Destination Over Looked

Believers in amazing destination

The 11 Prime Locations to Go to within the North Carolina Mountains

14 min read
The 11 Prime Locations to Go to within the North Carolina Mountains

If you happen to’re in search of a year-round getaway at a better elevation and need an escape from the massive metropolis, look no additional than one among these high locations to go to within the North Carolina mountains. With loads of out of doors journey alternatives, majestic surroundings and wide-open areas, these cities, parks and sights are the proper locales to go to in the event you’re looking for lively pursuits. If you happen to favor a extra laid-back trip, there are additionally historic and cultural sights, luxurious lodging and glorious eating choices. And in the event you’re a craft beer fanatic, North Carolina is dwelling to greater than 370 breweries and brewpubs – the most important quantity within the American South.

So, in the event you’re prepared for an adventure-filled getaway, want a calming trip or favor a little bit of each, try these high locations to go to within the North Carolina mountains.


(Getty Photographs)

Asheville is likely one of the state’s hottest trip locations with its funky Bohemian vibe and prime location within the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Historic Biltmore Property is likely one of the primary sights, however guests will even discover a vibrant cultural, craft beer and culinary scene to discover. Downtown is well walkable, and you may even go on a self-guided “scavenger hunt” alongside the City Path to study Asheville’s intriguing previous. With the assistance of an interactive app which you could obtain onto your smartphone, you may uncover 30 commemorative stops alongside the 1.7-mile path. Whereas the route can take as little as an hour, you may wish to have a break between visits to take a look at the eclectic boutiques, galleries and eating places serving internationally impressed delicacies. You would possibly even wish to hit up a couple of breweries and pattern a chilly brew or two.

Talking of beer, Asheville has the bragging rights to extra breweries per capita than another U.S. metropolis. The city was named the primary Beer Metropolis within the U.S. in 2009, and it has been extensively often called one of many high beer cities within the nation ever since. Individuals come to Asheville for “beercations” dedicated to all issues craft beer. There may be additionally a protracted listing of annual beer festivals hosted in Asheville all year long, together with Asheville Oktoberfest, the Burning Can Fest in August and to ring within the new 12 months, the New Yr’s Eve Keg Drop at Biltmore Park.

Guests to Asheville even have entry to many out of doors journey actions like mountaineering, biking, mountaineering, kayaking, paddleboarding, fly-fishing and whitewater rafting. And with regards to eating, this mountain city has one of the crucial inventive and galvanizing culinary communities. You will discover every thing from delicacies centered on utilizing domestically sourced and foraged meals and artisan substances to top-notch Italian, Spanish, Indian and Mexican delicacies and extra. And do not forget the Southern-inspired spots serving up nice barbecue, house-made charcuterie, fried hen, pimento cheese and biscuits with red-eye gravy.

For lodging, plan to order a room at Kimpton Resort Arras. This upscale property sits in the midst of downtown in Pack Sq., the place you’ll be able to stroll to many eating places, cafes, breweries, galleries and retailers. The property can be pet-friendly.

Biltmore Property: Asheville

If you happen to’re touring to Asheville and wish to go to Biltmore Property whereas on the town, it’s best to add a couple of further days to your trip to discover the 8,000-acre property and grounds. Historic Biltmore Home is called “America’s Largest House,” and it is the previous residence of George and Edith Vanderbilt. If you wish to keep near all of the actions, there are a number of choices for lodging on the property, together with the informal Village Resort on Biltmore Property or the luxurious Inn on Biltmore Property. For extra privateness, you’ll be able to e book one of many 4 newly up to date, historic Cottages on Biltmore Property. You possibly can even customise your keep within the cottages with a concierge and a non-public chef.

There are at all times seasonal occasions, particular artwork collections and rotating displays at Biltmore. Christmas is particularly festive with the home decked out in all its vacation splendor. There are additionally particular Candlelit Christmas Evenings paying homage to the Vanderbilt household’s first Christmas at Biltmore in 1895. Many tour choices can be found to see the home and grounds and have interaction in actions across the property. For a unique have a look at what life was like at Biltmore with the Vanderbilts, e book the intimate (most 12 friends) Biltmore Home Backstairs Tour. This tour visits hardly ever seen elements of the home and offers perception into the lives of the those who labored on the property. Evaluations from vacationers that go to Biltmore say the structure, grounds and a glimpse into the opulence of the gilded age at Biltmore make the attraction a must-see when visiting Asheville.

Different particular on-site actions embody horseback or horse and carriage rides across the grounds. You too can discover the property with an off-road Land Rover Expertise, go fly-fishing with an Orvis-endorsed information or take a river float journey on the French Broad River. And if that is not sufficient out of doors motion, strive your hand at archery or sporting clays and even the traditional artwork of falconry with these unbelievable birds of prey. If you happen to’ve come to Biltmore for a getaway to calm down for a couple of days, you’ll be able to e book a spa therapy or take part in wellness actions, reminiscent of morning yoga or a mindfulness stroll. What’s extra, the on-site vineyard affords complimentary tastings the place you’ll be able to pattern Biltmore wines. In the meantime, the large collection of eating places on the Biltmore’s eating places supply every thing from informal and pub fare to a extra formal expertise – in true Vanderbilt fashion – at The Eating Room on the Inn.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Often called “America’s Favourite Scenic Drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway is a winding 469-mile highway that connects the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah Nationwide Park in Virginia and North Carolina’s Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park. There are 4 primary entrances to the parkway within the Asheville space and 252 picturesque miles to discover in Western North Carolina. You possibly can select to drive the route by automotive or go mountaineering on among the finest trails within the U.S. You too can head out for an adventurous bike experience and even take a motorbike tour with a neighborhood clothing store.

If you happen to determine to go mountaineering, there are many choices with simple, quick trails or extra demanding treks. And irrespective of which path most accurately fits your mountaineering abilities, you could be rewarded with gorgeous panoramic views of the mountains and even dramatic waterfalls alongside the way in which.

After exploring the world by automotive, on foot or by bike, do not miss two of the highest spots to go to on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Craggy Gardens at milepost 364.4 sits at 5,640 toes elevation. This cease options the Nationwide Park Service customer heart and different services, reminiscent of a present store and restrooms. And Mount Mitchell, on the 355.4 milepost, is the tallest mountain peak east of the Mississippi River, with its summit at 6,684 toes. Vacationers to the parkway say it is one of the crucial lovely drives within the nation with unbelievable sunsets, gorgeous overlook views and quite a few waterfalls.

Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park

(Getty Photographs)

Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park is the most-visited nationwide park within the U.S. Situated in Western North Carolina and Japanese Tennessee, the park encompasses 520,000 acres (or 800 sq. miles) of pure magnificence, thundering waterfalls and considerable wildlife. The park can be recognized for the hanging blue mist over its peaks and valleys, which conjures up the Nice Smoky Mountains identify. If you happen to’re staying in Asheville, the primary western entrance to the park at Oconaluftee Customer Heart is roughly 55 miles from city. The customer heart is the place you may discover a assortment of historic log buildings. It is also probably the greatest locations to view the park’s elk herd. Whereas there, go to close by Mingus Mill – a grist mill courting again to 1886.

Cataloochee Valley is one other good spot for elk viewing. You will additionally discover an outdated church, farmhouse and one-room schoolhouse constructed by the homesteaders that first settled the world. For hikers, there are three fashionable mountaineering trails: Midnight Gap, Mouse Creeks Falls and the more difficult Mount Cammerer at Massive Creek. And in the event you’re up for much more journey, head over to the overlook at Newfound Hole for picturesque views or go to the statement tower on Clingmans Dome, the very best summit within the Smokies at 6,643 toes elevation. Guests to the park say that it is lovely to see in each season, particularly within the fall. In addition they point out that there are trails for all ranges of hikers.


Located alongside a plateau within the southern Appalachian Mountains and alongside the Japanese Continental Divide, Highlands sits at 4,118 toes elevation within the Nantahala Nationwide Forest. The charming mountain city affords loads of out of doors journey choices, with many mountaineering trails, picturesque waterfalls and fly-fishing in 107 miles of rivers and streams brimming with rainbow, brown and wild brook trout. You will additionally discover scenic UTV excursions and aerial thrills like zip lining and ropes programs at Highlands Aerial Park, only a quick drive from city.

In Highlands, guests will even discover a vibrant cultural arts scene, with displays, artwork courses and occasions hosted at The Bascom: A Heart for the Visible Arts. Music and theater are additionally a big a part of the group with the annual Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Competition, operatic Bel Canto Recitals, summer time out of doors live shows and stay theater performances.

For luxurious lodging, Outdated Edwards Inn and Spa is a Relais & Châteaux property positioned within the coronary heart of city. The lodge places friends inside strolling distance of the upscale retailers, galleries, eating places and Satulah Mountain Brewing Co., the primary post-prohibition authorized brewery in Macon County, North Carolina. After a day exploring the outside or searching the boutiques, e book a rejuvenating or enjoyable spa therapy on the lodge’s on-site European-inspired spa.

Grandfather Mountain: Linville

Grandfather Mountain sits at 5,946 toes elevation within the northwest a part of the state and is a part of the United Nations’ Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve. The mountain is estimated to be roughly 300 million years outdated, with some rock formations courting again so far as 1.2 billion years. One-third of the park is operated as a vacationer attraction beneath the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Basis, Inc., with proceeds going towards preserving the mountain. The remaining land is undeveloped and owned by the state as Grandfather Mountain State Park.

One spotlight of a go to to the mountain is the panoramic view from the 228-foot-long Mile Excessive Swinging Bridge, one of many highest suspension footbridges within the U.S. at an elevation of 5,305 toes. Journey-seekers can even take the quick hike alongside the Bridge Path that goes beneath the bridge, or there are different routes to discover on the mountain. Throughout your go to, it’s also possible to tour the Wilson Heart for Nature Discovery, which homes interactive displays and academic actions.

Tickets are required for entry to Grandfather Mountain and its sights, and former guests extremely suggest buying tickets on-line prematurely. The park additionally assigns time slots for entry. When you’re within the park, you’ll be able to drive to a lot of the every day packages and actions, the Wilson Heart, the Nature Museum and go to the wildlife habitats. Parking is accessible near the Mile Excessive Swinging Bridge. If you happen to’re planning a full day on the park, carry a picnic lunch, or you’ll be able to seize informal bites at Mildred’s Grill. Guests to Grandfather Mountain say it is lovely, however it may be windy, particularly for a stroll on the suspension bridge. For close by lodging, try The Lodge at River Run in Banner Elk.

The Blowing Rock: Blowing Rock

(Getty Photographs)

Often called North Carolina’s oldest journey attraction, The Blowing Rock has been welcoming vacationers since 1933. The traditional rock, created in the course of the formation of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is definitely a jagged cliff at 4,000 toes above sea stage overlooking Johns River Gorge at 3,000 toes beneath. And from the precipitous ledge, it’s also possible to see Hawksbill Mountain and Desk Rock within the southwest and Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell to the west.

Within the winter months, The Blowing Rock experiences a peculiar incidence – snow falls the wrong way up. This phenomenon, which is how the rock bought its identify, is brought on by a flume shaped by the rocky partitions of the gorge. The robust northwest winds produced within the flume are highly effective sufficient to return gentle objects dropped into the void.

A half-mile self-guided path round The Blowing Rock features a nature path and a picnic space. The attraction can be pet-friendly for leashed animals and about 70% accessible for guests with mobility considerations. Vacationers remark that the views from above are definitely worth the go to they usually additionally admire the pleasant employees. After your go to, head over to Blowing Rock Brewery and Ale Home Restaurant for a craft beer paired with a neighborhood Carolina bison burger. If you happen to’re planning to remain and discover extra of the world, make reservations at Westglow Resort & Spa, an intimate Relais & Châteaux property in Blowing Rock.

Nantahala Outside Heart: Bryson Metropolis

The Nantahala Outside Heart hosts greater than 1 million friends yearly for numerous land- and river-based actions and excursions. Based in 1972 as a small motel and fuel station located alongside the Nantahala River, NOC is now one of many largest out of doors recreation services within the U.S. It is also a spot the place Olympic athletes come to coach and follow. There are nearly too many adrenaline-pumping actions to select from at NOC, with many actions supplied in different cities in North Carolina and different states like Tennessee and Georgia.

In Bryson Metropolis, high thrills embody guided Nantahala River rafting, mountaintop zip line excursions, a zipper line journey park and extra. You too can buy an journey go that offers you entry to a number of excursions all through the day. If you happen to’re a severe out of doors adventurer, you may also have an interest within the facility’s programs, which cowl every thing from paddling instruction courses to wilderness survival. Reviewers of the power say that it is an unbelievable expertise and remark that “you solely stay as soon as” so it’s best to take the possibility to take pleasure in these adventurous actions.

Bryson Metropolis

If you happen to’re visiting the Nantahala Outside Heart for its journey actions, plan so as to add a day or two to discover Bryson Metropolis. Located alongside the Tuckasegee River, this laid-back group has fairly a bit to supply for its small dimension with craft galleries, bookstores, fly-fishing retailers, a historical past museum, an aquarium, many eating places and extra. Whereas on the town, you would possibly even wish to e book a experience on the Nice Smoky Mountains Railroad. One tour, departing from Bryson Metropolis, makes a four-hour, 32-mile round-trip journey crammed with lovely surroundings to the village of Dillsboro, the place you’ll be able to cease to take a look at one other native North Carolina brewery. Alongside the way in which, you may additionally see the prepare wreck from the set from “The Fugitive,” the 1993 motion film starring Harrison Ford. For lodging, The Everett Resort is a wonderful alternative. This historic landmark was initially in-built 1905 because the Bryson Metropolis Financial institution. On the finish of the day, when it is time to calm down, the property incorporates a rooftop terrace with a hearth that provides sweeping metropolis and mountain views. And for dinner, strive the comfy bistro downstairs that serves domestically sourced beef and recent Carolina Mountain trout.

Pisgah Nationwide Forest: Asheville

(Getty Photographs)

Pisgah Nationwide Forest boasts greater than 500,000 acres of old-growth forests, with practically 100,000 acres that when belonged to George W. Vanderbilt. When Vanderbilt’s spouse, Edith, bought the lands to the U.S. authorities in 1914 after her husband’s loss of life, this created the primary nationwide forest east of the Mississippi River. Pisgah can be dwelling to the primary college of forestry within the U.S. Vacationers can go to the Cradle of Forestry in America historic web site within the park, which options historic buildings, guided walks, residing historical past interpreters, an outdated logging prepare and the Forest Discovery Heart.

A well-liked drive for guests to Pisgah Nationwide Forest is the 15-mile Forest Heritage Scenic Byway (U.S. Freeway 276). Alongside this route, you may discover the Cradle of Forestry Historic web site, Sliding Rock pure waterslide and Glass Falls and Moore Cove Falls. If you happen to’re an skilled hiker, you may wish to plan a go to to the forest, as the very best peaks within the japanese a part of the U.S. are positioned in Pisgah.

One other high attraction is the North Carolina Arboretum, which boasts acres of trails and cultivated gardens with lovely vegetation and flowers. Hikers and mountain bikers will wish to try the Lake Powhatan Recreation Space (within the heart of Bent Creek Experimental Forest), Black Balsam Knob and Graveyard Fields. And in the event you’re staying in Asheville, you’ll be able to catch close-up views of Mount Pisgah, simply 10 miles south of city on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Vacationers say the world is gorgeous with a lot of trails, waterfalls and locations to camp. Make sure to carry a picnic lunch on your go to so you’ll be able to take a break from driving or mountaineering and calm down and benefit from the views.

Sugar Mountain Resort: Sugar Mountain

If you happen to’re an alpine sports activities fanatic, North Carolina’s mountains have choices for out of doors winter adventures, too. Situated roughly 110 miles northwest of Charlotte Worldwide Airport and near the mountain communities of Boone and Blowing Rock, Sugar Mountain Resort is a top-rated ski space within the state. It’s North Carolina’s largest ski resort and options the very best vertical drop throughout the state. It is also recognized for having a superb number of terrain and extra superior runs than the state’s different ski areas. Since snow will not be as dependable in North Carolina as it’s in different elements of the U.S., it is best to test the snow circumstances earlier than you go. Evaluations from vacationers are combined with some guests having an excellent expertise, whereas others say the strains are lengthy, it may be crowded and the services want updating.

On days whenever you aren’t snowboarding, strive an exhilarating 700-foot-long tubing experience down the mountain, take a couple of spins across the ice skating rink or go on a guided snowshoe tour by way of the resort’s winter wonderland. The resort additionally hosts particular occasions all year long, together with New Yr’s Eve festivities with an alpine torch parade and fireworks to ring within the new 12 months at midnight. And for extra mountain enjoyable, try the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster. The primary of its variety within the North Carolina mountains, the coaster – a mix toboggan and curler coaster – reaches speeds of as much as 27 mph on 360-degree loops.

You may also be all for: