The Catawba Falls trail will close on May 2, 2022, and remain closed until spring of 2023. The popular Old Fort area trail will be closed for 9-12 months to ensure the safety of the public and construction crews building retaining walls, boardwalks, staircases, and overlooks. Click the "Play" icon 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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Dive Right In

Plan your #lakelife adventure

Discover Lake James
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3-Day Blue Ridge Itinerary

Things to see and do in the mountains.

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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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May 24, 2022, 11:50 a.m.

Enjoy the Alpine Charm of Little Switzerland

Little Switzerland, N.C., is a popular stop for visitors to the Blue Ridge Mountains. And there’s plenty to explore. Learn what there is to see and do.

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May 14, 2022, 12:47 p.m.

Keep the Blue Ridge Beautiful! Fire Safety & Responsible Recreation Reminders

While there are many ways that we can minimize the impacts of our activities on the natural environment, practicing good fire safety may be one of the most important.

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May 12, 2022, 3:18 p.m.

Livin’ it Up at Marion’s 2022 Livermush Festival

Prepare your palates for the Livermush Festival, returning to downtown Marion on Saturday, June 4, 2022!

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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!

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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