Highway/ Interstate Network

Watauga County is served by several US highways and is in close proximity to three Interstate highways. The North Carolina Department of Transportation completed during the past decade the widening (to four lanes) of US 421 from Boone to Winston-Salem. The Watauga County portion leading to Wilkes County opened in October, 2003. The widening of US 321 from Lenoir to Blowing Rock is also under way; the final segment is set to begin in 2011.

US 421 extends southeast to North Wilkesboro/Winston-Salem and connects to both Interstate 77 (55 miles) and Interstate 40 (85 miles). It also extends northwest to Bristol, Tennessee, and connects to

Interstate 81 (50 miles). US 321 extends south to Hickory and connects with Interstate 40 (50 miles). It also extends northwest to Johnson City, Tennessee, and connects with Interstate 26 (55 miles).

The Blue Ridge Parkway extends from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina to Front Royal, Virginia. Commercial vehicles are not permitted on this scenic road. The Parkway passes through Watauga County and intersects both US 321 (between Boone and Blowing Rock) and US 421 (in the vicinity of Deep Gap in the eastern portion of the county).

 Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Package Express and Wire Service

All areas within the county are served by several of the package express companies, including Federal Express, United Parcel Service (UPS), Roadway Package Service and the United States Postal Service. Numerous locations throughout the county provide both full-service and drop-box service. Western Union service is available in several locations. 

Intermodal Facilities
Intermodal facilities make the movement of import and export containerized cargo easy and reduce expenses for North Carolina shippers.

Charlotte Inland Terminal
(704) 398-2076
200 miles west of the Port of Wilmington

Piedmont Triad Inland Terminal
200 miles northwest of the Port of Wilmington

Industrial Access Roads Program

The State operates an Industrial Access Roads Program through which roads can be built to industrial locations. The key factor is the number of jobs created versus cost of the road. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has responded to industrial needs for several years and continues to operate this program successfully.

Railway Service

Western North Carolina has linkages to more than 3,600 miles of in-state tracks. Railway connections are available to the entire Eastern Seaboard. Norfolk/Southern serves the majority of western North Carolina, however there is no direct railway service in Watauga County.

Amtrak Passenger Service, Charlotte (800) 872-7245
Norfolk/Southern Freight Service, Hickory (704) 322-3335

Ports and Waterways 

Excellent deepwater ports at Wilmington and Morehead City allow North Carolina industries to combine the low terminal cost of trucking with low costs of rail and shipping. These ports, among the deepest on the East Coast, handle cargo from more than 200 ports. Both are designated Foreign Trade Zones. Major Interstates and U.S. Highways connect the coast with Watauga County and the region.

Public Transportation 

AppalCART  (828.264.CART) is the public transportation authority serving all of Watauga County, and also provides transportation by contract to human service agencies.

Bus transportation connecting Boone and Blowing Rock to Winston Salem and Charlotte is provided by Coach America.  The Hickory Hop  provides Charlotte airport shuttle service from Boone and Blowing Rock.

Private taxi and limousine services are also available.