See the historic barns of Madison County as you drive across the rolling hills and through beautiful mountain valleys. These barns tell the story of this rural county, located just north of Asheville. Luckily, a non-profit group call “Appalachian Barn Alliance” works to preserve the barns and their history. Photo above: Oscar Young Barn built in 1915 is located at 255 Oscar Young Rd, just off US 19 near I-26.
The historic barns of these communities quietly tell the lifestyle stories of the late 19th to mid-20th century farms and families. Since many farms are no longer operating, many of the barns are decaying quickly. The oldest barns have survived with few family descendants remaining to tell their stories.
A great drive to see many historic barns is the Appalachian Medley Scenic Byway that follows NC Highway 209 from Lake Junaluska to Hot Springs. Drive through communities of Spring Creek, Trust and Luck. The barn in the photo above is a modern barn, built in 1953. Others in this area date back to the 1800s. Read more about the Appalachian Medley Scenic Byway.
The Appalachian Barn Alliance created four driving tours that cover various sections of Madison County. While these barns are not open for public visits, these scenic drives offer plenty of other things to do and stops along the way. See and download their brochures for each tour.
Find this and other barns along Smith Creek Road, near Exit 3 on I-26. Make a loop by adding Puncheon Fork Rd that goes to Ski Wolf Resort.
Tips for Seeing
- Be careful driving on our mountain roads. They are curvy with lots of blind spots.
- If you see a photo spot, be sure there is a safe place to pull over.
- Ditches may be hidden by tall grass.
- Watch for cars behind you when you slow down.
- Use flashers if you decide to stop and make sure other cars can safely get around you.
- Do not trespass on the farms.
- Do not try to pet any farm animals
- If you want to tour a farm, see our top picks.