The Catawba Falls trail is closed until spring of 2023. Click here to find alternative waterfall and hiking trails.

Woman Hiking at the Curtis Creek Gateway Trail

Outdoor Adventure

Join us on a trail! We're a mountain community with elevations exceeding 3,000 feet above sea level inside the Pisgah National Forest where our northern boundary is the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Blue Ridge Parkway photo by Andrew James

Spring Exploration

Sweeping mountain views everywhere you look.

Where to Explore
Family at The Orchard at Altapass McDowell County

Top 25 Things To Do

Explore all there is to see and do in the mountains.

Find Travel Inspiration
Couple enjoying the Blue Ridge Craft Spirits Trail

High Spirits Trail

Visit 11 uniquely crafted tasting experiences along the Blue Ridge Traveler’s High Spirits Trail to experience the craftsmanship of local brewers, vintners and distillers using ingredients grown right here in Western N.C.

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Get your free Travel Guide

A travel guide for Marion, Old Fort, Lake James, Linville Falls and Little Switzerland, NC.

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Find lodging in and around McDowell County for your vacation. Browse hotels, campsites, rentals, and more.

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Sign up for the Blue Ridge Travelers Newsletter to get updates on news and events in McDowell County.

Experience the Blue Ridge

A sunset view at Wildacres Retreat
March 9, 2023, 3:38 p.m.

The Cultural Cool of Wildacres Retreat

Perched atop Pompey’s Knob in the alpine-inspired town of Little Switzerland sits the inspirational cultural conference center, Wildacres Retreat.

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Aerial View of Old Fort
Feb. 23, 2023, 2:24 p.m.

Mountain Gateway Museum Opens New Exhibit On Old Fort Anniversary

Throughout 2023, Old Fort NC's 150th anniversary will be featured in a new, free exhibit at the Mountain Gateway Museum.

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Feb. 23, 2023, 11:06 a.m.

Blue Ridge Day Trip: Mount Mitchell

Visit the highest mountain peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains (and the east coast)! The renowned Mount Mitchell State Park is home to breathtaking 360-degree views.

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Your Travel Guide To Little Switzerland, Lake James, Marion, Old Fort & Linville Falls

Welcome to the Blue Ridge Traveler's Towns and Trails! With beautiful weather, endless mountain views and countless ways to reconnect with the great outdoors, spring is the perfect time to plan your next vacation to the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.

Check out our guides to top local hiking trails and breathtaking waterfalls. Keep an eye open for colorful native wildflowers as you explore the region. Take a drive on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy mountain vistas and stop by museums and historic attractions to immerse yourself in regional heritage. Cool off at Lake James State Park where you’ll find fun for all ages including hiking, kayaking, fishing, biking and a swimming beach.

Imagine Blue Ridge life in a time gone by when you stop by the Historic Carson House, Emerald Village Museum, and Mountain Gateway Museum. Or try your luck at a historic local pastime — mining for gold.

Stroll the charming small-town streets of Marion, Old Fort, Little Switzerland and the Linville Falls community, where you will encounter the craftsmanship of local artists in shops and galleries. Check out the events calendar for a full line-up of happenings throughout the season.

When it’s time for a bite, pull up a chair at one of our delicious local restaurants. From barbecue to bakeries, burritos to bubble tea, and plenty of scrumptious Southern fare, you’re sure to find the local flavor you’re looking for. Enjoy a pint of locally brewed beer at one of several craft breweries, and look for local wine, mead and spirits along our High Spirits Trail.

At the end of the day, choose from numerous lodging options ranging from rustic campgrounds and mountain cabins to lakeside vacation rentals and national brand hotels. Not sure where to start? Explore our three-day Blue Ridge Mountains itinerary that includes our favorite things to do — plus more to discover on your own!

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