The Wonders of a Winter in the NC Smoky Mountains

What do you do when the cold weather rolls in, but you still want to get out of the house? The temperatures are beginning to drop, but the fun doesn’t have to end here.  Just minutes off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the charming Smoky Mountain towns of Haywood County hold a world of winter fun, ranging from exhilarating skiing and tubing to hiking, shopping, and dining.



If you’re chasing a thrill to go along with the chill of the season, we’ve got you covered! Whether you’re a skier, snowboarder, expert or novice, everyone can experience adrenaline-filled adventure at Cataloochee Ski Area. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of Haywood County, Cataloochee offers season-long skiing on 18 slopes and trails of manicured, man-made snow. New to the sport? They offer classes and private lessons taught by trained instructors to get you out on the slopes in no time flat. There are plenty of expert trails to challenge even the most accomplished skiers. Experienced skiers and snowboarders can also choose to shred the ramps, rails, and boxes of the Cat Cage Terrain Park. And did we mention that kids ski free?



Looking for a refreshing way to get your steps in? Exchange the crunch of leaves for the crunch of snow under your boots! While lush green mountains and warm temperatures are lovely, the winter season offers unobstructed views of the snow-covered Smoky Mountains. You can also discover breathtaking frozen waterfalls. Our mountains are home to numerous conveniently located family-friendly hiking trails, making Haywood County the perfect home base for your outdoor exploration. When the temperatures drop below freezing and ice forms on the Blue Ridge Parkway, take in breathless views and maybe even take four-legged-friend along for a hike along the closed portions of the Parkway on accessible Parkway trails.

Tube World

Are you ready for the slide of your life? Just four miles from Cataloochee Ski Area, Tube World’s groomed slope will bring childhood memories of sled rides rushing back, and barrels of fun for your family or group. Enjoy an hour and forty-five minutes of sliding down the snow-covered run in their specially designed inner tubes. 


Just like Santa, you should check your list and check it twice. Have you missed anything? If so, you’re in luck! Our local shops and boutiques, like Willow Hill Soap Company, Barn Tin Boutique, and Axe & Awl Leatherworks, have the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. Art, antiques, handmade goods, and funky fashion are just a few of the unique finds you’ll discover among our shopping scene

Food and Beverages

With wintertime coming, there is no better time to lift your spirits and satisfy your appetite in Haywood County. Start the day with pancakes and a hot cup of joe at one of our local breakfast spots or coffee shops like the national award-winning Orchard Coffee or Joey’s Pancake House. After a morning of adventuring, fill up on some of the best BBQ in Western North Carolina from Pop’s Butts on the Creek. And for dinner, treat yourself to some fine Smoky Mountain dining at one of our many restaurants such as The Sweet Onion or  Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen before enjoying a nightcap at a local brewery or winery like Frog Level Brewing and The Classic Wineseller.


There’s no blueprint to enjoying the wonders of a winter in the NC Smokies, so whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to have a blast. For more information on planning your Smoky Mountains getaway, visit us here, and don’t forget to tag @VisitNCSmokies and #HayNow on social media! 

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