The Mountain Lifestyle

Top Attractions in Western North Carolina

The Western North Carolina lifestyle is centered around the scenic beauty and rocky terrain of the mountains. If you live for outdoor adventures and local fun, here are the attractions you cannot miss.

Do You Love the Outdoors?

Appalachian Trail

a hiking trail through pine trees

The Appalachian Trail spans over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine. If you love hiking, you can find access points in North Carolina in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo courtesy of

Grandfather Mountain

mile high swinging bridge at grandfather mountain

Trek across the mile-high swinging bridge and bask in the beautiful views. You can choose your own path on 11 mountain trails that vary in difficulty from easy to challenging. Photo courtesy of

Sliding Rock

a rocky shore just beyond a waterfall

Beat the heat the way Western North Carolina residents know best: by sliding down a gently sloping yet fast-moving waterfall in Pisgah National Forest. It's the best kind of thrill. Photo courtesy of

Ski Resorts

trees and powder on a ski slope

North Carolina's mountain ski resorts are popular winter destinations for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. You can learn more about the resorts on our winter activities page. Photo courtesy of Cataloochee Ski Area.

Do You Love Arts & Culture?

WNC Pottery Festival

a potter working on a potter's wheel

Local arts are just as important to the Western North Carolina lifestyle as the outdoors, and the WNC Pottery Festival is a popular event that draws thousands of visitors annually.

Folkmoot USA

a guitar player

Folkmoot USA is an international celebration of folk music, held every year since 1984 in Waynesville. It lasts for two weeks and features groups from over 100 countries.

Mountain Heritage Day

fresh blue berries at a festival

Held at Western Carolina University, Mountain Heritage Day is an exciting celebration of the local arts, music, food, and mountain lifestyle, with activities for visitors of all ages.

Cherokee Reservation

nature reserve in cherokee

The community of Cherokee is centered around the rich history and traditions of the Cherokee tribe. Learn more about this community on our Cherokee attractions page. Photo courtesy of Keith Hall Photography.

Do You Love to Take Photos?

Biltmore Estate

the biltmore house

Biltmore Estate in Asheville was the home of the Vanderbilt family in the early 20th century. Today it is a popular attraction with an inn, winery, equestrian center, and tours. Photo courtesy of Biltmore.

Blue Ridge Parkway

blue ridge parkway

In the fall, you can see the leaves on the trees in all of their color and brilliance, and the meandering drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains makes for beautiful pictures. Photo courtesy of

Clingman's Dome

the view from clingman's dome

Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains at an elevation of 6,643 feet. You can see for miles in all directions from the 54-foot observation tower. Photo courtesy of

Whitewater Falls

whitewater falls

The Western North Carolina mountains has beautiful postcard-worthy scenery, and Whitewater Falls is a gem. The waterfall cascades 411 feet and is framed by towering trees. Photo courtesy of Jackson County Chamber of Commerce

Do You Love to Shop & Dine Local?

Dogwood Crafters

Doogwood Crafters

Located in Dillsboro, Dogwood Crafters is a collective of local artists who sell mountain gifts, including corn shuck dolls. It has been a local favorite since it formed in 1976. Photo courtesy of Dogwood Crafters.

City Lights Bookstore and Cafe

City Lights

City Lights Bookstore is a small indi bookstore whose goal is to share the literature of the region with the world, and the world of books with our community. Be sure to go downstairs for a bite to eat and some delicious coffee. Stay, hang out and enjoy live music, local art, free wi-fi and a comfy environment. Photo courtesy of City Lights Cafe.

Tuckasegee Trading Company

Grain and Seed

Located in Cullowhee, the Tuckasegee Trading Company is your local feed & seed store, where they know by name and treat you like family!

Want to Learn More? Discover the Western North Carolina Area