The Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina are dubbed the Yosemite of the East, and for good reason. It’s a magical place of mist-shrouded peaks, crystal-clear lakes and streams, enchanting waterfalls and breathtaking vistas. It’s the kind of destination you visit when you want to disconnect from your busy life and reconnect with soul-soothing nature. Spring and summer carpet these ancient, blue-hued mountains in emerald, which yields to a palette of fiery red, gold, amber and ochre in the fall and a blanket of white in winter.
You’ll want to be outside as much as possible here, breathing in the sweet mountain air and exploring this all-season destination. Choose a tranquil forest trail near Cashiers and set out on foot or horseback to discover a misty waterfall hidden beneath a forest canopy of green. Drop a line in a sparkling mountain stream and spend a lazy afternoon casting for trout. Tee off on a golf course with distractingly beautiful vistas, or feel the frosty breeze on your face as you ski, snowboard or snow tube down a Blue Ridge slope at Sugar or Beech Mountain near Banner Elk. Or, just find a shady spot with a view and lose yourself in the mountain-studded horizon in Lake Lure.
CashiersThis quaint village is one of the state’s most charming places with excellent shopping and dining venues, plus a long list of festivals, concerts and arts and crafts shows.
Beech MountainAll-season activities abound at this mountain resort from skiing, tubing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking, fishing and biking in the summer.
Mountain Waters Scenic BywayDiscover enchanting waterfalls cascading down ancient rock walls just off Highway 64, also known as the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway.