Todd - An Unspoiled Community

Todd - An Unspoiled Community

There was time when Todd, nestled on the banks of the New River on the border of Ashe and Watauga counties, was the largest community in the region.


It was a logging boom town back then, and the timber trains roared along the valley of the New. Todd bustled, with many stores and hotels.

Those days are long gone, but Todd remains a too-often overlooked treasure of the High Country. And while the train is gone - and with it the bustle - this little community has a lot to offer, starting with some of the best sites for bicycling, paddlesports and fishing around.

The old train depot, a part of Todd life since the 1920s, is now home to Appalachian Adventures outfitters. Up the road, there's the old Todd General Store which opened in 1914. The General Store is a living reminder of the old railroad days.

There's no community perhaps anywhere that has more scenic approaches than Todd. No matter which way you choose to get there, you're in for a treat. Consider these options:

If you're in Boone, there are two ways you can reach Todd. The first is to follow N.C. 194, a state-designated Scenic Byway, north from its intersection with U.S. 421 (near New Market Center, on the east end of town; watch for the sign). This route runs through farms and forests along an 11-mile run to Todd.

The second choice is to turn off U.S. 421 at Brownwood Road. This is in Rutherwood, about two miles west of Deep Gap and seven miles east of Boone. Brownwood Road is located next to the office of Brady's Roofing Co. and Pro Hardware. If traveling east (towards Wilkesboro), turn left.Todd - An Unspoiled Community

This route is extremely scenic. First, you travel up through farms and woods to Brownwood, where a cattle farm fills a scenic valley. After crossing a large bridge, turn left on Railroad Grade Road and follow it to Todd.

A word about Railroad Grade Road. This actually follows the route of the old railroad that once ran here. It runs right along one of the most beautiful parts of the New River. The scenery is gorgeous along the ride - a total of about eight miles. Because it is level, it is a premier family bicycling destination, so watch out for cyclists as you drive along.

If you're in the Jeffersons, you can pick up N.C. 194 south of town, just off N.C. 221 - watch for the signs. 194 is a Scenic Byway in this area, and it is a very pretty ride. It is also a fairly curvy road, so watch your speed!

For the real connoisseur of mountain roads and mountain scenery (and for the real connoisseur only!), there is another, longer, way into Todd. Start on Main Street in West Jefferson, and follow that road (N.C. 88) over Radio Hill (you can't miss the tower!). Drive a little over a mile, and take the first left-hand turn onto Buffalo Road. Five miles later, you'll start to climb up a mountain called Ben Bolen. Continue on the road until it ends, then turn left onto Three Top Road. Follow it into Todd. Long and curvy, this route is very beautiful and offers excellent views of Three Top and Bluff Mountains.

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