NC Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development Photo by Ron Ruehl
Activities & Interests
Located south of Waynesville, North Carolina, Mount Hardy rises to 6,110 feet in the Great Balsam Mountain range and offers ambitious hikers an exhilarating climb from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Mount Hardy is located in the Middle Prong Wilderness Area, 7,900 acres in the Pisgah National Forest which were dedicated as a federal wilderness area in 1984. Thus Mount Hardy is preserved as a primitive, natural habitat for native plants and animals. To protect this isolated environment, hiking groups are limited to ten people who should be experienced wilderness hikers prepared to navigate unmarked routes.
Within this federal preserve, the State of North Carolina has designated 800 acres as the Mount Hardy-Fork Ridge Natural Area, recognizing its biological diversity. Spruce-fir forest can be found at Mount Hardy's peak, and high-elevation seeps and bogs support rare plant life including pink azalea. Hikers can snack on wild blueberries in the summertime, provided they get there before the black bears, for which the wilderness serves as a sanctuary. Nine miles of trout streams flow through the wilderness of Mount Hardy.
Hours of Operation
The Mount Hardy parking overlook is located at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 422.8.
Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center
195 Hemphill Knob Road
Asheville, NC 28803
Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center: (828) 298-5330
Visitor Information Recorded Message: (828) 298-0398
Blue Ridge Parkway website
National Forests in North Carolina
Haywood County Tourism Development Authority
1233 North Main Street, Suite 1-40
Waynesville, NC 28786
(828) 452-0152; 800-334-9036
Haywood County Chamber of Commerce
Waynesville, NC 28786
(828) 456-3021; 877-456-3073
- John C. Campbell Folk School (6 miles)
The John C. Campbell Folk School, near Brasstown, is one of the country's most remarkable centers for traditional arts and crafts.
- Cherokee Homestead Exhibit (13 miles)
The Cherokee and their ancestors have called Western North Carolina home for more than 10,000 years.
- Clay County Historical and Arts Museum (13 miles)
The Museum displays items pertinent to the history of the area through changing exhibits.