From majestic peaks to rich, fertile valleys, the Mountains of North Carolina have drawn travelers since the beginning of time. History, heritage, culture, crafts, music and outdoor activities beckon to you at every bend in the road and you’ll find the road itself is worth the drive.
- Appalachian Trail
Hikers of every degree of skill will find appropriate challenges along the 88 miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) that run through the North Carolina mountains. From thru-hikers, backpackers who attempt the trail in its entirety, to hikers out for an afternoon stroll, those who love to walk rugged mountain terrain through dense woodlands find the Appalachian Trail along the most beautiful in America.
- Asheville & The Central Mountains
In the Central Mountains, you’ll find artsy Asheville where George Washington Vanderbilt constructed his fabulous home, the Biltmore. Enjoy the arts, culture and history of the region in the nearby towns of Hendersonville, Flat Rock, and Brevard while you explore ancient forests and view the splendor of cascading waterfalls. Be sure to visit Mount Mitchell, the highest point on the east coast.
- Blue Ridge
North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains are a beautiful place filled with small mountain towns, national forests, raging rivers and the world’s most creative artists and crafters. Winding through these mountains is “America’s Favorite Drive”, the Blue Ridge Parkway. Celebrating its 75th birthday in 2009-10, the Blue Ridge Parkway has become the National Park Service’s biggest attraction. Around 20 million people visit each year to drive, ride, hike, picnic and camp – or just sit and enjoy the views.
- High Country & The Northern Mountains
The Northern Mountains beckon you with skiing, outdoor activities and the beauty of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Here the Blue Ridge Parkway enters North Carolina from Virginia, with more than half its total length, about 252 miles, winding its way through the heart of the North Carolina Mountains. Here you’ll also find the western edge of the Yadkin Valley wine appellation as well as unique shopping and mountain heritage.
- Small Mountain Towns
North Carolina has a number of charming small towns tucked into valleys where history, heritage, culture, crafts, music and outdoor activities beckon to you at every bend in the road. Explore Boone, Blowing Rock and Banner Elk in the northern region. Experience quirky, bohemian Asheville and the nearby towns of Hendersonville, Flat Rock and Brevard in the central mountain region. Bryson City, Dillsboro and Cherokee are nestled to the south, in the Smoky Mountains.
- Smoky Mountains
In 1934 the government preserved 800 square miles of an enchanted land and called it the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Today, the park has more than 700 miles of rivers and streams, 800 miles of hiking trails, 2,000 acres of virgin forests and a protected environment for plants and animals once endanger of extinction. The Smokies are recognized as the most biologically diverse spot on earth and designated as an international biosphere reserve.
- Southern Mountains
The Southern Mountains are dominated by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where outdoor activities and scenic beauty are just another Appalachian day. Hike the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. About 370 miles of it runs through North Carolina along the Tennessee border. Go rafting on the whitewater rapids of the Nantahala River Gorge or bring your skis for wintry fun. Visit Cherokee and learn about Native American culture and history.