Jackson County is defined by its mountains and waterways. A rough count indicates that the area has 400-plus named summits and streams, and it’s fascinating to ponder how a certain peak or creek acquired its name. Some are obvious. For example, many local streams are named after the people who first settled on their banks. Scott Creek, Greens Creek, Blanton Branch, Johns Creek, Wilson Creek and Watson Branch are good examples. Interestingly, all of these are also the names of roads as well. Other creeks are categorized by geography (East Fork and North Fork), size (Peewee Branch) or by the plants that grow there (Caney Fork, Cane Creek and Locust Creek).
While the mountains define Jackson County, there’s no question that its many streams are a huge part of its appeal. Best known, of course, is the mighty Tuckasegee, the river that runs south to north through most of the county. Scenic N.C. 107, Jackson’s main state highway, runs beside the Tuck for most of its length as it connects Cashiers with, in “down-the-mountain” order, Glenville, Cullowhee, and Sylva. But the Tuck is not the county’s only river: three others – the Chattooga, Whitewater and Horsepasture – drain Jackson’s southern end, and the Oconaluftee flows through its northern tip.
Now that the last of fall’s leaves have blown away, our mountains are coming into sharper focus. Gazing up from the valleys, we are surrounded by peaks; looking down from the Blue Ridge Parkway reveals Jackson County’s seemingly endless array of mountains. In fact, winter with its long-range views may be the best time to hike.
Start with Jackson County’s most photographed building add a modern addition in the same architectural style, mix in dramatic views, then fill with books, computers and community gathering spaces. The result; Jackson County’s most photogenic library. Beautifully located on a hilltop overlooking historic downtown Sylva.
Labor Day is the only US holiday dedicated to celebrating the working people, so take advantage of the holiday weekend and treat yourself to a trip to the North Carolina mountain towns of Jackson County! Not only is it conveniently located in the Great Smoky Mountains just a short drive from the Southeast’s major cities, but Jackson County also provides visitors the chance to try many different activities throughout their stay in the area.
Just 20 miles from the southern edge of the Smokies, the western North Carolina town of Sylva provides a strategic launch point for exploring one of the country’s most beloved natural wonders—the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The national park, spread between North Carolina and Tennessee, is the most visited in the country, boasting 16 peaks above 6,000-feet and 850 miles of trails. Even better, the park is best accessed from Sylva courtesy of a lofty stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the iconic motorway linking the Smokies with Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.
Filled with sylvan streams winding through vast swathes of contiguous wilderness and crowned by the cloud-swaddled peaks of the southern Appalachians, Jackson County, North Carolina, is awash with natural wonders. Beyond the stunning backdrop, the mountain-nestled county is also peppered with inviting towns loaded with bountiful farmers markets, inventive craft breweries, farm-to-fork eateries, and boutiques showcasing locally produced artisanal crafts. Adventures are abundant in Jackson County, but here’s a shortlist of recommendations for an idyllic weekend escape.
The annual Mountain Heritage Day beckons guests to embrace Appalachian tradition and dive into the thriving legacy of North Carolina’s mountain culture on September 24. The festival, held in Cullowhee, N.C. at Western Carolina University, invites you with open arms to this authentic experience, complete with music, entertainment, shopping, activities and history.
With the cooler weather, the new vibrant colors of the leaves and exciting fall festivals, autumn is more than a season- it’s a time for joy and inspiration for artistic minds. So this fall, get outside, celebrate nature and play on in Jackson County, N.C. A haven for natural beauty and the arts, Jackson County is a must-experience fall escape with a lot more than inspiration alone to offer.
It is hard to keep your cool as temperatures everywhere suddenly spike into triple digits. The heat in the air is palpable and every outdoor task appears increasingly daunting. Luckily, in the mountain haven of Cashiers, N.C., the crisp mountain breeze makes it easy to remain cool. At an elevation of nearly 3,500 feet, the Cashiers area boasts mild summer temperatures resting between 70 and 80 degrees. Say goodbye to the muggy climate you left behind and say hello to our cool hidden gem of a town.