Sauratown Mountains Scenic Byway
In the quiet northwest corner of the North Carolina Piedmont, the Sauratown Mountains Scenic Byway bends and dips for 72 miles through the gently rolling rural landscapes that surround the ancient Sauratown Mountains. Sometimes referred to as "the mountains away from the mountains," the Sauratowns are an isolated range with peaks that rise abruptly above the surrounding piedmont to over 2,500 feet.
Main Byway Route: 70.7 Miles
Extension Route: 11.9 Miles
Total Distance: 82.6 Miles
Drive Time: 2 hr 10 min
Plan your trip on the Sauratown Scenic Byway with the interactive map below that features a few stops and highlights along the way. Printable map and driving directions can be found here.
Pilot Mountain State Park
Rising more than 2,000 ft, visitors travel to Pilot Mountain for hiking, walking trails, mountain biking, climbing, river sports (paddling, kayaking, fishing, etc), and the spectacular scenery.
Hanging Rock State Park
Since it's designation in the 1930's, Hanging Rock State Park offers 73 campground/picnic sites, and more than 20 miles of trails boasting spectacular views, streams and waterfalls. With a stocked, 12-acre lake at it's center, travelers enjoy fishing, canoeing, picnicking and water-sports year round.
Click to enlarge the images below.
Culture & Recreation on the Byway
Get the full food & drink experience in the rich history of tradition across the region. Sample stops along the Sonker Trail or Yadkin Valley Wine Trail (includes breweries and distilleries) throughout your journey. Take a break and grab provisions at Priddy's General Store or time your trip for the Francisco FarmFest.
Take a deep dive into the heritage and culture of the Sauratown region in the arts & music. In historic downtown Danbury, The Arts Place offers an artistic sampling of the region and regular live performances. Don't miss the rich musical traditions like Stokes Stomp on the Dan and Old-Time Fiddlers Convention.
Experience the Andy Griffith Show like never before with a visit to Mount Airy (aka Mayberry). Your tour of Andy's childhood home and inspiration for the show may include Andy's Homeplace, a Squad Car Tour, or a quick bite at Snappy Lunch.
History of the Byway
Named for the "Sauras," a Native American tribe that lived in the region prior to the arrival of European settlers, the range consists of rugged, heavily forested ridges frequently broken by large quartzite rock cliffs that are visible for miles. The corridor is also bordered by the Dan, Ararat, and Yadkin rivers, all scenic and steeped in history, wildlife, and modern recreation.
The City of Mount Airy is the northern gateway to the byway and is considered the quintessential North Carolina small town. It is Andy Griffith’s childhood home and inspiration for “Mayberry” in the beloved 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show. The Mount Airy Visitors Center greets over 75,000 visitors annually from all fifty states and numerous countries including Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Travelers describe the town as “nostalgic” and “like walking back in time.”
The historic resources of the Sauratown Mountains Scenic Byway tell the story of a region defined by its location on a north‐south path first used by Native Americans, then later as a transportation corridor for settlers and eventually the tobacco and textile industries. The historic resources are diverse, including a heritage apple orchard, an antebellum iron furnace, and the largest and most distinctive facility constructed in North Carolina by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The significance of many of the resources is evidenced by listing on the National Register of Historic Places.