North Carolina Highway 226A

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NC 226A marker

NC 226A
Route information
Maintained by NCDOT
Existed: 1961 – present
Little Switzerland
Length: 12.3 mi[1] (19.8 km)
South end: NC 226 near Woodlawn
North end: NC 226 near Little Switzerland
Length: 3.7 mi[2] (6.0 km)
South end: NC 226 near Ledger
North end: NC 226 in Loafers Glory
Counties: McDowell, Mitchell
Highway system
NC 226 NC 231

North Carolina Highway 226A (NC 226A) is an alternate state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Signed at two sections along North Carolina Highway 226 for two separate purposes: The first connecting the community of Little Switzerland; the second as a bypass west of Bakersville. It is also distinctive as being the only alternate state route in North Carolina, designated with an "A" at the end of the number.

Route description[edit]

The first section, a two-lane mountain highway also known as the Diamondback by motorcycle enthusiasts, begins near Woodlawn, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from US 221.[3] Once on the NC 226A, the first sign is a notice to truckers indicating steep winding road ahead, trucks not recommended. For the first 3.7 miles (6.0 km), it marginally increases in elevation, yet curvy, as it follows westerly along the banks of the Armstrong Creek then Three Mile Creek. At Holifield Cemetery (on right), NC 226A begins to quickly climb in elevation with an sensational amount of curves, as it climbs Grassy Mountain. Reaching Chestnut Grove Road, in Little Switzerland, the worst of the climb and curves is over, rising over 1,900 feet (580 m) from its start. Heading east now, NC 226A meets back with NC 226 at Gillespie Gap, just 90 feet (27 m) from the Mitchell County line and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The second section, a two-lane mountain highway, begins just north of Ledger, and goes northwest bypassing Bakersville. At half-way, it connects with NC 80, which heads south towards Micaville. After 3.7 miles (6.0 km), it reconnects with NC 226 at Loafers Glory. The road is not nearly as curvy as its first section, but has a posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) on its more curvy eastern half.


The road was originally built by Little Switzerland as a toll road from the Carolina, Clinchfield, and Ohio Railroad train station to the development. It was called Etchoe (pronounced Et-cho) Pass Road. The tolls were quickly lifted although the booths are still visible.[4]

In 1928, the road which NC 226A now follows used to be signed as NC 19. Around 1932, US 221 joined the NC 19 route from NC 28, north to the town of Spruce Pine. By 1934, US 221 was routed to the south and NC 19 was renumbered as NC 26. In the late 1940s, following World War II, a faster NC 26 route through the mountains was constructed; the old route was given the designation NC 26A. When Interstate 26 was routed through North Carolina in 1961, NC 26 was renumbered as NC 226 to avoid confusion with the Interstate Highway. NC 26A followed the trend of its parent state route and became the NC 226A known today.

Sometime after 2001, a second NC 226A was established as a western bypass of Bakersville. The eastern half was an upgrade to SR 1191 (Mine Creek Road) and the western half was a renumbering of NC 80, which truncated it at NC 226A.[5]

Junction list[edit]

NC 226A at NC 226, near Woodlawn
NC 226A at NC 226, just feet from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Little Switzerland[edit]

The entire route is in McDowell County.

Location mi[1] km Destinations Notes
  0.0 0.0 NC 226 – Spruce Pine, Marion, Asheville
Little Switzerland 9.5 15.3 Chestnut Grove Road To Blue Ridge Parkway
  12.3 19.8 NC 226 – Spruce Pine, Marion, Asheville
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


The entire route is in Mitchell County.

Location mi[2] km Destinations Notes
  0.0 0.0 NC 226 – Bakersville, Spruce Pine
  1.7 2.7 NC 80 south – Micaville
Loafers Glory 3.7 6.0 NC 226 – Bakersville, Red Hill
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Google (December 27, 2012). "NC 226A - Little Switzerland" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Google (February 6, 2013). "NC 226A - Bakersville" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Diamondback Motorcycle & Sportscar Route". May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ Muller, Michael (January 31, 2012). "Little Switzerland celebrates 100 years". Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC). Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ " N.C. 226-A". Retrieved February 6, 2013. [unreliable source?]

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing