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Bikers at Gateway Trail System in Old Fort, NC.

Welcome to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where forests, waterfalls, mountain peaks and welcoming small towns await.

Outdoor adventure is all around. This area is home to more than 200 miles (and counting) of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, plus lakes and rivers for paddling and fishing. Pisgah National Forest — the first national forest unit in the U.S. — is a wonderland of rushing waterfalls and breathtaking mountain vistas.

Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway as it winds north from Mount Mitchell to Linville Falls, or bring your motorcycle to experience the thrill of The Diamondback. Or trade your car for a canoe as you explore the cool waters of Lake James.

Learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the region at one of our historical attractions, or try your luck at an historic gem mine. Enjoy shopping for unique and handcrafted souvenirs along Main Street and Catawba Avenue in Old Fort and in Marion's historic and vibrant downtown, where you’ll find antique shops, independent boutiques and art galleries. Or wander out to Little Switzerland or the Orchard at Altapass to peruse old-fashioned general stores.

Spend the evening sampling flights of craft beer at a local brewery, or drink in the rhythms of live music at an area venue or winery. And don’t let the rain dampen your spirit of adventure — check out local bowling alleys, arcades and skating rinks to keep the whole family entertained.

Check out the listings below to plan your next Blue Ridge Mountain vacation.