A winter escape to the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains is an invigorating, rosy-cheek feeling experience. Visitors come for the mild winter weather surrounded by snow-dusted peaks, making it easy to access winter adventure and cozy times.
The best cure of the winter blahs is a dose of fun, and you don’t need to go far to find a place to play. Here are some of our favorite ways to get outdoors in the winter.
- Located in the heart of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, and just 30 minutes from Asheville, is Wolf Ridge Ski Resort and Vacation Rentals. With slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing this place is offers something fun for the entire family.
- Imagine experiencing a massive cavern, complete with unusual stalactites and stalagmites with Eastern Pipistrelle bats, salamanders and blind trout. Take a drive over to Linville Caverns, where you can step inside a mountain at the only show cavern in the NC Blue Ridge. With a constant 52-degree temperature inside the cavern, this is an amazing adventure in any season.
- There’s nothing like taking a driving tour of the spectacular waterfalls in and around the Blue Ridge. There are clearer views and just amazing ice formations during the cold snaps. Be sure to bring your camera.
- Pearson’s Falls and Glen is a natural attraction in the foothills of the Blue Ridge between Tryon and Saluda. With a 90 foot waterfall and 275 acres of rich cove forest, this is a perfect winter time stop.
- Catch views of the beautiful falls at Looking Glass Falls, a roadside waterfall near Brevard.
- Douglass Falls near Barnardsville is a high and free-falling waterfall with an easy half-mile hike to the falls in a virgin forest.
- Head over to Old Fort and check out Catawba Falls in the southern tip of the Pisgah National Forest. At 100-feet high, Catawba Falls is one of the exceptional waterfalls in the Blue Ridge.
Mountain Views That Go On Forever
There’s no end to the hiking season in N.C.’s Blue Ridge Mountains and no end to beautiful vistas. Trails are less crowded and there are views you would never see during the summer. Here is where to visit.
- Starting out in Asheville, head over to Bearwallow Mountain Trail. This short hike provides 360-degree views towering over the Hickory Nut Gorge, Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.
- For a family and pet-friendly hike to a beautiful waterfall, check out the Moore Cove Falls Trail. This 3/4-mile hike takes you to one of the prettiest and most accessible waterfall hikes.
- There really aren’t rattlesnakes on the trail to Rattlesnake Lodge. This pleasant three-mile hike takes you to the ruins of a historic private lodge and follows the Mountains to Sea Trail. It’s close to Asheville and follows an old wagon train road with spectacular views and lush forest.
- Lovers Leap Loop Trail is a local favorite where your feet are officially on the Appalachian Trail. It’s a lovely drive to Hot Springs, a small trail town nestled in a valley beside the breathtaking French Broad River. Climb to the summit for amazing views from Lover Leap along the two-mile trail. Follow the white blazes of the AT through town and along the banks of the river.
- And while you’re there, be sure to check out the trail at Max Patch, a short scenic drive from Hot Springs. You’re still on the AT on a grassy, bald mountain with 360-degree views. At an elevation of 4,629, Max Patch is one of the most beautiful summits in the Southeast.
Indoor Activities To Escape The Cold
Whether you’re seeking wintertime thrills or searching for long winter views and magical ice sculptures made from waterfalls, there are plenty of indoor attractions to keep you warm and toasty this season around the Blue Ridge. Take a break from the snow sports and choose some indoor happiness at these cozy spots.
- Natural hot springs have been used for healing and wellness for centuries. Soak in the naturally heated water at the Hot Springs Spa, just a short drive from Asheville. Book an hour or two in a private tub right on the French Broad River. The heat in the hot spring water helps sooth those aching muscles and you’ll feel more relaxed and less stressed.
- There’s no better way to warm your soul than art. Whether it’s a symphony performance or an artist’s masterpiece, art brings out emotions to make you feel alive. A winter visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains is the perfect time for cultural exploration.
- The museums in the Blue Ridge Mountain region provide a fun, enlightening way to stay out of the cold. Many museums are open year-round and offer unparalleled collections of art on view. The Folk Art Center, located right on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is one of Asheville’s most popular attractions with juried artisans from the Blue Ridge and nine southern states represented through exhibits and daily craft demonstrations. Open daily, year-round.
- Tucked into the Blue Ridge foothills is the Hamilton Williams Gallery and Studio, a contemporary craft gallery and pottery studio with a curated collection of modern craft provided by local and regional artists. The restored 100 year-old building provides a welcoming and cozy space to linger and explore.
- The Toe River Arts Council Spruce Pine Gallery connects the arts and the community in a large gallery offering changing exhibitions and a well-stocked gift shop. Relax with a cup of hot coffee steaming in a handmade mug beside the wood stove.
Get Cozy And Warm With A Good Drink
During the winter, the pace slows down and everything becomes more peaceful. And it’s a wonderful time to warm up with a glass of wine, a home-brew or a crafty cocktail in the NC Blue Ridge.
- Visit Biltmore Winery and enjoy a complimentary tasting of their handcrafted wines. Wine hosts take you on a journey through the wine making process and you can taste the deliciousness of reds, whites and sparkling wines by the glass.
- The Bold Rock Mills River Cidery & Tap Room is a short drive from Asheville and you can learn about the process behind the cider crafted from locally sourced Henderson County apples. They have complimentary daily tours and hard cider tastings. An apple cider a day keeps the doctor away!
- Spend some time strolling through the Grove Arcade, one of Asheville’s architectural jewels. Savor great champagne at the Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar. You won’t be a loss for places to eat either. Some of the city’s most eclectic dining options are all under one roof.
Top Cultural Winter Experiences in the Blue Ridge
A winter experience in the Blue Ridge is imbued with cultural experiences meant to energize and delight your wanderlust senses while fulfilling your winter itinerary.
- The Blue Mountains are home to a rich tradition of music that has shaped American music for generations. Follow the Blue Ridge Music Trails to find music year-round at festivals and jams. The music here is part of the fabric of community life.
The NC Blue Ridge boasts a number of theaters ranging from local productions on black box stages to the official playhouse in the state. Cozy up with a bag of hot, buttered popcorn at independent cinemas or catch a local production in a thriving creative community.
- The Fine Arts Theatre is home to Asheville’s art and independent films for over 20 years. The theatre is open daily.
- The Tryon Fine Arts Center brings Grammy-award winning music, art, education and world-class art exhibits, along with classes, film series, great shows and fabulous music.
While making the most of your wintertime Blue Ridge Mountain experience, a cozy accommodation is the ideal way to warm up in your wintry surroundings from the comfort of your warm armchair.
- Echo Mountain Inn Bed & Breakfast is a charming country inn not far from Asheville in beautiful Hendersonville. You can cozy up around the large fireplace and play some board games for some old-fashioned fun. Or spend some time putting together a challenging jigsaw puzzle. Enjoy a hearty and healthy breakfast each morning and get ready for your day out and about.
- Spend some time in Black Mountain at the Red Rocker Inn, featuring newly renovated elegant guest rooms, many with fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and antique claw-foot tubs. Grab your cup of hot chocolate and stargaze around the fire pit. And there are delicious, home baked cookies for you every afternoon!
From one end of Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge to the other, there is no reason that the change in seasons should stop you from entering your vacation mode. So grab your cozy sweater and get ready to plan your ultimate winter getaway.