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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Homeplace Beer Co. is a popular spot for locals and visitors in downtown.
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.