Burnsville, NC Vacation Guide

Burnsville, NC

Burnsville is located in Yancey County just 35 miles northeast of Asheville, along US Hwy 19-E and the Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway. This small town is surrounded by the highest peaks in eastern America, including Mt. Mitchell, and offers big adventures, iconic charm, endless outdoor experiences, and starry, dark skies. 

A small town of about 1,667 people, Burnsville is nestled in a valley surrounded by the highest peaks in eastern America. Known for its rural-artistic vibe, downtown Burnsville offers a walkable Main Street, independent shops and restaurants, a brewery, colorful street murals, and quaint art galleries. The historic downtown has a public Town Square, a popular gathering space for the community. Adorned with stately trees and lush grass, the land for the public square was donated in 1834 by John “Yellow Jacket” Bailey. The statue of Otway Burns was placed in 1909. 

Burnsville NC

The annual Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair transforms the streets around Burnsville’s Town Square into a festival for craft and art lovers. Established in 1956, Crafts Fair is held on the first Friday and Saturday in August and features more than 200 vendors and performers including craft demonstrations, bluegrass, and acoustic music, food vendors, and a one-of-a-kind selection of handmade arts and crafts from artisans across the country. 

Burnsville is the Home of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River (6,684 feet). Mt. Mitchell is part of the Black Mountain Range which includes six peaks among the ten highest in the eastern United States. Mt. Mitchell State Park has an observation deck, museum, camping, and hiking trails. Mt. Mitchell's summit offers unmatched, ever-expansive views. 

Mount Mitchell Burnsville

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy fresh air, clean rivers, and cool waterfalls. With nearly 100 miles of hiking trails in Yancey County, and one of the country's first state parks, there's no better place to explore. Located at the Mayland Earth-to-Sky Park, the Bare Dark Sky Observatory allows the community to view the moon, planets, and stars while experiencing the wonders of the universe. The observatory is recognized by CNN as one of the 23 best places in the world to stargaze.

Bare Dark Sky Observatory Hours & Fees
Adult Tickets: $20 from June 1-October 31, $15 from November 1-May 31.
Child Tickets: $5 (12 and under)

Dark Sky Observatory Burnsville

Self-guided Quilt Block Trails are a great activity for exploring the scenic byways and country roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Burnsville’s nine trails showcase approximately 150 blocks, one of the largest concentrations anywhere in the United States. These self-guided driving trails take folks into the countryside to view colorful quilt blocks adorning barns, buildings, and churches. In downtown Burnsville, visit the Quilt Block Sundial, the largest vertical sundial in North Carolina and the only quilt block sundial in the world.

Burnsville NC Sundial

Across this relatively small region are hundreds of artists and crafters making unique, original objects in clay, glass, wood, metal, and fiber as well as other mediums. The Toe River Arts Gallery located in downtown Burnsville showcases local artists with changing exhibits and a gallery shop. Toe River Arts sponsor the Toe River Studio Tour, a self-guided tour of studios and galleries in the Toe River Valley region. Visit Explore Burnsville for more arts and culture.

Toe River Arts Gallery Burnsville

Every Saturday during the season, dedicated farmers and artisans deliver the finest in local produce and farm-related crafts at the Yancey County Farmers Market adjacent to the Town Square. 

With fast and reliable internet, remote worker solutions, free wi-fi locations, a pioneering spirit, and a welcoming attitude, Burnsville is the ideal place to visit, work, or live. 

The famous art school Penland School of Crafts is just 13 miles east. The Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville is a small professional theatre with shows from April through December.

Yancey County (where Burnsville is located) is full of old and new Agri-Tourism experiences. Visit local farmers' markets and farms to purchase fresh produce of the season & delicious homemade treats. And in late November and December, cut your own mountain-grown Christmas tree.

The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway is 19 miles away, via NC Highway 80 south. Go five miles north to Crabtree Falls and 11 miles south to the entrance of Mt. Mitchell State Park. While the address for Mt. Mitchell is Burnsville, it's a 35-mile drive since you need to go all the way around the mountain for the entrance from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The great village of Spruce Pine is just 14 miles east on US 19.

Burnsville is about 35 miles northeast of Asheville. It's an easy drive (45 minutes) up I-26 West toward Tennessee. Take exit 9 onto Highway 19 East and go about 16 miles. See more of our 40 Coolest NC Mountain Small Towns.

Burnsville B&Bs & Things To Do

Places to stay in Burnsville North Carolina
Burnsville Vacation Rentals
Find places to stay around Burnsville including top cabins, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, and more!
Terrell House B&B
Get away to the heart of the mountains and enjoy a gracious stay in an historic home in the Toe River Valley. Big art scene and many great outdoor adventures in the shadow of Mt. Mitchell. Walk to the charming town square for shopping, dining or relaxing. 6 rooms, $110-$130, including a hearty full breakfast. 40 minutes to Asheville,... read more
Toe River Arts Burnsville
Toe River Arts Gallery, Burnsville
The TRAC (Toe River Arts Council) Gallery in downtown Burnsville showcases local artists with changing exhibits and a great gallery shop. See work from over 150 artists and craftspeople in a variety of media: clay, glass, jewelry, painting, photography, fiber, wood, sculpture, mixed media, and more. 102 West Main Street, Burnsville
Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway
Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway
Starting at the top of Mt. Mitchell, drive 52 miles among the peaks and valleys of Yancey and Madison counties, through the Toe River Valley and Burnsville. This area is a mecca for artists with many galleries and artist studios. Along the drive, pass 46 Western NC Quilt Trails blocks.
Mt. Mitchell Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig
Mt. Mitchell Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig
(Up to 9 miles round-trip, moderate) Our favorite quick hike at Mount Mitchell is the Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig, a two-mile round-trip hike. Continue on the Deep Gap Trail for another 3.5 miles. For a more challenging hike, take the 5.5-mile Mt. Mitchell Trail from the Black Mountain Campground.
The Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville
The Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville
See musicals and plays from late spring through fall at the longest continually-operating seasonal theater in North Carolina. Ticket prices for adults range from only $18-$22 per show.
NC Fishing Guides
Southern Appalachian Anglers
Take a full-service, guided fly fishing or bass fishing trip near Asheville. You can enjoy the Appalachian Mountains by boating and/or wading in North Carolina's stream-fed lakes and rivers. Professional fishing guides ensure exciting fishing on the best pristine rivers in WNC.
Roan Mountain Hike
Roan Mountain Appalachian Trail
(1 to 7 miles, moderate hike) Famous for its spectacular natural gardens of Catawba rhododendrons, Roan Mountain shelters a rich diversity of life, from spruce-fir forests to vast grassy balds. It is not one mountain, but a high ridge about five miles long, the highest point being 6,286 ft. Hike the ridge on the Appalachian Trail for sweeping views all along the way.
Crabtree Falls
Crabtree Falls
(3 miles round-trip, moderate) This gorgeous 70-ft. waterfall along the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 339), near Linville Falls, is accessed by a very scenic, loop woodland hiking trail.
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Mt Mitchell Crafts Fair
Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair
Friday, August 6, 2021 to Saturday, August 7, 2021
The streets around Burnsville’s town square are filled with 200 juried crafters displaying nearly every kind of handmade craft imaginable. Located 35 miles northeast of Asheville.
Luthier
Mountain Acoustics Luthier Invitational
Friday, May 22, 2020 to Sunday, May 24, 2020
This new festival in Burnsville celebrates hand-built stringed instruments with an emphasis on artists who craft them and musicians who play them. Luthiers showcase creations and lead workshops on songwriting, guitar and ukulele playing. Concerts and other events.
The Mount Mitchell Byway is a very scenic 52-mile mountain drive, packed with vistas among the peaks and valleys of Yancey and Madison counties. This official North Carolina Scenic Byway begins on... read more
Bakersville is a charming tiny town of about 465 people in Mitchell County, near Spruce Pine, Roan Mountain and the famous Penland School of Craft. The town was formed in the mid 1800s. However,... read more
Roan Mountain is famous for its spectacular natural gardens of Catawba rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense). The peak bloom time for the sea of purple-magenta is usually mid June, plus or minus a... read more
 The 500,000+ acres of the Pisgah National Forest surrounding Asheville feature some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery, and the best recreational opportunities in eastern North... read more
The fall foliage show in the mountains and foothills surrounding Asheville in western North Carolina brings a kaleidoscope of leaf colors for many weeks. Our Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains... read more