Welcome to North Carolina’s High Country

Year-Round Excitement in the High Country

Beneath majestic mountains, on a picture-perfect landscape, adventure awaits. No matter what season, a vacation in the High Country promises a year-round outdoor playground with an assortment of activities. You are sure to find both rustic and relaxed vibes in this diverse region.

Spring in the High Country

Spring represents the awakening of the High Country. After a cold winter, birds are singing and varieties of the region’s native flower, the rhododendron, are blooming along the Blue Ridge Parkway and on Grandfather Mountain. You can also find these beautiful flowers on a hike through the Pisgah National Forest or while kayaking through the New River. Get lost in nature with a hike or bike ride through the mountain trails.

Summer in the High Country

As summer heats things up, take a dip—or make a splash—in one of the many rivers, lakes, streams or waterfalls in the area. For the adrenaline junkies, the Blue Ridge Mountains provide the perfect escape for whitewater rafting and tubing. Or grab a group of friends and some cold drinks and rent a river tub and float along the Yadkin River. It’s hard to resist a dip in the cool mountain waters.

Fall in the High Country

A slow drive down a country backroad will provide scenic views as the leaves change in autumn. The range of elevation in the High Country makes a great opportunity to catch these breathtaking views. Zipline through the amber-colored mountains, get a sky-high look from the Blowing Rock observation deck or hike along a natural trail—let your cares drift away as you become hypnotized by the blazing colors.

Winter in the High Country

While a little warmth is nice, don’t let cold weather keep you from answering the call of the wild. The High Country offers some of the highest ski and snowboard peaks on the East Coast. You can also go snow tubing at the largest snow tubing park in the eastern United States.

A winter getaway to the High Country is not complete without cutting down your own Christmas tree. The Choose & Cut events offer guests a memorable experience from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas Eve. Local tree farms carry White Pines and Fraser Firs (known as the “Cadillac of Christmas Trees”) that come straight from the mountains of the High Country. If you want the traditional experience without having to do all the work, many farms offer hot chocolate, live music and hayrides while a farmer cuts the tree for you.

Things to Do in the High Country

While you can find adventure year-round in the High Country, there’s no shortage of activities to help you relax and unwind. How about a shopping spree? The High Country is a community full of artisans and craftsmen, who showcase their talents at events and sell their works in local shops and galleries.

High Country Dining

Take some time to wander through the quaint city streets and dine like a local. Take your taste buds on a thrill ride at one of the local bakeries, cafes and restaurants. After your meal, check out the growing craft beer scene in the High Country. If you prefer wine, some local wineries operate as tasting rooms allowing you to sip and sample.

Historical Attractions in the High Country

Learn the history of this mountain region and how the people before us once lived. Historians in traditional dress give visitors a glimpse of what life was like for a mountain settler in the 1700s. Taste early-American hearthside cooking, observe daily chores that kept a homestead running and watch a blacksmith craft using iron and steel. History comes to life at the Horn in the West outdoor drama, set in the southern Appalachian Mountains during the American Revolutionary War.

Events Year-Round

The High Country has a variety of different festivals all year long. The Blowing Rock Winter Fest in January features wine tasting, hayrides, bonfires, a Chili Challenge, the WinterFeast and the icy Polar Plunge at Chetola Lake. In late April, experience Savor Blowing Rock, a food and wine festival; and MerleFest, one of the largest Americana-roots-based music festival. Summer ushers in the largest gathering of Scottish clans in the world at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. The Valle Country Fair offers the best of the autumnal season, with homemade Brunswick Stew, barbecue and apple butter. Enjoy activities like pumpkin carving and check out over 150 arts and crafts vendors on a crisp fall weekend in October.

Whether you want to take a day trip, weekend getaway or well-deserved long vacation, the High Country has something exciting to offer all year long. Lose yourself in the charm of the mountain towns and return with stories to tell for a lifetime.

High Country Visitors Guide cover 2021