10 Reasons You Need to Visit Western North Carolina More Than Once
There are two kinds of people in the world. People that have been to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina, and people who have not.
If you’re one of those lucky ones that has lived or visited here, there is more than enough to experience and explore to keep you coming back. If you’ve never been, here are 10 reasons you should add Western North Carolina to your bucket list or travel itinerary!
Whether you’re taking a solo, self-care trip or celebrating a birthday or bachelorette party, taking a summer vacation with the family or enjoying a getaway with your partner, the same place can offer a vastly different experience each time depending on the time of year and your planned activities.
Or just keep reading to nerd out about nature and learn some fun facts like:
How old is this area?
What makes the blue ridge mountains blue?
How and why do waterfalls form?
Which big box office movies were filmed here?
What has drawn people here for natural healing over hundreds of years?
Namaste & Have A Great Day!
1. Some of the Oldest Mountains in the World
These mountains are thought to have formed over 1 billion years ago. The geological area of the “Blue Ridge” includes the Great Smoky Mountains, the Great Balsams, the Roans, the Black Mountains and other mountain ranges. This ancient area has changed significantly over time due to three major uplifts and millions of years of wind, water and erosion.
2. That Beautiful Blue Tint
So what makes the Blue Ridge Mountains blue? Trees covering the mountains release a chemical called isoprene that reacts with the air and gives our mountains that hazey, blue appearance when viewed from a distance. But wait, the color is not actually blue… Our eyes just perceive them that way. Read more on Blue Ridge Outdoors for the physics, chemistry and biology as to exactly why.
3. We Have Hundreds of Waterfalls
For this reason, Transylvania County in Western North Carolina has branded itself Land of Waterfalls. Waterfalls and cascades form when rivers flow over both hard and soft rock formations. The softer rock is undercut and erodes “quickly” (actually over thousands or millions of years) allowing the water to fall more and more vertically over the remaining harder rock.
4. The Blue Ridge Parkway
This 755-kilometer (469-mile) long scenic highway took decades to build and meanders from Virginia to North Carolina. It has many tunnels, overlooks, trails and picnic areas where you can enjoy a leisurely drive, motorcycle or bike ride.
5. Spring/Summer Blossoms
You’ll see beautiful flora throughout the seasons, but May and June are particularly good times to visit this area to see native wildflowers and trees in bloom including some of my favorites: Trillium, Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel.
6. Fantastic Fall Foliage
Autumn has long been my favorite time of year as the leaves lose their green chlorophyll to reveal their true, warm-colored hues. Keep an eye out for yellow Witch Hazel and Birch leaves, orange or red Maple leaves and Sassafras which can be yellow, red or orange.
7. Hundreds of Hiking Trails
Whether you want a short day hike or camp & trek the backcountry for a few days, WNC has you covered. Longer hikes include the Mountains to Sea Trail and part of the famous Appalachian Trail and then Pisgah National Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Nantahala National Forest can lead you through all lengths and kinds of terrain from easy strolls to strenuous scrambles.
8. Panoramic Mountain Views
You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world and enjoy stunning sunrises and sunsets from these vantage points. Our mountain yoga hikes include two of my favorite mountain balds, Max Patch and Black Balsam Knob.
9. Our Mountains are in the Movies
Even if you haven’t been here yet, you’ve likely seen much of our local scenery in movies including Dirty Dancing (Lake Lure), Last of the Mohicans (Chimney Rock Park), and The Hunger Games (Dupont State Forest). Other titles that filmed at least a few scenes around here include Forrest Gump, Richie Rich, The Fugitive and The Green Mile.
10. A Haven for Healing
People have been visiting this area for hundreds of years whether for the natural Hot Springs or the fresh mountain air thought to improve tuberculosis or spirit quests using the apparent energy vortex at Mount Pisgah. We continue to encourage wellness tourism with our one-of-a-kind yoga hikes that combine guided hiking, meditation, yoga and mindfulness with the waterfalls and mountains of Western North Carolina.
More posts to help you plan your Western North Carolina Adventures: