Skip to main content

NC 90: The Forgotten Highway of Caldwell County.


One of North Carolina's highway secrets is the unpaved portion of NC 90 in Caldwell County.  From a point just beyond the curve, seen in the photo above, to an unmarked location in the tiny community of Edgemont, highway 90's last few miles are an unpaved journey through country that is forgotten by many everyday travelers.  Although not in as quite a rugged territory as the mountains of Western North Carolina or some of the peaks just to the north, the unpaved NC 90 does climb from an elevation of approximately 1400 feet at the pavement change to close to 2400 feet in Edgemont.

Although isolated from nearby towns of Lenoir, Blowing Rock, and Boone, this segment does show signs of civilization.  Utility poles and a handful of homesteads mark the route.  Complete with three one lane bridges, unpaved NC 90 runs entirely through Pisgah National Forest and provides access to campsites within the park's boundary.

All photos taken May 2003.
 

Transition from pavement to gravel.  The motorcyclists were forced to turn around.

An early flat piece of NC 90.

A primitive guard rail system

Tighter curves are found closer to Edgemont

NC 90 Curves Downhill in Caldwell County

Yes, there is local traffic on NC 90.

This concrete arch bridge is near Edgemont.

This one lane bridge over Thorps Creek is the longest of the three one lane bridges.

Rocks, drop offs, and other hazards make concentration the top priority of motorists on NC 90.

Lush green scenery surround this gentle S-curve.



  • Steven Duckworth, who took the photos while I drove
  • NC 90 @ NCRoads.com ---Matt Steffora
  • History of Mortimer and Edgemont ---James E. Parks
  •  

    Comments

    Popular posts from this blog

    Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

      Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

    Oregon State Highway 58

      Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del

    Siuslaw River Bridge - US 101 in Florence, Oregon

      As the Oregon Coast Highway (US 101) was being completed across the State of Oregon during the 1930s, a number of bridges needed to be built to cross some of the state's finest rivers. In Florence, Oregon , the Siuslaw River Bridge was designed and constructed to help fill in the gaps between different coastal communities. Built in 1936, the Siuslaw River Bridge is a bascule bridge flanked by two reinforced concrete arches that spans across the Siuslaw River. The bridge and the river get their names from the Siuslaw tribal people who make their home along the river valleys of this part of the Oregon Coast. Today, the bridge provides a vital link connecting US 101 and the Central Oregon Coast to points north and south. The total length of the Siuslaw River Bridge is 1,568 feet, stretching across the river. But more specifically, the bridge is made up of a north approach with eight spans of reinforced concrete deck girder totaling 478 feet in length. There is a main span in three