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

Fall leaf lookers

Fall Color Report: Week of Sept. 25

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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G5 Trail Collective Trail Development 2023

Old Fort Trails Project Receives $2.5 Million for Trail Development

Old Fort Trails Project Receives $2.5 Million for Trail Development

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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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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 weather and brilliant fall foliage, autumn is the perfect time to plan your next vacation to the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.

Check out our guide to the top 25 things to do in the Blue Ridge. As you explore, keep your eyes open for colorful fall leaves illuminating mountainsides and hiking trails. Take a drive on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway or along the backroads that crisscross Pisgah National Forest, stopping to take pictures of mountain vistas and experiencing regional heritage at museums and historic attractions along the way.

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.

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.

And be sure to get a taste of the local flavors! Take a bite out of fall at a 100-year-old U-pick apple orchard amid the sounds of mountain music. Enjoy a pint of locally brewed beer — or wine, mead or spirits — as you explore the High Spirits Trail. Or 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.

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 in fall.

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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