With 494 square miles of wide-open spaces and more named summits than anywhere else in the state, Jackson County and its mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, and Sylva is the perfect place to enjoy the peaceful serenity of the great outdoors.
Spreading out in Sylva and Dillsboro
Start the day off in Sylva with a takeout breakfast from one of our many local cafés. The Coffee Shop has been serving up hometown fare since 1926 and has become a Sylva staple. Perk up with a delicious cup of coffee made to your liking from White Moon, City Lights Café, or check out The Farmhouse Mercantile & Coffee Bar for a perfectly crafted morning cup of ambition.
Hankering for a hike? Sylva’s Pinnacle Park is the perfect place for you! Pinnacle Park is unlike any other and has the unique distinction of being one of the largest parks in a small town with 1,529 acres full of natural wonder to discover. From majestic waterfalls to the hardwood forest covering the canopy for a cool climb, Pinnacle Park offers plenty of room to spread out. Conveniently located a short drive from downtown, upon arrival you’ll be greeted by wide open trails and make memories to last a lifetime. Ambitious explorers will want to take on the over 7-mile roundtrip West Fork Trail for a wonderful workout and even more extraordinary view of Sylva and the surrounding mountains.
For a less strenuous stroll, head over to the Tuckasegee River Greenway. This 2-mile there-and-back path is accessible and fully paved with sufficient shade overhead. Set forth on a relaxing stroll on the trail and enjoy the cool breeze that radiates off the Tuckasegee River. If you decide to make it a family affair, make sure to bring the kid’s bikes to enjoy a ride at The Kids’ Bike Park at the Tuck Greenway. Located about a half-mile along the greenway, the bike park is “geared” towards younger cyclists, and offers them the chance to perfect pumps, jumps, and berms in a safe environment.
Aquatic adventurers will love exploring the ‘Tuck.’ Spanning over 50 miles throughout the heart of Jackson County, the Tuckasegee River offers plenty of swimming space to enjoy via a raft, ducky, tube or kayak. Check out our river outfitters to get you started.
Try your hand at angling in the best trout waters in the Great Smoky Mountains. The WNC Fly Fishing Trail® is the first and only of its kind in the country and highlights 15 prime spots to catch trout. Our outfitters and expert guides are here to gear you up for your adventure and if needed, show you the ropes on a guided float trip. Reel in all 3 Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout for a Tuck Grand Slam!
No day is complete without a delectable dinner. Check out our restaurants, many of which are offering takeout and curbside pickup for your convivence and safety. Enjoy a relaxing meal in or find that perfect picnic spot to end the day with an evening sunset.
Serenity in Southern Jackson
If you’re looking for cascading waterfalls and awe-inspiring natural wonders, Jackson County’s southern section is the place to be. From being home to one of the highest waterfalls east of the Rockies to having the highest concentration of waterfalls in Panthertown Valley, the Cashiers Plateau is your one stop shop for the most majestic and picturesque waterfalls.
Known as the “Yosemite of the East,” Panthertown Valley offers over 30-miles of multi-use trails. With over a dozen waterfalls to explore, Panthertown gives you plenty of elbow room with wide trails and a plethora of open spaces to choose from. To easily navigate the area, make sure to purchase a map before your trek.
Head only about 15 minutes from the Crossroads to witness the majesty of Whitewater Falls. Standing at 411-feet tall, Whitewater Falls is one of the highest waterfalls east of the Rockies. Take the short and shaded quarter-mile paved path to enjoy the best view possible from atop the viewing platform that awaits ahead. Bring a carryout lunch with you as there are several covered picnic benches perfect for an outdoor lunch.
Insider Tip: To enjoy the area, make sure to bring a few dollar bills ($3 to be exact). This small admission fee helps keep the area clean and safe for visitors like you.
Lake lovers will not want to miss out on Lake Glenville. Located between Cullowhee and Cashiers, Lake Glenville offers three waterfalls (accessible by boat), seven islands, and 26 miles of shoreline. Rent a pontoon boat from Signal Ridge Marina or boats, kayaks or Sea-Doos from Lakeshore Marina & Sea-Doo Rental, and spend time relaxing, fishing or waterskiing. No matter what you choose, you’ll have plenty of room to spread out on the largest lake in the county. For the area’s recreational and rental services, click here.
For something a little less extreme, check out Whiteside Mountain. Whiteside offers a 2-mile loop trail wide enough for you to keep a safe distance. Known by geologists to be one of the oldest mountains in the world, it also boasts some incredible views atop the highest vertical cliffs in the eastern United States. Keep your eyes peeled, as you may glimpse a peregrine falcon soaring overhead or perched along Whiteside’s rocky outcrops during the spring or summer months.
End the day by grabbing takeout or curbside pickup from one of Cashiers’ favorite restaurants, such as Cornucopia, Randevu, or Whiteside Brewing. Like Sylva and Dillsboro, many of Cashiers’ restaurants are offering to go and curbside pickup for your convenience and safety.
Grab a growler or a six-pack to go at one of the breweries along the Jackson County Ale Trail. With six locations from Cashiers to Dillsboro, and over 120 brews to choose from along the Ale Trail, there is something for every palate to enjoy.
Rest assured that Jackson County’s hotels, bed and breakfasts, and cozy cabins are keeping you and your family’s safety top of mind. Following and exceeding national and state cleaning, sanitation and disinfecting practices and guidelines, you can relax and enjoy your stay without worry. Check out all of our lodging options here. If camping is more your thing, sleep under the stars at one of our rugged campsites. Request a FREE Visitor Guide here or check out our digital version to inspire and help you plan your next trip to the NC Mountains.