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The confluence of the Yadkin River and Big Elkin Creek in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains has drawn people to the site of what is today’s city of Elkin since the coming of the Paleo-Indians 10,000 years ago. Records show that the Sioux Indians settled along the Yadkin River as early as 500 B.C.

Early Settlement Brings Cotton Mills

Around 1840, Richard Gwyn left Jonesville to settle on the north side of the Yadkin River, recognizing the value of the forested hills and water power of the Big Elkin Creek. Within a decade, he and several family members established Elkin Manufacturing Company, a cotton mill which continued to operate during the Civil War, producing fabric for Confederate uniforms. Most early Southern textile mills were damaged or destroyed during the war, but Elkin’s mill survived intact and remained fully operational.

Further up Big Elkin Creek, Alexander Chatham and Thomas Lenoir Gwyn opened a woolen mill in 1877 that grew and became Elkin’s largest industry. The Northwestern North Carolina Railroad arrived in 1890, and Elkin was poised to take the opportunities the railroad brought for commercial and industrial expansion. Elkin’s history includes the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, the Second Industrial Revolution, and the Elkin and Alleghany Railroad.

Elkin Today

Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Elkin has embraced its history and added a touch of sophistication. Visitors can hike the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, shop in one-of-a-kind specialty stores, experience fine dining, paddle the Yadkin River, and enjoy an exhibit at the Foothills Arts Council.

Elkin is located within twenty minutes of twenty wine tasting rooms, all within North Carolina’s first federally recognized American Viticulture Area – the Yadkin Valley AVA, including the Brushy Mountain Winery in Historic Downtown Elkin.

The Arts, Galleries and a Museum

The Foothills Arts Council is home for the visual and performing arts in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Yadkin Valley Craft Guild represents fine and heritage crafts and craft education in the Greater Yadkin Valley Region.

The John Furches Gallery is located at 123 West Main Street in Historic Downtown Elkin.

The Richard Gwyn Museum – Elkin’s founder, Richard Gwyn, built Gwyn School-Elkin Chapel around 1850. The building is the oldest in Surry County to have been used as either a church or school. The Jonathan Hunt Chapter of the D.A.R. converted it to a local history museum and items on display include farm tools, domestic artifacts, textiles, a weaving loom, photographs, and documents.

Parks, Trails and Outdoor Activities

Elkin Municipal Park is a 25-acre Park with three ball fields, eight lighted tennis courts, a mile long scenic walking track, a playground, two picnic shelters and a band shell, as well as an outdoor swimming pool that is open to the public during the summer months.

Crater Park has a ball field, multipurpose field and Yakin River Access with a public boat ramp.

Chatham Park has a picnic shelter, along with baseball, softball and soccer fields.

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail – Elkin is the eastern trailhead for the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, one of only 15 such trails in the nation. This trail commemorates the journey of the “Overmountain Men” who traveled from Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina, and fought and defeated the British at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The Wilkes/Surry Patriot Militia mustered in present day Municipal Park on September 7, 1780. The Patriots, along with their Tory prisoners, traveled back through Elkin after the victory at Kings Mountain. Elkin is the only location the Patriots gathered and came back through after the victorious battle.

Yadkin River Trail – Paddling, fishing and bird watching can all be enjoyed on this section of the 165 mile river trail, rich in natural beauty and American history. Access the river at the boat ramp at Crater Park.

Leaf-to-Vine Scenic Byway – 65 miles of farmland, foothills and mountains with interpretive sites tell the story of how the local communities have been impacted by agriculture, how tobacco farms have become wineries, and the region’s connection to NASCAR. This North Carolina Scenic Byway begins and ends at the intersection of North Bridge Street and Market Street in Historic Downtown Elkin.

Friendship Speedway is a 4/10 mile dirt track that runs on Saturdays from mid-March through Halloween.

Festivals & Events

The Yadkin Valley Wine Festival, held annually in May, showcases the region’s growing collection of prize-winning vineyards and wineries.

The Pumpkin Festival, held in Historic Downtown Elkin on the third Saturday of October, highlights local crafts, arts, music and dance, and of course, who’s grown the largest pumpkin!

Several local organizations host events throughout the year, including a Fourth of July Children’s Parade and a Christmas Parade. For more information on events sponsored by Downtown Elkin, Inc.

Farmers Tailgate Market

The Elkin Farmers Market is held every Saturday in the Elkin Town Hall parking lot located at 226 North Bridge Street from mid-April through mid-October. Hours are 9:00 a.m. – noon.


Elkin is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains – just one mile from Interstate 77, 9 miles from US 421 and 18 miles from Interstate 40. It is 25 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, 30 minutes from Virginia and 45 minutes from Winston-Salem.

For more information

Town of Elkin
226 N. Bridge Street
Elkin, North Carolina 28621

Additional information may be found at:

Hot Springs

People have been visiting Hot Springs, a tiny village in the Blue Ridge Mountains, as a spa destination for more than 200 years. The Native Americans were the first to discover and use the warm mineral waters, followed by early traders and settlers in the latter years of the 18th century.

The Buncombe Turnpike brought more people through what was then known as Warm Springs, drovers herding thousands of cattle, hogs, horses, even turkeys, to Southern markets.  What a treat it must have been to stop in Hot Springs to “take the waters” on that long, dusty hike.

Warm Springs Becomes Hot Springs

Asheville entrepreneur James Patton bought the springs in 1831 and built the grand 350-room Warm Springs Hotel in 1837. The next owner, James Rumbough, a stage coach operator, purchased the springs in 1862 and enlarged the hotel upon the arrival of the railroad in 1882. Unfortunately, it burned two years later, and the springs and most of the town were sold to a northern syndicate, the “Southern” Improvement Company.

A few years later, a spring with even higher temperatures was discovered, and the company changed the town’s name to Hot Springs. They built the Mountain Park Hotel in 1886, one of the most elegant resorts in the entire country at the time, and established the first organized golf club in the Southeastern US.

World War I Internment Camp

During World War I, with a decline in tourism, the Mountain Park Hotel was leased to the federal government and served as an internment camp for hundreds of German merchant sailors captured in U.S. harbors when war was declared. The hotel never regained its former glory, and it burned in 1920. Hot Springs as well declined in popularity, being nearly forgotten as a tourist destination.

Today, it is again attracting visitors not only to the springs and lovely secluded spa tubs, but also to the Appalachian Trail, which runs right down Main Street, and to nearby river activities and camping.

Festivals & Events

The Bluff Mountain Festival, held every June, is free to the public and features some of the region’s best Traditional Old-Time and Bluegrass Music, ballad singing and clogging followed by an evening Square Dance until dark. Proceeds benefit the Madison County Arts Council.

The annual Hot Doggett 100 Bicycle Rides 100 mile course covers some of the most scenic and lightly traveled roads anywhere in Western North Carolina. Those seeking a challenge will find it in the 9,600 feet of ascension on that course.


Hot Springs can be reached from both North Carolina and Tennessee via US 25 and US 70.

For more information

Welcome to Hot Springs


Nestled in the rolling foothills of northwestern North Carolina, the quaint town of Wilkesboro has been the county seat of Wilkes County since 1778.

The town was officially laid out by General William Lenoir in 1801 and incorporated in 1847. Notable distinguished early settlers and leaders to visit include Daniel Boone, Christopher Gist, Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, General William Lenoir and Thomas Fields.

Today, antique and retail shops plus an array of American and ethnic restaurants please every appetite of visitors to Wilkesboro. Nearby, the vineyards of the Yadkin Valley produce award-winning wines and offer tastings, delicious dining, and special events.

Museums & Galleries

The arts and history go hand-in-hand in Wilkesboro. Two frescoes by world-renowned artist Benjamin Long IV can be viewed in the commons area in St. Paul’s Epicopal Church, (ca. 1849.) The Cultural Arts Council of Wilkes exhibits the work of local and regional artists in Town Hall Wilkesboro. Nearby, Royall’s gallery and frame shop exhibits the work of local artist and owner, Kelly Royall, and other area artists.

The Wilkes Heritage Museum Historic Properties allow visitors to step back in time as they tour the Wilkes Heritage Museum, (old Wilkes County Courthouse, ca. 1902), Old Wilkes Jail, (ca. 1859) and the Captain Robert Cleveland Log Home, (ca. 1779). The Wilkesboro Historic Walking Tour takes visitors on a leisurely walk to view early architecture in the town.

Parks &Outdoor Activities

The Yadkin River Greenway, located in the heart of the downtown area, is an excellent place for strolling or riding bicycles. Cub Creek Park offers an abundance of family activities, including fun for the family pet in the adjacent Hidden Oaks Dog Park. A treasure trove of fresh vegetables can be found at the nearby Community Garden.

Just west of Wilkesboro is the W. Kerr Scott Dam & Reservoir, which is enjoyed by boaters, fishermen, and outdoor lovers in general. A recent addition is the Environmental Education Center which offers programs for children and teachers, educating through hands-on activities and exhibits about the environment of the region.

Festivals & Events

Themed special events take place on the third Friday each month from 4 – 9 pm featuring live music, food and childrens’ activities. Local businesses, produce and craft vendors offer a wide variety of items for sale, and non-profit organizations share their mission stories with participants.

Merlefest, a diverse roots music festival, is dedicated to the memory of musician Merle Watson, son of Americana music’s icon, Doc Watson. Known worldwide, this annual event takes place the last weekend in April on the campus of Wilkes Community College.

Farmers Tailgate Markets

The Wilkesboro Open Air Market is held May through October beneath the canopy of Pin Oaks on Main Street in the Town Parking Lot every Friday from 4 – 8 pm.


Wilkesboro is located off US 421.

For more information

Wilkes County Tourism Development Authority

Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock is a quintessential mountain village with beautiful churches, a downtown with great shops and restaurants, and a quaint Main Street. Varied accommodations, restaurants, galleries and shopping round out its appeal.  But its history reaches back to the days before immigrant settlement.

Early History

Before 1752, when the Scotch-Irish began to settle the area, the windy cliffs surrounding Blowing Rock were home to the Cherokee and Catawba tribes. The Native legend of the Blowing Rock still survives today, giving supernatural mystery to the local winds and bearing witness to the influence of those first inhabitants.

Immigrant Settlement

The Greenes were the first immigrant family to settle in Blowing Rock. They established the site that became the Green Park Hotel property. During the Civil War, many husbands sent their wives and children to the safest place they knew–the mountains–while they fought in the war. After the war many men joined the families sheltered in Blowing Rock and made their permanent homes in the village.

A Growing Village

On March 11, 1889, Blowing Rock was chartered and incorporated with a population of 300. As the village grew, word of Blowing Rock’s beauty and amenities spread, visitors became more common, and the economy became tourist-oriented. Hotels, inns and boarding houses prospered. Several of the grand hotels and homes still remain as anchors in the town’s landscape.

Blowing Rock Today

The Martin House, once a boarding house, is now home to a variety of shops on Main Street. Chetola Resort, no longer a private estate, is one of the most popular lodging establishments in the area. The Green Park Inn has been recently restored and now welcomes folks once more at the southern edge of town. The hotel is now part of the Green Park Historical District in Blowing Rock, encompassing other historic homes and properties. The Moses Cone Manor still stands overlooking the town.

A major preservation effort has been in place for the past decade to protect the proud historic heritage of the village and maintain the community character that so enhances this little town.

Hear the Story

Below, Listen to the legend of the Blowing Rock as recorded on one of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s  Living Traditions Moments radio vignettes.

Parks & Museums

Adjacent to Blowing Rock is the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, offering 26 miles of carriage trails for hiking and horseback riding. Trout Lake and Bass Lake provide fishing opportunities.

The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum houses exhibits, educational space and more on the corner of Main and Chestnut streets.

Local Attractions

  • The Blowing Rock is a natural formation overlooking the Pisgah Forest. A short scenic walk includes views of Grandfather Mountain, Table Rock, and Hawksbill.
  • The Hayes Performing Arts Center is back for a new season of live music and captivating productions. The state-of-the-art facility is located in Blowing Rock on Valley Blvd.
  • A Wild-West family theme park, Tweetsie Railroad features a three-mile steam-powered train ride through the North Carolina mountains.  The #12 “Tweetsie” is the last surviving narrow-gauge steam locomotive of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC) nicknamed “Tweetsie”, which ran train service from Johnson City TN to Boone NC from 1919 to 1940. The engine is listed on the National Register.
  • The Parkway Craft Center features the finest quality Appalachian Mountain hand-made crafts by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, as well as demonstrations. Located inside the Moses Cone Manor at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Festivals & Events

Blowing Rock is home to many events throughout the year, including summer concert series and stage productions. Annual family festivals like the Fourth of July Festival and Christmas in the Park offer great fun for everyone. Some of the community’s longest-running and most well-known annual events include:

  • Art in the Park, a series of outdoor juried art shows, showcases the arts & crafts of 90 regional artisans. One show each month on a selected Saturday, May-Oct.
  • The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the oldest continuous outdoor horse show in America. Three division shows each summer in June, July & August.
  • Blowing Rock Winterfest presents a variety of indoor and outdoor events to celebrate winter—plus the Polar Plunge! Always held near the end of January.
  • An evening under the stars with pop and orchestral music, Symphony by the Lake at Chetola is a centerpiece of the summer season.

Farmers Tailgate Markets

The Blowing Rock Farmers Market is held each Thursday afternoon on Wallingford Street from mid-May to mid-October, with special Holiday Markets near Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours are 4-6pm in May, June, September and October, and 4-7pm in July and August.


Blowing Rock is located along the Eastern Continental Divide at the southern border of Watauga County. At the intersection of Hwy 321 and Hwy 221 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

For more information

Blowing Rock Visitor Center
1-877-750-4636 or 828-295-4636


Valle Crucis

The tiny village of Valle Crucis is perched in a valley high in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains near Boone. Archaeological explorations of the nearby Watauga River have revealed evidence of 10,000 years of human habitation.

Its modern history really began with a visit to the valley by a New York botanist in 1840. So enchanted was he by the luxurious natural beauty of the area that he stopped in Raleigh on his way home and met with Episcopal Archbishop Levi Silliman Ives to share his impressions.

Bishop Ives had been searching for a location to establish a mountain mission, and in July 1842, he made his first trip to the region. Upon seeing three creeks intersecting to form a cross, he named the area Valle Crucis, Latin for Vale of the Cross. The history of the town of Valle Crucis was heavily influenced for the next century and a half by the evolution of Ives’s Episcopalian mission.

Mast Farm & General Store

Alongside the Episcopalian ministry grew a prospering farming community, anchored by the Mast Farm, est. 1812, which is today part of the Mast Farm Inn complex. The Mast Farm became a popular tourist inn by 1915.

In 1883, Henry Taylor opened a general store in Valle Crucis and also added rooms to his family home to accommodate travelers. In 1897, Taylor sold half interest in the store to an employee, W.W. Mast. The store was known at the Taylor and Mast General Store until 1913, when Mast purchased the entire business, and it became Mast General Store.

For the next 60 years, the Mast family not only carried merchandise needed by residents and visitors in Valle Crucis, but also provided a place of community, with neighbors gathering around the pot-bellied stove. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. After its sale that same year, it went through several owners until it was purchased in 1979. The present owners have built upon traditions set by the Mast family. Today, there are 9 Mast General Stores throughout the Southern Appalachian region.

National Register Historic Rural Community

The entire Valle Crucis community is on the National Register of Historic Places as an historic rural community since 2004, and when the historic district was established in the 1990s, it was the only one in a rural area recognized by the state of North Carolina. Several more buildings in the community are on this National Register of Historic Places including the Mast Farm Inn and the Valle Crucis Conference Center.

Other buildings date back to the late 1790s (the Baird House Bed and Breakfast) and the early 1900s including the Taylor House Inn and Alta Vista Gallery. What is now the Mast Store Annex was once a competing general store known as the Watauga Supply Company and later the Valle Crucis Company. Those in the local area simply referred to it as the Farthing Store because of its long-time manager and later owner Aubyn Farthing. It was constructed in 1909.

Through the designation of the historic district, Valle Crucis maintains its rural agrarian character and welcomes visitors from near and far.

Festivals & Events

Valle Crucis Community Park Auction – the Saturday before Labor Day Saturday – The Valle Crucis Community Park is a true community park in the biggest sense of the word. Each year, the volunteers put together an auction featuring gift certificates, antiques, locally-baked cakes, event tickets, fun and more to raise funds to support the park that parallels the Watauga River.

Valle Country Fair – Always the third Saturday in October – This little slice of Americana features over 125 craft vendors, food booths, and the world famous apple butter gang. Local entertainment ranging from storytellers and cloggers to poetry readings and music take the stage from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the field right across from the Valle Crucis Conference Center. Sponsored by the Holy Cross Episcopal Church, all funds raised from this down home event go back into the local community through grants given to social services. 828-963-4609.

Valle Crucis Punkin Festival – Always the fourth Saturday in October – This kid-friendly festival is big on fun. Featuring food, crafts, music, old-fashioned games, and punkin carving, the Punkin Festival is a fundraiser for the Western Youth Network and the Valle Crucis Elementary School. Get your face painted or parents and kids can both participate in no muss, no fuss punkin carving. Why punkin? Because it’s so much more fun than pumpkin!

Farmers Tailgate Market

Located behind the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, the market offers flowers, canned goods, vegetables, baked goods, and crafts available every Friday from 2-6 pm from June until September.

For more information

Sheri Moretz, Mast General Store

Tom Hinson, Baird House
(800) 297-1342

Linn Cove Viaduct

Construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway began in 1935, but the 469-mile scenic drive was not completed until 1982, with the installation of the 7.7-mile stretch, known as “missing link” – the Linn Cove Viaduct.

The rest of the Parkway was completed by 1966, but it took another two decades, much controversy, differing opinions of how to route the highway around Grandfather Mountain, and a very creative engineering team to solve the problem.  The challenge lay in building a roadway that wouldn’t damage one of the world’s oldest mountains, a slope strewn with boulders that would have been prone to rockslides had traditional methods been employed.

A Bridge Over Land

The firm of Figg & Miller Engineers, Inc. developed the design of a viaduct, which is actually a bridge over land. To protect the land beneath the structure, the viaduct was built from the top down using pre-cast segments supported by piers. The design included almost every kind of alignment geometry ever used in highway construction, and no two of the 153 segments are alike.

The result is the Linn Cove Viaduct, the most complicated bridge ever built, a dramatic sweeping “S” curve that winds around Grandfather Mountain at Linn Cove.

Visitors can view this engineering marvel at the Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center, which includes an exhibit of the construction of the viaduct. A trail leads from the center to a site where visitors can get an up-close view of the bridge from beneath.

Hours of Operation

The Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center is open daily May-Oct., 9 a.m.-5 p.m


Located at Milepost 304.4 on the south side of the viaduct.

Blue Ridge Parkway headquarters: (828) 271-4779

Blue Ridge Parkway information line: (828) 298-0398

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center

The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville, North Carolina features an award-winning film and exhibits which highlight the natural and cultural heritage, economic traditions, and recreational opportunities found in Western North Carolina and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The visitor center houses a 70-seat theater, information and orientation services, and a retail shop offering books, apparel, CDs, DVDs, collectibles, souvenirs, and children’s items. It is also the site of numerous special events. Call 828-298-5330, ext. 303, for information on upcoming events here.

See the Movie

The Blue Ridge Parkway—America’s Favorite Journey, a 24-minute film shown in high definition surround sound, uses breathtaking aerial photography and the story of a father-daughter motorcycle trip to introduce visitors to the natural and cultural heritage of the mountains and the history of the construction of the Parkway. It features craft artisans and traditional musicians from the region.

Tour the Green Building

The building itself reflects the cutting edge of energy-saving technology. The LEED-certified structure incorporates active/passive heating and cooling, radiant floor heating, a “green” roof, and other energy efficient features.

Exhibits focus on the history and heritage of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Western North Carolina. The visitor center also houses interactive kiosks which provide information on places to visit.

Plan Your Blue Ridge Mountains Vacation

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area staffs a regional visitor information desk and has its offices in the building. The Blue Ridge Parkway also staffs an information desk with rangers on duty to answer travel questions about the Parkway.

Hike on the Parkway and Mountains-to-Sea Trail

A 1.2 mile loop trail starts from the parking lot of the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center and joins the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. This is a moderate 45-minute hike, great for stretching legs after a road trip.

Hours of Operation

Hours of operation are from 9 am to 5 pm daily, year-round.

The visitor center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.


The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center is located at Parkway milepost 384, which is about a mile south of the US 70 intersection (or one mile north of the US 74-A intersection) and about 8 miles east of downtown Asheville. The Folk Art Center is located nearby, two miles to the north along the Parkway.

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center
Parkway Milepost 384
195 Hemphill Knob Road
Asheville, NC 28803
(828) 298-5330

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Thomas Jefferson called the victory of American patriots over British Major Patrick Ferguson’s army at King’s Mountain in October, 1780, the battle that “turned the tide of success” in the Revolutionary War.

Many of the militia men who achieved this stunning victory were known as the “Overmountain Men,” citizen soldiers who came from southwest Virginia,  eastern Tennessee, the piedmont of North and South Carolina, and as far away as Georgia, all joining to form an army that defeated Ferguson and his force at Kings Mountain.

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, established by Congress in 1980, commemorates the campaign that led to the Battle of Kings Mountain.  Each year in the fall members of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association lead a commemorative march with public events to honor the patriot army and their story.

Visitors can retrace the route via a partially completed non-motorized pathway, or a parallel Commemorative Motor Route.  Interpretive signs are installed at the sites listed below. A trail map outlining both pedestrian and motor routes can be obtained at most of the sites or at this link.

For more information, contact:

National Park Service
Blacksburg, SC
(864) 936-3477

Overmountain Victory Trail Association
C/O Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area
Elizabethton, TN 37643
(423) 543-5808

There are many sites along the Trail where visitors can learn more about this historic event:

Museum of North Carolina Minerals

Milepost 331 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Spruce Pine, NC 28777
(828) 765-9483

Fort Defiance
4555 Fort Defiance Drive
Lenoir, NC 28645
(828) 754-7095

Historic Burke/Old Burke County Courthouse
Morganton, NC
(828) 437-4104

Kings Mountain National Military Park
Kings Mountain, SC
(864) 936-7921

Lake James State Park
Nebo, NC
(828) 652-5047

W. Kerr Scott Reservoir
499 Reservoir Road
Wilkesboro, NC 28967-4762
(336) 921-3390

Wilkes Heritage Museum
203 North Bridge Street
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
(336) 921-3390


A Historic Resort  of Careful Design

Linville, located near the Blue Ridge Parkway, has long been a resort community. Visitors can see the careful planning that went into its development by taking a stroll through the Linville Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

In 1883, the new mountain town was laid out foursquare, with streets and parks thoughtfully incorporated into the design. It was named for William and John Linville, who were killed by Cherokees in 1766. Hugh MacRae, son of one of the original partners, prevailed upon his childhood friend, architect Henry Bacon, to design Strathsheil Cottage for his brother, Donald MacRae. Bacon later won acclaim as the designer of the Lincoln Memorial.

The Linville Historic District includes a number of Bacon’s designs, including three other private residences and All Saints Episcopal Church. Bacon’s designs incorporated local materials, primarily the chestnut-bark shingle, which he used as siding. Bacon is also known for using lattice-work of logs in porches and recessed under windows. The Linville golf course was designed by Donald Ross.

The East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (“Tweetsie”) passed through the community from 1916 till 1940, when a major flood washed away the tracks; the old rail route later became NC 105 in 1956.

For more information

Avery Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce

Whitewater Falls

Upper Whitewater Falls, near Cashiers, drops over 411 feet and is the highest falls east of the Rocky Mountains. Lower Whitewater Falls, located just across the border in South Carolina, drops another 400 feet. The rugged terrain around these two waterfalls remains wild and undeveloped.

A lower overlook is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps. Because of the difficult terrain surrounding Whitewater Falls, visitors are urged not venture off the established trails.

Wildflowers and salamanders abound in the cool, moist shade of the steep slopes and rock cliffs. The moist environment also supports a rich array of ferns, mosses, and fungi.

Picnic tables and shelters, flush toilets, and ample parking spaces are available at Whitewater Falls. Hikers seeking a more difficult challenge can continue down the half-mile spur trail that drops 600 feet in elevation to the Whitewater River and onto the 85-mile Foothills Trail which stretches along the Blue Ridge Escarpment.

Hours of Operation

The Whitewater Falls Recreation Area is open year-round from dawn until dusk.

Admission Fees

Fees are charged for day use and for annual passes.

Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.


From Cashiers, NC: Drive south on NC 107 for 9.3 miles. Shortly after crossing the South Carolina state line, turn left at the sign for Whitewater Falls. Continue 2.3 miles to the intersection with SC 130, which becomes NC 281 at the North Carolina state line. Just beyond this point is a sign for the entrance to Whitewater Falls.

From Brevard, NC: Drive west on US 64. At Sapphire, turn left on NC 281 and go south to the Whitewater Falls entrance.

From Asheville, NC: Take I 240-West to I 26-West. Go to the Asheville Airport/Brevard Exit (exit 40) and take a right onto US 64. Drive to Brevard and follow above directions.

For more information, contact:

US Forest Service/National Forests in North Carolina
Nantahala Ranger District
90 Sloan Road
Franklin, NC 28734
(828) 524-6441


Whiteside Mountain

The sparkling white cliffs of Whiteside Mountain, in the Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, North Carolina, have long been a landmark along the eastern continental divide. The 750 feet tall cliffs are the highest shear cliffs in the eastern United States.

Geologists estimate the mountain to be more than four hundred million years old. Traces of ancient hunting camps have been found in the area. According to Cherokee legend, the monster Spearfinger made her home here, and the exposed cliffs were created when a large rock bridge to her dwelling place sheared off.

Hikers can enjoy the moderate two-mile loop trail that leads around Whiteside Mountain to its summit at 4,930 feet. The high ridgetop above the steep south-facing cliffs offers spectacular views of other mountains in the area. An old-growth forest of northern red oaks, with trunks twisted by strong winds and ice storms, is found at the summit.

A special treat during spring and summer may be a glimpse of a peregrine falcon soaring overhead or perched on rocky outcrops. Biologists reintroduced the falcon to Whiteside Mountain in 1985 as part of the endangered species program. During nesting season, the cliff face is closed to rappelling and climbing.

A profusion of wildflowers, including speckled wood-lily and white snakeroot, bloom in the mountainside forests while others such as dwarf dandelion and gray beard-tongue carpet the mountain face.

Hours of Operation

Open year-round.

Admission Fees

A fee is charged for parking and for season passes.


Whiteside Mountain is located south of US 64 between Highlands and Cashiers. From Highlands, take US 64E about 5 miles. Turn right on SR 1680 and follow signs.

For more information, contact:

US Forest Service/National Forest in North Carolina
Nantahala Ranger District
90 Sloan Road
Franklin, NC 28734
(828) 524-6441

Highlands Chamber of Commerce
Highlands, NC 28741

Highlands Visitors Center

Cashiers Chamber of Commerce
Cashiers, NC 28717

Wayah Bald

Wayah Bald, near Franklin, is a popular destination for hikers, especially in the early summer when rhododendron and azalea are in bloom. Its historic fire tower affords great views of the southern Appalachian mountains in three states.

Wayah Bald is named for the red wolves once lived on its slopes. “Wa ya” means wolf in the Cherokee language. Spear points found on the bald indicate that indigenous people used the area as hunting grounds more than eleven thousand years ago.

Balds are high-altitude open areas devoid of trees, occurring as either shrub-dominated areas or tundra-like grasslands at the highest summits with spruce-fir forests. Cherokee legend holds that the Nunnehi, the immortal spirit beings, kept these balds cleared so that eagles could catch rabbits. The origin and continued maintenance of balds are the subject of scientific debate. Some speculate that Wayah Bald could be the result of intermittent fire caused by lightning.

In 1913, the first ranger station in the Nantahala National Forest was completed on Wayah Bald. In the 1930s, the historic Wayah Bald Fire Tower was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Two long-distance trails, the Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail, cross at the tower. A picnic area is located nearby.


From Franklin, travel west on US 64 to old US 64 (Old Murphy Road). Turn right and go 0.2 miles to SR 1310 (Wayah Road). Turn left and continue for 9 miles to Wayah Gap, then turn right on FR 69. Follow the gravel road for 4.5 miles to the parking area.

For more information, contact:

US Forest Service/National Forests in North Carolina
Nantahala Ranger District
90 Sloan Road
Franklin, NC 28734
(828) 524-6441

Franklin Chamber of Commerce
425 Porter Street
Franklin, North Carolina 28734