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Visit our Blue Ridge Parkway communities between Linville Falls and Crabtree Falls featuring Little Switzerland and the Orchard at Altapass. Tour the Diamondback NC, Murder Mountain Run, The Devil’s Staircase and the Lake James Loop motorcycle routes. Each route delivers spectacular mountain views and back road scenery. From the Parkway, these and other attractions are located in and around Mileposts 316 to 355.

Singing rails and whistle stops describe the valley towns of Marion and Old Fort where you will find two historic depots, a railroad museum and interpretive sites, Mountain Gateway Museum, Historic Carson House and local arts and crafts for sale at the Arrowhead Art Gallery and the McDowell Arts Council.

Explore Lake James with two State Parks, walking trails, swimming beaches, canoe rentals and a full service marina/restaurant at Bear Creek Marina. The Lake James area is also home to South Creek Vineyard and Belle Nicho Winery, along with neighboring Silver Fork Vineyard and Lake James Cellars.

Our 21 hiking and waterfall trails are open year round, including a paved historic route on Point Lookout Trail. This trail is popular with bicyclists, hikers and photographers, because of the expansive views of the Royal Gorge. Experienced mountain bikers challenge their skills on the Kitsuma Peak/Young’s Ridge Trail and Catawba Falls is a favorite with falls dropping more than 300 feet. Sign up for the annual Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell or the Jerdon Mountain Challenge, in Old Fort.

We host weekly, free bluegrass performances in addition to a variety of annual festivals and the popular North Carolina Bluegrass Festival in August. Check out our event calendar for events, details and directions.

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