It’s no secret. The fresh escape of the North Carolina Smoky Mountains has been attracting visitors from near and far for years. While it has increased in popularity as a premier mountain destination over the years, it still remains true to it rural Appalachian roots. The area’s southern hospitality meshed with a laid-back, outdoor lifestyle offer a much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of the daily routine. The crisp mountain air awakens the senses, and everywhere you turn the natural beauty inspires the soul. And with summer right around the corner, there is no better time to plot the course of you next adventure here Haywood County.

Haywood County—situated in the heart of Western North Carolina, surrounded by the ridges of the ancient Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains—is comprised of 546 scenic square miles of spectacular country, with beautiful Appalachian Mountains and valleys dotting the landscape. Thirteen of its mountain peaks soar to elevations of at least 6,000 feet, making it one of the highest counties—with a mean elevation of 3,600 feet—east of the Rockies.

Notable mountain peaks include the 6,030-foot Cold Mountain, which served as the basis and inspiration for Charles Frazier’s award-winning, best-selling novel and the ensuing 2003 major motion picture. Mt. Guyot, at 6,621 feet, and Richland Balsam, at 6,410 feet, are the tallest peaks within Haywood County.

First established in 1808, Haywood County was named for John Haywood, the North Carolina treasurer from 1787 to 1827. The county sits at the western edge of NC, with a 46-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway (appropriately called “America’s Favorite Drive”) running along its southwestern border. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Pisgah National Forest are located in the northern section of the county. These combined areas offer miles of hiking trails, pristine streams for trout fishing, cool natural swimming holes, countless bike routes, and more incredible scenery than you could ever dream of.

Unlike the other 99 counties in North Carolina, all of the water in Haywood County originates in Haywood County, including the Pigeon River. With four distinctive seasons, Haywood County has much to offer visitors throughout the entire year. The annual average temperature is 54 degrees; the temperature averages 38 degrees in January and 71 degrees in June. Haywood County averages 47.5 inches of rainfall and 12.2 inches of snowfall each year.

Haywood’s five towns — Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Canton, Clyde and Lake Junaluska — are conveniently located within the county and serve as the perfect base camp to launch your adventures. Make plans to stay the night in one of the five towns and enjoy local craft breweries, an eclectic culinary scene, live music venues, fun festivals, and much more. To plan your next excursion in Haywood County visit www.visitncsmokies.com