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

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Outdoor Adventure

Join us on a trail! We are 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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Fall Color is on the Horizon

Plan now to see the mountain's most colorful show

Fall Adventures
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3-Day Blue Ridge Itinerary

Things to see and do in the mountains.

Find Travel Inspiration
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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

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Aug. 18, 2022, 11:25 a.m.

Blue Ridge Day Trip: North Carolina Arboretum

Explore the colorful gardens and wooded trails of the North Carolina Arboretum to see a snapshot of the diversity of botanical life that calls the Blue Ridge Mountains home.

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Aug. 10, 2022, 2:15 p.m.

Music in the Mountains: Where to Listen in the Blue Ridge

The hills are alive with the sounds of traditional Appalachian and bluegrass tunes, as well as blues, rock n’ roll, and beyond. Here's where to find live music in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Aug. 3, 2022, 2:36 p.m.

Top 25 Things to Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains

From waterfalls and vistas to small-town main streets and locally crafted flavors, here are 25 top things to experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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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 electronically.

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