In the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Burnsville, N.C., is a charming mountain community surrounded by pristine rivers, biodiverse forests, and majestic high peaks. Burnsville offers iconic American charm, endless outdoor experiences, and starry, dark skies for visitors of all ages. Located just 35 miles northeast of Asheville, Burnsville provides an ideal combination of outdoorsy adventure and small-town vibes.
Start your day at Appalachian Java before taking a scenic drive on NC 80 along the South Toe River to Roaring Fork Falls. This easy waterfall hike is located in the Pisgah National Forest just two miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. For a more strenuous activity, book a guided hike with Snakeroot Eco Tours for an off-the-beaten path adventure to mountain creeks, old growth forests, and swimming holes.
After a morning of ecotherapy, take a stroll around Town Square and along Main Street to visit local art galleries, antique stores, and friendly one-of-a-kind shops. Seasonal, family-owned farms offer locally-grown and hand-crafted products at the Yancey County Farmers Market or the Appalachian Farmers and Artisan Market. Enjoy lunch from your choice of several downtown eateries.
Head over to Homeplace Beer Company for a local farm-to-pint beer and relax in one of the pleasant outdoor spaces. Enjoy Appalachian-inspired cuisine and seasonal craft cocktails next door at Second Home. Stay overnight in any of the area’s comfortable accommodations, from a cozy inn to a mountain cabin, to get a night of rest before another day of adventuring.
Fill up with a hearty country breakfast from Pig & Grits. Then it’s on to Mount Mitchell State Park, home to the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 feet tall, Mount Mitchell. With an easily accessible observation deck and hiking trails near the summit, you’ll find stunning views in every direction. Also accessible from the park is Mount Craig, the second highest peak in the eastern United States at 6,645 feet.
After a quick stop to refuel and a sweet treat from Cool Catz Ice Cream, head out on one of the area’s many waterways with a local outfitter. From tubing, fishing, and whitewater rafting to waterfall rappelling and river snorkel trips, there are countless opportunities for the whole family to have fun.
Plan for dinner in town before heading out to the Bare Dark Sky Observatory to explore the wonders of the universe. The Sam Scope, with a 34-inch mirror, is the largest telescope in the Southeast dedicated for public use. After gazing into the night sky, you’ll be ready to start planning a return visit to Burnsville.
Cover Photo: A popular gathering spot in downtown Burnsville is Homeplace Beer Co. All photos courtesy Explore Burnsville