The Catawba Falls trail is closed until spring of 2024. Click here to find alternative waterfall and hiking trails.

Fall leaf lookers

2023 Fall Color Forecast

Learn when and where to catch the year's most colorful show!

Fall Color Report
Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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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Family at The Orchard at Altapass McDowell County

Top 25 Things To Do

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

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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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Win a Blue Ridge Getaway

Win A Weekend Getaway with Blue Ridge Traveler!

Win A Weekend Getaway with Blue Ridge Traveler!

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Old Fort Depot 1940s

150 Years of Old Fort

New Museum Exhibit Celebrates Blue Ridge History

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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

Weekend Getaway in McDowell County
Sept. 23, 2023, 4:09 p.m.

Win A Weekend Getaway with Blue Ridge Traveler!

Enter to Win a Two Night Stay at Inn on Mill Creek as well as other prizes

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Lake James Rainbow.jpg
Sept. 15, 2023, 7 p.m.

Nebo, NC Weekend Exploration Guide

The Nebo community sits along the shoreline of Lake James and offers access to plenty of outdoor adventure. When planning your weekend adventure, here are some things you'll want to explore.

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fall color in the blue ridge mountains.jpg
Sept. 5, 2023, 4 p.m.

2023 Blue Ridge Fall Color Forecast

Follow along as we provide you with an up-to-date fall color report for the Blue Ridge Mountains. Information on top drives, hikes, and views are updated weekly.

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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 cool mountain breezes, endless views and countless opportunities for outdoor adventure, summer 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 stunning waterfalls. Keep an eye open for native wildflowers and colorful bird species as you hike, bike and explore the region. Take a drive on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping to take pictures of mountain vistas and experiencing regional heritage at museums and historic attractions along the way.

Cool off at Lake James State Park where you’ll find fun for all ages including hiking, kayaking, biking and a swimming beach. Wade into chilly mountain streams to try your hand at fly fishing or rent a tube to enjoy a lazy float down the Catawba River.

Step back in time and imagine life in the Blue Ridge during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when you stop by the Historic Carson House, Emerald Village Museum, and Mountain Gateway Museum. Each site interprets different pieces of our region's historic puzzle.

Stroll the 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!

Note: All images are property of the McDowell Tourism Authority or tourism partners and are not to be copied, duplicated, re-printed, or shared electronic

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