About the Area

National Parks, Mountains, and Outdoor Activities

Western North Carolina is famous for its lifestyle of adventure and outdoor recreation, which stems from the plethora of national parks, state forests, mountain peaks, and trails throughout the area. Centered around these popular attractions are activities that include hiking, biking, sightseeing, whitewater rafting, and camping, but there is so much more to discover. 

clingmans dome at sunset

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The pleasant weather and the multitude of activities and points of interest make Great Smoky Mountains National Park a favorite among residents and tourists alike. No matter the season, there is always something to do in the Great Smoky Mountains, and living in the Great Smoky Mountains is an unmatched experience. 

Top Destinations

  • Appalachian Trail
  • Cades Cove
  • Cataloochee Creek
  • Clingmans Dome
  • Deep Creek
  • Fontana Dam
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Popular Activities

  • hiking
  • biking
  • fishing
  • mountain climbing
  • wildlife viewing
  • historic tours
  • camping

whiteside mountain in nantahala national forest

Nantahala National Forest

Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina's largest forest, spans more than 500,000 acres through the tip of the state, nestling our area — Sylva, Cullowhee, and Dillsboro — amid stately mountains, towering trees, and the peace and quiet that only mountain life can provide.

Top Destinations

  • Hiwassee River
  • Jackrabbit Mountain
  • Lone Bald
  • Nantahala Gorge
  • Tsali Recreation Area
  • Whitewater Falls

Popular Activities

  • whitewater rafting
  • camping
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • horseback riding
  • swimming

blue ridge parkway at sunrise

Pisgah National Forest

Showcasing some of the North Carolina mountains' best features, including the famed Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest is a top destination that is adored for its year-round scenic views.

Top Destinations

  • Biltmore Estate
  • Black Mountain
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Mount Mitchell
  • Sliding Rock

Popular Activities

  • mountain biking
  • camping
  • mountain climbing
  • fishing
  • horseback riding
  • wildlife viewing
  • scenic driving

Top Destinations in Western North Carolina

In addition to these national parks, there are small treasures offering plenty of places to hike, bike, and climb: Chimney Rock State Park, DuPont State Forest, and the Blue Ridge Mountains are top choices. 

Planning a trip or considering purchasing a home in this beautiful area of the state? Explore this map of national parks to find a destination close to our area, and contact us for more information about living in Western North Carolina. 


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