes out on Highway 105 just east of the light where Highway 105 Bypass turns off towards Caldwell Community College and the Vilas community. Poplar Grove is about 3.8 miles long and takes about 10 minutes to go from Shull’s Mill to Hwy. 105.
Here’s a screenshot of Shull’s Mill Road from Google Maps, and I’ve marked it in red. (Click to enlarge) It looks like it takes a lot longer to drive than it actually does. I can get from one end to the other in about 10-12 minutes assuming there’s no one in front of me, but remember: I grew up here, have a pretty low-slung car, and love to whip around curvy roads. For someone unfamiliar with curvy roads, or who has a larger vehicle, it will take about 15 minutes.
Remember, as with all secondary roads in these mountains, it is *not* wise to attempt to drive them in snow or ice, and especially don’t try it without 4WD or AWD. The NCDOT does an amazing job of keeping our main roads and highways clear, but secondary roads like this will be scraped one or two times, and there will often be patches of snow or slush or black ice left behind that will have to melt on their own. If you have to drive a back road like this, just take it slow and easy.
All text and photos copyright 2011 Cassandra Hartley, Blue Ridge NC Guide. No portion of this article is to be copied, saved, or otherwise distributed without express written consent. Sharing is encouraged using the designated social media sharing buttons at the bottom of this article. Photos for this post provided by our sister site Photos by Cassandra Lea. Author received no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this article.