The Majestic NC Mountains
A NC Mountain vacation is quite popular year round. In every season there is something to do in the NC mountains. Things to do include:fishing, snow skiing, hiking ,camping, horseback riding and motorcycling. Popular highways for motorcycle and automobile sightseeing are The Blue Ridge Parkway, Highway 441 through the Great Smoky
Mountains, and The Dragon. US 129 or The Dragon is a must for a motorcycle ride in the NC mountains with 318 curves in just 11 miles. A NC snow ski vacation in the winter; a travel trip to see the fall foliage color show is popular in the autumn. The mountains in NC have miles of hiking trails and horse trails for riding in the warmer months. Fishing North Carolina mountain streams full of trout is popular also.
NC mountain vacations can be at a mountain resort, a cozy mountain Inn,a Bed & Breakfast, a cabin rental or at a campground. There are hundreds of each to choose from in the NC mountains. Vacation rentals in the NC mountains are everywhere. Choosing can be the hard part because of all the possibilities. See the tips for planning and choosing the right accommodations for a NC mountain vacation.
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains are located along the North Carolina and Tennessee border and is home to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park . The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created in 1934 to protect the beautiful forest and large tracts of trees from over logging. It is the most visited national park in the United States with over 9 million people annually. It is approximately 521,895 acres in size and mountain elevations in the
park range from just over 875 feet to 6,643 feet. The tallest elevation point is at the popular tourist site of Clingmans Dome. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open daily year round and is free to the public.
The Cherokee used the word Shacorage meaning “blue, like smoke” to describe the mountain region. The name “Smoky” comes from the natural smoke appearance that can engulf the mountain peaks and settle into the valleys. It is the result of the warm humid air coming from the south and cooling rapidly in the higher elevations of the mountains.
Blue Ridge Mountains:
The Great Smoky Mountains are within the Blue Ridge province of the Appalachian Mountain Range. The term “Blue Ridge” most commonly refers to the eastern edge or front range of the Appalachian Mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountains contain the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway is a 469-mile long scenic highway that runs along the crests of the Southern Appalachians. It runs along the highest ridges between the Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at altitudes of over 6,000 feet. The scenic drive has a lower speed limit so you can enjoy the magnificent mountain views.
The Great Balsam Mountains:
The Great Balsam Mountains, or Balsam Mountains, are a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which in turn are a part of the Appalachian Mountains. The most famous peak in the Great Balsam range is Cold Mountain. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along its length and at Richland Balsam (milepost 431), the Parkway is at its highest point (6053 feet).
The Black Mountains:
Fraser Fir trees on the upper slopes. The Eastern Continental Divide, which runs along the eastern Blue Ridge crest, intersects the southern tip of the Black Mountain range.The Black Mountains are home to Mount Mitchell State Park. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes along the range’s southern section, and is connected to the summit of Mount Mitchell. Mt. Mitchell, located in Yancy County, has an elevation of 6,684 feet. It is the highest point
east of the Mississippi.
NC Mountain Weather
NC weather especially in the mountains can change frequently and quite suddenly. When visiting the North Carolina mountains be prepared for sudden weather changes. Wear layers of clothes that can be added or removed as needed. Higher elevations in the park are cooler than lower elevations. Always have rain gear. It can be foggy or raining on top of a mountain while sunny, warm and clear conditions are at the base. The winter season can be quite cold with snow and ice at the higher elevations.
NC Mountains Travel Tips
- Do not feed the bears. Keep your distance from bears and back away slowly if you come across a bear.
- Stay on the trails and do not wander off into the forest.
- Do not drink the water. The water in the streams and rivers can be contaminated with impurities and parasites causing gastric problems.
- Rocks and timbers in or near water can be slippery causing falls and injury. Do not swim in the water, hidden rocks beneath the surface can cause injury.
- Dress in layers and carry rain gear.
- Know park regulations.
Map of the NC Mountains