spring flowers

The Four Seasons of High Country

Experience Everything High Country has to offer through All Four Seasons

By Julie Matthews

In North Carolina’s High Country, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a place full of beauty, adventure and fun year-round. While its outdoor scenery and its activities change with each season, this mountain getaway is boundless as far as things to do and experience. Visitors escape to this outdoor playground at different times of the year for many different reasons.

With some of the highest ski and snowboard areas in the east, the High Country’s high elevations make it a wonderland for winter sports. Thrill seekers flock to the region’s ski resorts each winter and hit the snowy slopes for skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and other exciting activities. Grandfather Mountain is a particularly popular place to visit during the winter months. The High Country’s Christmas tree farms are also a major attraction for families wanting to cut down their own trees. Before Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, families head to local farms for this beloved tradition. Also full of history and heritage, Tweetsie Railroad’s enchanting events during the holiday season are another way families get into the festive spirit while in the High Country.

Eventually the temperatures warm, the snow clears and the mountainside becomes lush with greenery and wildflowers. Rhododendrons brighten up the mountainous landscape with their vibrant pink and purple blooms. Springtime is a perfect time for outdoor adventures in the area’s nature parks, such as the Pisgah National Forest. Recreational activities are endless in this region, from hiking and biking to ziplining and climbing. For more relaxing, low-key fun visit local farms and stroll through farmers markets, or spend time shopping at the unique, local shops in town. During spring, event calendars quickly fill up with entertaining festivals of all kinds, including music, art, crafts and so much more

Summers in the High Country are exhilarating with a continuation of the activities that kick off in the spring with extra enthusiasm for water activities from whitewater rafting and tubing to kayaking and canoeing in the region’s rivers and other waterways. The New River is a popular destination for groups to gather and hang out for hours. The cool summer temperatures, which average in the 70s, are ideal for outdoor expeditions, including fishing and exploring the area’s scenic parks and waterfalls. Other magnificent summer activities in the mountains include listening to live music at outdoor concerts or eating delicious meals on outside patios. Enjoying local libations at breweries and wineries in the High Country, with beautiful mountain views as the backdrop, is also an excellent way to get a taste of the High Country community.

Visiting the High Country in fall is a remarkable experience. October is when the leaves reach their peak colors and sightseeing drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including the Linn Cove Viaduct, are stunning with overlooks providing spectacular views of the surrounding mountain landscapes. This is a marvelous time to connect with nature, by observing the brilliant foliage and breathing in the crisp autumn air. Picking apples at a local orchard or meeting some new alpaca friends at a local farm, or attending one of the area’s numerous events, such as Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain, are all perfect ways to spend a fall day in North Carolina’s High Country.