North Carolina Highway 194
|Maintained by NCDOT|
|Length:||85.4 mi (137.4 km)|
|Existed:||1921 – present|
|South end:||US 19E in Ingalls|
| US 221 near Linville Falls
US 321 / US 421 in Vilas
US 221 / NC 105 in Boone
US 221 in Baldwin
|North end:||Rugby Road at the VA line near Helton|
|Counties:||Avery, Watauga, Ashe|
NC 194 begins in the community of Ingalls going east, on a somewhat curvy stretch of road known as Three Mile Highway, to US 221 (locals going to or from Spruce Pine take a shortcut on Mullin Hill Road). Being the first of three concurrences with US 221, the routes go through the town of Crossnore then separates. NC 194, from Crossnore to Elk Park is relatively calm road (even a passing lane is available for southbound travelers between Newland and Elk Park.
Between Elk Park and Vilas, the route becomes aggressively curvy, as it hugs the banks of the Elk River (between Elk Park and Banner Elk), the Craborchard Creek (from Watauga county line to Valle Crucis), and the Watauga River (in Valle Crucis). While in Banner Elk, the road will pass by the Elk River Airport, Lees–McRae College, and the ski resorts on Beech and Sugar.
From Vilas through Boone, it is overlapped with US 421; passing through the downtown area Boone and ASU. It separates onto Jefferson Road, next to the New Market Shopping Center, and goes through another curvy drive through the community of Todd.
Reconnecting with US 221 in Baldwin, the road is very open and uneventful till they split for the final time in West Jefferson. NC 194 goes through the city of West Jefferson, passing by the only cheese factory in North Carolina. Connecting with NC 88 for a few miles till Warrensville, NC 194 is solo for the last 13.4 miles (21.6 km) to the Virginia state line. In Virginia, it becomes a smaller (no lines) secondary road called Rugby Road, which eventually connects to US 58.
The highway is the northern most primary route in the state.
NC 194 is part of two scenic byways in the state (indicated by a Scenic Byways sign). Both routes are not recommended for recreational vehicles or buses.
Mission Crossing Byway is an 18 miles (29 km) byway from Elk Park to Vilas, passing through the town of Banner Elk and the communities of Heaton, Balm, and Valle Crucis. The route gets its name from the 1895 mission built in Valle Crucis by the Episcopal Church, today it is used as a camp and conference center. The route is also noted for its back-road feel, a farm built in 1812, and the Mast General Store.
New River Valley Byway is an 32 miles (51 km) byway, split in two sections. The first section (18 miles (29 km)) is traversed by NC 194 from Boone to Baldwin, passing through the community of Todd. The section is noted for its Christmas tree farms, the North Fork New River, a site of an Revolutionary War engagement, and the Todd General Store. The second section is on NC 88, between Jefferson and Laurel Springs.
NC 194 was an original state highway; starting from Woodlawn, North Carolina (then NC 19, currently US 221/NC 226 split) to Newland, then west to Minneapolis (then NC 69, currently US 19E). In 1923, NC 194 abandoned Old Toe River Road (the original road that paralleled the ETWN "Tweetsie" Railroad), going north instead to meet with then NC 69 near Elk Park. An extension in 1924, has NC 194 replacing NC 694 to the Tenneessee state line in Elk Park.
In 1930, NC 194 switched with NC 69, going north from Elk Park to Vilas. In 1932, NC 194 was replaced by US 221/NC 28 from Woodlawn to Crossnore; one year later (1933), it was overlapped with US 221, then replaced NC 691 to its current southern terminus in Ingalls.
NC 194 last extension happened in 1953, following US 421 from Vilas through Boone, then replacing the old US 221 routing through Todd. It then continued north through West Jefferson, replacing NC 162 through Warrensville to its current northern terminus at the Virginia state line.
In the mid-1960, NC 194 was realigned onto new road between Newland and Elk Park, abandoning Blevins Creek Road.
|Avery||Ingalls||0||US 19E – Spruce Pine, Cranberry||NC 194 begins|
|4||US 221 south (Linville Falls Highway) – Marion||South end of US 221 overlap|
|Crossnore||9||US 221 north (Linville Falls Highway) – Linville, Morganton||North end of US 221 overlap|
|Newland||13||NC 181 south (Linville Avenue) – Linville|
|Elk Park||18.5||US 19E – Cranberry, Roan Mountain||Brief .5 miles (0.80 km) concurrency|
|Banner Elk||25.5||NC 184 – Beech Mountain, Linville, Boone||Brief .4 miles (0.64 km) concurrency; also to area ski resorts|
To NC 105 / Broadstone Road
|Vilas||37||US 321 north / US 421 north – Mountain City||North end of US 321/421 overlap|
|Boone||42.7||US 321 south (Hardin Street) – Blowing Rock||South end of US 321 overlap|
|43||US 221 south / NC 105 south (Highway 105 Extension) – Linville, Banner Elk||South end of US 221 overlap|
|43.5||US 221 north / US 421 south – Wilkesboro, Winston-Salem||North and south end of US 221 and 421 overlap|
|Ashe||Baldwin||61.5||US 221 south||South end of US 221 overlap|
US 221 north / US 221 Bus. / NC 163 east – Jefferson
|North end of US 221 overlap, south end of US 221 Bus. overlap|
US 221 Bus. north – Jefferson
|North end of US 221 Bus. overlap|
|Smethport||68.5||NC 88 east – Jefferson||East end of NC 88 overlap|
|Warrensville||72||NC 88 west – Trade||West end of NC 88 overlap|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
Banner Elk–Valle Crucis truck route
|Location:||Banner Elk-Valle Crucis, NC|
|Length:||15.2 mi (24.5 km)|
North Carolina Highway 194 Truck (NC 194 Truck) redirects truckers traveling through either Banner Elk or Valle Crucis to not use the mainline highway between the two locations, with explicate flashing warning signs. This 15.2-mile (24.5 km) detour takes truckers, from Banner Elk, south along NC 184 to Tynecastle (a.k.a. Invershield or Linville Gap), then north along NC 105 to Broadstone Road (SR-1112); hugging the Watauga River, it eventually reconnects with mainline NC 194 in Valle Crucis.
- "Google Maps". Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- "NCDOT: Scenic Byways". Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- "NCRoads.com: N.C. 194". Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- "NC State Hwy 194 Ends". Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- Google Inc. "NC 194 Truck - Banner Elk–Valle Crucis, North Carolina". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Main+St+E&daddr=36.1440676,-81.8000282+to:NC-194+N&hl=en&ll=36.166567,-81.795444&spn=0.120706,0.222988&sll=36.138013,-81.795616&sspn=0.12075,0.222988&geocode=FevOJwIdGbwe-w%3BFcODJwIdpNQf-ykVaNWyku1QiDHM7fUQikU9nw%3BFXCCKAIdgygg-w&mra=dpe&mrsp=1&sz=13&via=1&t=p&z=13. Retrieved December 4, 2013.