Little Switzerland NC is a summer colony high in the Blue Ridge Mountains, along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Located about an hour north of Asheville, it offers a great stop along the Parkway at Milepost 334 for food at the Switzerland Cafe and a little shopping at the General Store or the Book Exchange. Little Switzerland was named because of its sweeping panoramas of deep valleys and distant ranges resembling those of the foothills of the Swiss Alps. Ride along Highway 226A to see some of these vistas.
The elevations here, ranging from 3,200 feet in the village to 4,000 feet at the top of Grassy Mountain, offer incredible views of Mt. Mitchell to the west, Table Rock, Hawsksbill and Grandfather Mountain to the east, and the valleys of the South Toe, Turkey Cove and the bustling Catawba Valley.
Things to Do
(2 miles roundtrip, easy) Located adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Little Switzerland (near Milepost 334), a gentle hiking trail takes you to a beautiful collection of cascades. (There is also a Grassy Creek Falls in DuPont State Forest near Bridal Veil Falls.)
(3 miles roundtrip, moderate) This gorgeous 70-foot waterfall along the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 339), near Linville Falls, is accessed by a loop woodland hiking trail.
This 101-year-old apple orchard turned Appalachian Cultural Center celebrates the people, music, art, and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. Shop for local mountain art, jams, jellies, sauces, sweets, gifts, and more. Listen to music and pick up your apples!
A fascinating group of gem, mining, and historical attractions nestled deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and within an hour's drive of Asheville. Located in a spectacular mountain setting, Emerald Village is home to seven real mines and has many exhibits that are free to enjoy. Mine for gems!
Christmas Tree Farms: Find the perfect holiday tree at one of the many area Christmas tree farms, such as Little Switzerland Fraser Firs. It's an experience the whole family will enjoy. There's a cozy fire while roasting marshmallows and enjoying hot cider or cocoa. Then you head to the field to select your tree, finishing up by visiting Huck the farm dog while the tree is bailed. Open mid November through mid December.
Penland School of Crafts: This national center for craft education offers one-, two-, and eight-week workshops in books & paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking, textiles and wood. The school also sponsors artists' residencies, educational outreach programs and a craft gallery, open to the public. See our Penland School Guide.
Diamondback: Find more than 190 steep, climbing curves in just 12 miles for your next motorcycle ride or drive in your sportscar! Sweeping curves, amazing scenery and cool mountain breezes make the Diamondback, NC 226A, one of WNC's last great mountain roadways, going right through Little Switzerland. The Diamondback is loaded with switchbacks looping almost 360-degrees. Runs of s-curves climb and twist sharply as they snake through lush green Pisgah National Forest in route to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Find more motorcycle drives.
Spruce Pine: Located about six miles away, find some great shops and restaurants in a quaint downtown. See our Spruce Pine Guide.
History of Little Switzerland
In 1909 Charlotte Attorney, Herriot Clarkson rode his mule to the top of Grassy Mountain, above Little Switzerland, with its panoramic view of the Blue Ridge, stopped in amazement and simply stated, “This is it.” Clarkson returned to Charlotte and invited a small group of business associates to join him in creating an exclusive mountain community known today as Little Switzerland. Clarkson was escorted by Marion real estate developers Reid Queen and Floyd Gardner. The town was formally organized in 1910. Reid Queen later built the Little Switzerland General Store and post office in 1927.