Category: Enjoying the Seasons

Best Fall Hikes in Jackson County

Best Fall Hikes in Jackson County

Photo courtesy Elizabeth Alonso @lizalonso Once the fall colors descend upon the peaks and valleys of the Western North Carolina mountain towns of Jackson County, there’s no better way to enjoy this kaleidoscope of color than hitting the area’s many scenic hiking trails. Whether trekking up a mountain or leisurely strolling along a short, family-friendly path that includes vistas, waterfalls, old bridges and more, there’s a trail available for every age and skill level. When planning a hiking excursion in Jackson County, expect to see a wealth of fall colors in October through early November. Peak colors generally appear first in higher elevations and work their way down into the region’s valleys as the season progresses. With average highs in the mid to upper 60s, fall is a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy nature’s beauty. While there are many trails available for fall hikes, don’t miss our top 5 favorites in Jackson County: 1. High Falls Trail Set out on this hiking trail, and you’ll be rewarded with a view of High Falls (also known as Cullowhee Falls), a two-section, 100-foot waterfall fed by the West Fork of the Tuckasegee River. Although the total trail is less than 1 mile, you descend down a few hundred steps to reach the magnificent falls. The strenuous part is on the hike out, but it’s well worth it! https://www.discoverjacksonnc.com/outdoors/waterfalls/high-falls/ 2. Waterrock Knob Trail This 1.2-mile roundtrip hike is a short, vigorous climb, but the view at the summit makes it completely […]

Follow the Blue Ridge Parkway to Fall in Jackson County

Follow the Blue Ridge Parkway to Fall in Jackson County

(Photo courtesy James Leithart) When it comes to enjoying the beauty of fall’s vibrant colors, nothing beats a leisurely road trip through the mountains of Western North Carolina. The crisp, cool air, scenic views and peaceful serenity allow visitors to take in what many say is their favorite time of year. One of the best routes to explore the area’s brilliant autumnal hues is along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Jackson County. Created in 1936 with the final 7.7-mile stretch completed in 1987, the Blue Ridge Parkway was constructed to link the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Today, the road covers 469 miles, stretching from Virginia to North Carolina. More than 40 miles traverse our county, including the highest section of the entire Parkway. As a result, the area attracts leaf lookers each year who come to take in the rich colors of autumn in the mountains. 2018’s rainy summer will bring out warm hazel tones, siennas and golden yellows throughout Jackson County beginning in September. Dr. Beverly Collins, biology professor at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, is predicting peak color around the fourth week of October and expects color to extend through early November. Unlike portions of the Parkway farther north in the state, the section here is generally much less congested, making it more enjoyable to explore. Plus, because the Parkway speed limit is just 45 mph, with some areas seeing even lower limits, it’s easy to cruise along leisurely while taking in the […]

Celebrating Southern Appalachian Culture at Mountain Heritage Day

Celebrating Southern Appalachian Culture at Mountain Heritage Day

Autumn is nearly upon us, and that means fall festivals are on the horizon. One not-to-miss fall event is Mountain Heritage Day, which is held each year on the Western Carolina University campus. This annual festival celebrates the Southern Appalachian mountain culture that can be found throughout Jackson County and the rest of the surrounding Western North Carolina mountains. Mountain Heritage Day is a prime example of WCU’s community involvement, drawing more than 15,000 visitors to the area to experience continuous live entertainment, more than 130 food and craft vendors, an interactive children’s area, and nonstop family-friendly activities. Both admission and parking for the event are free, with free shuttle service provided.

Perfect Patios for Al-Fresco Dining

Perfect Patios for Al-Fresco Dining

On nice summer evenings when temperatures drop down with the sun, and the mountain breeze picks up, there is no better place to dine in Jackson County than in a beautiful outdoor setting. Whether you’re looking for a table for the whole family to try some delicious local fare, a romantic date night under the stars or a cool place to enjoy a flight of craft beer, there are plenty of dining options to set the perfect scene in the mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro and Sylva.

Instagram as Inspiration for Your Jackson County Trip

Instagram as Inspiration for Your Jackson County Trip

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through photos online and imagining yourself in the place pictured? Rest assured you are not alone! Instagram, for travelers especially, is the perfect resource for gathering inspiration on where to take your next weekend getaway or vacation. One of the top considerations when picking a destination is “going somewhere where I can take memorable pictures,” according to Expedia. In the North Carolina mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro and Sylva, there is no shortage of Instagram-worthy sunsets, waterfalls, and scenic views. To showcase some of the very best traveler photos in Jackson County, we created a new section on our website that one can use as a visual trip planner. Click here to access our new Visitor Galleries. Some tips for using Instagram to plan your next trip to Jackson County: Follow @DiscoverJacksonNC (that’s our official account!) Find a photo you love in our feed that really makes you want to visit. Trust us – you’ll have a hard time deciding on a favorite! If you see a waterfall you want to check or a place that has delicious looking BBQ, burgers or tapas, use the ‘save’ feature (it looks like a bookmark) located underneath the photo on the right. Name the collection something fun like ‘Weekend Road Trip to NC.’ This saves the image to your collection and you can easily find it later when you get here. Explore by geo-tag! See something you like on our page? Click the location name above […]

These mountains are made for biking

These mountains are made for biking

Tap into the secret inventory of mountain bike sweet spots in the N.C. mountains of Jackson County. Whether it’s thrills or tranquility you crave, our mountain bike trails have you covered. Technical single-track and downhill bombing runs. Casual forest trails with stunning views and waterfalls. Climbs that run the gamut from gnarly to novice. And a meandering riverside greenway that fits the bill for the littlest of pedalers. Jackson County does road biking, too. Test your limits with epic climbs, bestowed with ominous names like “Ring of Hades” or “Spurs of Death” by local riders. Head up to the high-elevation cruising altitude of the Blue Ridge Parkway or ramble along country roads and river valleys. Unwind with an after-ride toast on the Jackson County Ale Trail. Don’t worry, the craft breweries won’t mind that mud on your pant cuffs. As an outdoors town, our motto is “Play On” and we name our beers after trails. With spring leafing up the mountains, it’s the perfect time to strap on the bike rack, pump up your tires and kick off the riding season with getaway to Jackson County, N.C. Here’s a quick guide to the local cycling scene to help you hit the ground pedaling. Gear up for the Great Balsam Bike Relay Adventuresome cyclists can experience the perfect marriage of both in the Great Balsam Bike Relay, a bodacious 12-16 hour journey coming August 11. Teams of four will take on the top trails and road routes of Jackson County and […]

Find your heart song this Valentine’s in the N.C. mountains of Jackson County

Find your heart song this Valentine’s in the N.C. mountains of Jackson County

Reconnect with your sweetheart during Valentine’s season with a romantic retreat to the picturesque mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro and Sylva. Paint the town red at our cocktail lounges, wine bars and craft breweries. Shake off the mid-winter doldrums with a dose of the great outdoors. Or relax under a Smoky Mountain sunset with a vase of roses by the hot tub. From upscale resorts to rustic hideaways, and chic hotels to intimate bed and breakfasts, Jackson County delivers a diverse array of accommodations. The only hard part is picking one.

Jackson County, North Carolina: A Destination Fit for Any Season

Jackson County, North Carolina: A Destination Fit for Any Season

With stunning summits, expansive rivers, spectacular waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes, Jackson County, North Carolina’s 494 square miles of natural beauty shines no matter what time of year.  Along with the wealth of natural wonders, the man-made treasures, culinary offerings and cultural attractions elevate the experience even further. The mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro and Sylva in Jackson County, North Carolina await. The picturesque views that surround the county may change colors with the seasons, but the beauty of the destination never fades.

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