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Beautiful Jackson County is west of Asheville and includes the towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Lake Glenville (pic above) and Sapphire. In addition to great small towns to visit, explore the unspoiled Nantahala National Forest with hiking, fishing, rafting and waterfall hunting in the North Carolina mountains.

It is home to the final stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway with more than 40 miles of uncrowded scenic beauty. From Devil's Courthouse to Cherokee, this is the highest section of the Parkway. Stop and hike at Richland Balsam Overlook, the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 6,053 ft. elevation. Also, hike to the top of Waterrock Knob with sunset views over the Great Smoky Mountains. Recently, it's the film location for several movies, including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing.

Whiteside Mountain NC
Whiteside Mountain Hike

Discover More!
Go to the Jackson County website for more attractions and great places to stay, including the great small towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire.

Jackson County Things to Do

Sylva

In Jackson County, Sylva is home to NC's most photographed courthouse perched on a hill overlooking the historic Main Street. Find fantastic restaurants, breweries, general stores, shops, and festivals in this city, home to the terminus of the WNC Fly Fishing Trail—the only fly fishing trail in the country.

Jackson County Ale Trail

For a more laid back, small town beer adventure, head to three cool towns near Asheville: Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers - home to six breweries with taprooms and restaurants.

For a more laid back, small town beer adventure, head to three cool towns near Asheville: Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers - home to six breweries with taprooms and restaurants.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Take a scenic train ride on excursions along the Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers, over the mountains, across valleys and through tunnels. Choose from a variety of train adventures departing from… read more

Take a scenic train ride on excursions along the Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers, over the mountains, across valleys and through tunnels. Choose from a variety of train adventures departing from Bryson City. Many special event train rides including beer, wine and Polar Express.

Dillsboro

This artsy village is just a few miles from Sylva. On the banks of the Tuckasegee River. Dillsboro has been a tourist stop since the late 1800s. This artisan village is home to an impressive mix… read more

This artsy village is just a few miles from Sylva. On the banks of the Tuckasegee River. Dillsboro has been a tourist stop since the late 1800s. This artisan village is home to an impressive mix of specialty shops and galleries representing many local artists. Go to many art festivals. 

Judaculla Rock

See petroglyphs created by Cherokee Indians 1,500 years ago on a boulder near Sylva and Western Carolina University. The small outdoor park is open every day.

See petroglyphs created by Cherokee Indians 1,500 years ago on a boulder near Sylva and Western Carolina University. The small outdoor park is open every day.

Jackson County Places to Stay

Choose from historic B&Bs, mountaintop log cabins, Airbnb rentals, lakeside resorts and camping in the great outdoors in the Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers areas. Find a mountain getaway for… read more

Choose from historic B&Bs, mountaintop log cabins, Airbnb rentals, lakeside resorts and camping in the great outdoors in the Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers areas. Find a mountain getaway for any budget.

Smallest Post Office in USA

See the country's smallest post office, located roadside near Cashiers and open every day. Fun photo spot! Also see nearby Zachary-Tolbert House.

See the country's smallest post office, located roadside near Cashiers and open every day. Fun photo spot! Also see nearby Zachary-Tolbert House.

American Museum of the House Cat

See a fascinating collection of 10,000+ cat-related curiosities, including many rare and fascinating antiques, collected by "CatMan2" for the past 20 years. One of the few museums in the country… read more

See a fascinating collection of 10,000+ cat-related curiosities, including many rare and fascinating antiques, collected by "CatMan2" for the past 20 years. One of the few museums in the country dedicated to felines. Near Dillsboro.

Waterfall Byway: US Highway 64

Drive 98 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains, through charming towns and by plenty of beautiful waterfalls. Begin in Chimney Rock and travel west on U.S. Highway 64 by Lake Toxaway and through… read more

Drive 98 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains, through charming towns and by plenty of beautiful waterfalls. Begin in Chimney Rock and travel west on U.S. Highway 64 by Lake Toxaway and through Cashiers and Highlands. Stop at roadside waterfalls Dry Falls and Bridal Veil as you enter the Cullasaja River Gorge. The last section is also called Mountain Waters Scenic Byway.

Concerts on the Creek

Unwind on Fridays Memorial Day through Labor Day with live music outdoors in downtown Sylva. Shows are 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park. It's just two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and… read more

Unwind on Fridays Memorial Day through Labor Day with live music outdoors in downtown Sylva. Shows are 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park. It's just two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries (come early!). Family friendly with a big variety of music. Bring a chair or blanket. Free. 

Upper Whitewater Falls

See the upper section of the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi, plunging 411 ft.! Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies, falling 811 ft. The best part is that you… read more

See the upper section of the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi, plunging 411 ft.! Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies, falling 811 ft. The best part is that you can get a great view with a short walk. The walkway begins at the end of the parking lot and is accessible to wheelchairs. A lower overlook is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps.

Schoolhouse Falls

(2.5-mile round-trip hike, moderate) This waterfall in Panthertown Valley in Nantahala National Forest is small, but really big on beauty with a great pool for a splash. Extend your hike to a 5-… read more

(2.5-mile round-trip hike, moderate) This waterfall in Panthertown Valley in Nantahala National Forest is small, but really big on beauty with a great pool for a splash. Extend your hike to a 5-mile loop for mountaintop views and another waterfall. Popular camping area.

Winter Getaways to Jackson County

Find the perfect winter romantic getaway in Jackson County in January-March, during the quieter winter months. This "Secret Season" is a great time to enjoy the clear and crisp mountain air with… read more

Find the perfect winter romantic getaway in Jackson County in January-March, during the quieter winter months. This "Secret Season" is a great time to enjoy the clear and crisp mountain air with fewer crowds, affordable accommodations, and scenic trails all to yourself! 

Soco Falls

This rare twin waterfall is located roadside near Maggie Valley and Cherokee. You can easily miss it since there are few signs! The observation deck and viewing platform is a short walk from a… read more

This rare twin waterfall is located roadside near Maggie Valley and Cherokee. You can easily miss it since there are few signs! The observation deck and viewing platform is a short walk from a small parking area. You can also hike down to the base of both falls.

Panthertown Valley

This Backcountry Area of Nantahala National Forest is home to many waterfalls. In addition to the popular Schoolhouse Falls, find hikes to Greenland Creek Falls (pic), Wilderness Falls and… read more

This Backcountry Area of Nantahala National Forest is home to many waterfalls. In addition to the popular Schoolhouse Falls, find hikes to Greenland Creek Falls (pic), Wilderness Falls and Frolictown Falls.

Whiteside Mountain

(2-mile loop hike, moderate) A landmark in the Nantahala National Forest, located between Cashiers and Highlands, Whiteside rises to an elevation of 4,930 ft.. A loop trail takes you to the top of… read more

(2-mile loop hike, moderate) A landmark in the Nantahala National Forest, located between Cashiers and Highlands, Whiteside rises to an elevation of 4,930 ft.. A loop trail takes you to the top of sheer 750-ft. high cliffs (plenty of railings for safety) with outstanding views.

Tuckasegee River Rafting & Tubing

Ride down the family-friendly rapids of the "Tuck" in a raft, inflatable kayak or tube in Jackson County - near Dillsboro and Sylva. Outfitters offer a variety of guided and self-guided river… read more

Ride down the family-friendly rapids of the "Tuck" in a raft, inflatable kayak or tube in Jackson County - near Dillsboro and Sylva. Outfitters offer a variety of guided and self-guided river trips. 

Sylva July 4th Concert & Fireworks

Enjoy concerts and fireworks in a picturesque all-American small town! Live music begins at 4 PM with dancing until 9:30 PM at the Bridge Park Pavilion. Stroll Main Street's shops, restaurants and… read more

Enjoy concerts and fireworks in a picturesque all-American small town! Live music begins at 4 PM with dancing until 9:30 PM at the Bridge Park Pavilion. Stroll Main Street's shops, restaurants and breweries. Fireworks begin at dark. Free. 

High Falls at Lake Glenville

(1.5 miles round-trip, strenuous) Also known as Cullowhee Falls, this 150-ft. waterfall at Lake Glenville near Cashiers becomes the most powerful a few days of the year when extra water is… read more

(1.5 miles round-trip, strenuous) Also known as Cullowhee Falls, this 150-ft. waterfall at Lake Glenville near Cashiers becomes the most powerful a few days of the year when extra water is released from the dam for kayakers. A new hiking trail takes you to the base for a great view.

Dill Falls and Upper Dill Falls

(1 mile round-trip, easy) Hike to two waterfalls, Upper and Lower Dill Falls, via easy walks from the end of a forest service road deep in Nantahala National Forest. 4.6 miles from the Blue Ridge… read more

(1 mile round-trip, easy) Hike to two waterfalls, Upper and Lower Dill Falls, via easy walks from the end of a forest service road deep in Nantahala National Forest. 4.6 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Cashiers

Shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants center around the Village Green with outdoor sculpture, walking paths and gardens. Find a sophisticated arts and music scene. Nearby are Silver Run… read more

Shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants center around the Village Green with outdoor sculpture, walking paths and gardens. Find a sophisticated arts and music scene. Nearby are Silver Run Falls and Lake Glenville.

Cherokee

Home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee, NC offers a variety of ways to experience the cultural heritage and long history of the tribe. Tour the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and… read more

Home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee, NC offers a variety of ways to experience the cultural heritage and long history of the tribe. Tour the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Oconaluftee Indian Village. Watch "Unto These Hills." Shop for local crafts, see their painted bears, attend a pow wow or try your luck at the huge Harrah's Casino. It's also a major gateway to the…

WNC Fly Fishing Trail®️

Welcome to the first and only fly fishing trail in the United States with the best 15 spots for catching brook, brown, and rainbow trout. With 92,800 fish stocked in its waters annually, Jackson… read more

Welcome to the first and only fly fishing trail in the United States with the best 15 spots for catching brook, brown, and rainbow trout. With 92,800 fish stocked in its waters annually, Jackson County was named NC Trout Capital ®️. See detailed maps and fishing reports. 

Richland Balsam

(1.5-mile loop, easy) Hike the top of the highest summit along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the cool forest. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 431.

(1.5-mile loop, easy) Hike the top of the highest summit along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the cool forest. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 431.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Sylva

Conveniently located off of Highway 441/74, rediscover the beauty of nature as you relax in the indoor heated pool or spa and gaze out over the majestic Great Smoky Mountains. Minutes from Western… read more

Conveniently located off of Highway 441/74, rediscover the beauty of nature as you relax in the indoor heated pool or spa and gaze out over the majestic Great Smoky Mountains. Minutes from Western Carolina University, Harrah's Cherokee Casino and the Blue Ridge Parkway. 67 rooms, $100-$280, king or queen beds, WiFi, free parking. Recently remodeled guestrooms and a delicious full complimentary…

Harrah's Cherokee Casino

Play a huge variety of games and 3,800+ slots, along with live action tables for Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and more. Find a big variety of great restaurants, hotel, spa, shopping and more. 

Play a huge variety of games and 3,800+ slots, along with live action tables for Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and more. Find a big variety of great restaurants, hotel, spa, shopping and more. 

Waterrock Knob

(2.4 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike to the summit (6,292 ft.) of the 16th highest mountain in the eastern United States. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 451.

(2.4 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike to the summit (6,292 ft.) of the 16th highest mountain in the eastern United States. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 451.

Best Western Plus River Escape Inn, Dillsboro

Relax and get away from it all while experiencing breathtaking views on the Tuckasegee River. From your spacious riverside room, watch as rafters make their way down the river. Amenities include a… read more

Relax and get away from it all while experiencing breathtaking views on the Tuckasegee River. From your spacious riverside room, watch as rafters make their way down the river. Amenities include a full hot breakfast, high-speed WiFi, heated indoor pool and spa, riverside deck and fitness center. 65 rooms and suites, $120-$300, cable TV with HBO. Walk to art galleries and restaurants nearby in…

Shadow of the Bear

See this unique fall natural phenomenon in Jackson County just for a few weeks each year, evenings along US 64 near Cashiers in Nantahala National Forest.

See this unique fall natural phenomenon in Jackson County just for a few weeks each year, evenings along US 64 near Cashiers in Nantahala National Forest.

Silver Run Falls

Near Cashiers in Nantahala National Forest is a beautiful 25-ft. waterfall that cascades into a family-friendly pool with a small, sandy beach. A short walk from roadside parking.

Near Cashiers in Nantahala National Forest is a beautiful 25-ft. waterfall that cascades into a family-friendly pool with a small, sandy beach. A short walk from roadside parking.

Sylva’s Pinnacle Park

(7 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike to the top of The Pinnacle for views looking down into Sylva and the surrounding valley. Climb over 3,000 ft. in elevation with a steady grade.

(7 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike to the top of The Pinnacle for views looking down into Sylva and the surrounding valley. Climb over 3,000 ft. in elevation with a steady grade.

Jackson County Green Energy Park

Tour this fascinating arts facility that is powered by methane gas captured from the old town landfill, providing heat for blacksmith forges, metal foundry, glassblowing, greenhouses and heating.… read more

Tour this fascinating arts facility that is powered by methane gas captured from the old town landfill, providing heat for blacksmith forges, metal foundry, glassblowing, greenhouses and heating. Their gallery features art made on-site.

Jackson County Mountains Guide

Order a free 73-page visitors guide for the Sylva, Dillsboro, Lake Glenville, Cherokee and Cashiers areas, including info on fly fishing, hikes and waterfalls in Jackson County, NC.

Order a free 73-page visitors guide for the Sylva, Dillsboro, Lake Glenville, Cherokee and Cashiers areas, including info on fly fishing, hikes and waterfalls in Jackson County, NC.

Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50

Drive the Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge to see breathtaking vistas. You can reach elevations of 5,000+ ft. Our mile-by-mile guide of the… read more

Drive the Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge to see breathtaking vistas. You can reach elevations of 5,000+ ft. Our mile-by-mile guide of the Parkway covers the 193-mile section near Asheville. Along the way, plan to stop to visit the Folk Art Center or discover one of the other fun things to do along one of the most scenic drives in the…

Lake Glenville

This pristine reservoir near Cashiers has the highest elevation of any lake east of the Mississippi. Signal Ridge Marina rents a variety of Bennington pontoons and tritoons, as well as tubes,… read more

This pristine reservoir near Cashiers has the highest elevation of any lake east of the Mississippi. Signal Ridge Marina rents a variety of Bennington pontoons and tritoons, as well as tubes, paddleboards, skis, wakeboards and kneeboards. There's even a beach!

Top Festivals

Tier 2

Outhouse Races

<p>Head over to Sapphire Valley Ski Resort in Cashiers to cheer the drivers of the hilarious homemade outhouses down the slopes.</p>

<p>Head over to Sapphire Valley Ski Resort in Cashiers to cheer the drivers of the hilarious homemade outhouses down the slopes.</p>

Tier 2

Mountain Heritage Day

Held on the campus of Western Carolina University, this long-running outdoor celebration features the sights, sounds, crafts, and flavors of yesteryear. Get a taste of southern Appalachian culture… read more

Held on the campus of Western Carolina University, this long-running outdoor celebration features the sights, sounds, crafts, and flavors of yesteryear. Get a taste of southern Appalachian culture, art, and music. 10 AM-5 PM. Free. 

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Western North Carolina Pottery Festival

Meet 40+ master potters from across the country at this premier juried art event. Watch them in action and buy amazing creations that you will treasure for a lifetime.

Meet 40+ master potters from across the country at this premier juried art event. Watch them in action and buy amazing creations that you will treasure for a lifetime.

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Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries

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Experience the magic as the charming village is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter, and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider… read more

Experience the magic as the charming village is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter, and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.

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Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro

Old hat, new hat, yellow hat, blue hat. They're all welcome at Dillsboro's annual Easter Hat Parade at 2 PM, showcasing a variety of interesting hats atop participants of all ages, including pets… read more

Old hat, new hat, yellow hat, blue hat. They're all welcome at Dillsboro's annual Easter Hat Parade at 2 PM, showcasing a variety of interesting hats atop participants of all ages, including pets.

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Greening Up the Mountains Festival

Celebrate the arrival of spring at this big downtown Sylva street festival, about an hour's drive west of Asheville. Three stages of music, crafts, music, more. Free admission.

Celebrate the arrival of spring at this big downtown Sylva street festival, about an hour's drive west of Asheville. Three stages of music, crafts, music, more. Free admission.

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Front Street Arts & Crafts Show

Stroll downtown artsy Dillsboro and interact with more than 40 of the region's best artisans. Browse the many shops and galleries while experiencing some of the area's best restaurants.… read more

Stroll downtown artsy Dillsboro and interact with more than 40 of the region's best artisans. Browse the many shops and galleries while experiencing some of the area's best restaurants. Entertainment and festival food round out a great family day that celebrates mountain art and culture. Free admission. Pets welcomed. 10 AM-4 PM.

Tier 2

ColorFest

The artsy village of Dillsboro welcomes 40 demonstrating artists along Front Street with their colorful creations. Browse many nearby galleries too. Free admission. 10 AM-4 PM. 

The artsy village of Dillsboro welcomes 40 demonstrating artists along Front Street with their colorful creations. Browse many nearby galleries too. Free admission. 10 AM-4 PM. 

Tier 2

Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival

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Held on the Village Green in the middle of Cashiers at peak color time, see the works of 100+ artists while enjoying live music and great food. The free festival is open 10 AM - 5 PM on Friday,… read more

Held on the Village Green in the middle of Cashiers at peak color time, see the works of 100+ artists while enjoying live music and great food. The free festival is open 10 AM - 5 PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

More Things To Do

Water Fun: Swimming, sailing, water skiing, boating, tubing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing are all available in Jackson County. There are four whitewater rivers, the Tuckasegee, Chattooga, Oconaluftee and the nearby Nantahala, with difficulty ranging from Class I to Class VI. Commercial companies rent rafts, canoes, kayaks and tubes. Canoes and boat rentals are available on Lake Glenville

The Vordach Zip Line Adventurers of all ages can enjoy an exciting and picturesque experience at The Vordach above Ski Sapphire Valley. 8-11-year-old beginners can work their way to the top on a green course while 12+ ages take a full scenic canopy tour through the treetops.

Ski Sapphire Valley: Ski or snowboard down the slopes in Sapphire Valley. The resort offers lifts, rentals, ski school and more. Snow tube at Frozen Falls Tube Park at the resort and stay at one of the lodging options for the weekend to enjoy a winter wonderland with the family.

Smoky Mountain River Adventures: Located on Highway 74 West outside of Dillsboro, find fun for the whole family at Tuckasegee River Trips. The perfect place for groups to enjoy the water on rafts, kayaks, double kayaks or tubes. Raft in the morning then enjoy tubing or hiking one of the recommended trails during the rest of the day.

Carolina Outfitters Whitewater Rafting Enjoy the scenic splendor of the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains as you paddle the clean cold waters of the Nantahala or Ocoee River. With class II, III and IV whitewater rapids, the river is fun and exciting but does not require previous experience. Paddlers of all levels enjoy the journey. The river is dam-controlled and there is a good, dependable water supply for whitewater rafting all season long!

Innovation Brewing: Truly innovating, these brewers experiment with a variety of fun and fresh ingredients always ready to stimulate the palate and senses of visitors coming in for a pint. Located in Sylva, this brewery certainly specializes in beer with 22 beers on tap and brewery merchandise to match.

Western Carolina University is a member of the University of North Carolina system, with 9,000 students in the small town of Cullowhee. For visitors, their Fine and Performing Arts Center is an exciting cultural arts and art education destination with world-class performers and artists. The Fine Art Museum includes nearly 10,000 ft. of exhibit space featuring a growing permanent collection, an exciting schedule of contemporary art and fine crafts, and related interdisciplinary education programs.

Discover More!
Go to the Jackson County website for more attractions and great places to stay, including Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire.

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