With the sights and sounds of fall just around the corner, there is no better time to visit these NC mountain towns in the Blue Ridge. Nestled in between the peaks, you’ll find endearing mountain towns all over Western NC, all with different activities to offer. Here are some of our favorites, and what we recommend enjoying while you visit.
Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock was named after The Blowing Rock formation, which offers stunning views of the mountains. The town also is home to Tweetsie Railroad, Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, and various hiking trails with scenic views. This winter, you can also visit Appalachian Ski Mountain, one of the most popular spots to ski in North Carolina.
Visit for: An iconic Instagram photo at The Blowing Rock.
If you’re looking to enjoy nature, Brevard is the place to be. Located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, Brevard is home to many waterfalls and other natural rock formations. Looking Glass Falls and Batson Creek Falls are not to be missed. It is also the home of Sliding Rock, a natural water slide that ends in a 60-foot-deep pool of water.
Visit for: The beautiful Connestee Falls.
Found in Ashe County, North Carolina, West Jefferson is a quirky town with a lot to offer. When you visit, head over to Carolina Country Wines for a wine tasting. Also visit CatchLight Gallery for professional photos of the Blue Ridge and beyond. Save time for Ashe County Cheese, a cheese plant that allows you to experience the whole process. With a perfect balance of modern culture and history, West Jefferson is a perfect piece of the Blue Ridge.
Visit for: The West Jefferson Arts District.
Located between Beech Mountain Ski Resort to the north and Sugar Mountain Ski Resort to the south, Banner Elk is quite a popular place to be in the fall and winter seasons. It’s the perfect place to be outdoors in any season, whether it’s by Wildcat Lake, or just a few miles away at Grandfather Mountain. It’s also known as the culinary hotspot of the high country, as it’s home to many of the best chefs in the state.
Visit for: Wildcat Lake, a free public lake with a dock.
Located in Mitchell County, Spruce Pine is a little town with a lot of personality, just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s home to a variety of different festivals throughout the year, including Fire on the Mountain, which celebrates the work of local blacksmiths, and the Spruce Pine BBQ & Bluegrass Festival in July. This fall, look out for Toe Jam, a twelve-hour rock ‘n’ roll event, and the Spruce Pine Potters Market.
Visit for: The Main Street, which you can stroll through and feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Cherokee is a town on the reservation of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. It’s full of history, with attractions like Oconaluftee Indian Village, which offers a look into the lifestyle of the 18th-century Cherokee people. A visit to Cherokee offers the opportunity to pay respect to long traditions and connect with the outdoors like never before.
Visit for: The Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
Considered the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bryson City is rich with natural beauty. With rafting and kayaking on the Nantahala River, biking on the Tsali trails, and boating and fishing on Fontana Lake, it doesn’t get much better. Another great attraction is the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. There, visitors can take in picturesque views of the mountain valleys and a deep river gorge.
Visit for: The views on The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
Well-known in the Carolinas for its beautiful Jackson County courthouse, Sylva is a fun and charming little town to visit. Sylva is also a top Christmas Town in western North Carolina and boasts fantastic holiday shopping. With scenic mountain views and a hoppin’ brewery scene, Sylva is worth a visit this fall.
Visit for: The American Museum of the House Cat, a quirky art gallery that offers fun for any cat lover.
Known as a friendly city with a small-town charm, Maggie Valley has great opportunities for activities in nature, including hiking, biking, camping, and whitewater rafting. You can also see the elk in the Cataloochee area of the town, where they have been successfully reintroduced. This autumn, you can also take a scenic drive in the area, to take in the leaves as they change color against the backdrop of The Blue Ridge.
Visit for: An elk sighting in the Cataloochee region.