North Carolina Mountains

Counties most commonly associated with Western North Carolina.

North Carolina Mountains is the mountain region in western North Carolina.


The far western portion of Western North Carolina includes the counties of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Swain, Haywood, Jackson, and Macon. Much of this land is covered by National Forest.

Counties just to the east of this group (sometimes called Land-of-Sky) include Buncombe (home to Western North Carolina's largest city, Asheville), Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania.

The northern counties of Western North Carolina are commonly known as the state's High Country. Centered around Boone, the High Country boasts the area's most popular ski resorts and is known for it's production of Fraser Fir Christmas Trees. High Country counties include Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey (home to Mount Mitchell, highest mountain on the East Coast).

On the eastern end of Western North Carolina lie the counties of Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Polk - known as The First Peak of the Blue Ridge, and Rutherford.


Other destinations


The mountains of western North Carolina are among the oldest on Earth, and contain the highest mountain (Mount Mitchell), deepest gorge (Linville Gorge), and several of highest waterfalls (Whitewater Falls, Glassmine Falls, etc.) in the eastern United States, and is also home to the oldest river in North America (the New River) and the two most visited National Parks in the country (the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park).

The region also has a stunning diversity of plant and animal life, more, in fact, than the whole of Europe.


People living in the Appalachian dialect area pronounce the word "Appalachia" as App-a-latch-ah, while those who live outside of the Appalachian dialect area or at its outer edges tend to pronounce it App-a-lay-csh-ah. If you visit the Qualla Boundary (Cherokee Indian Reservation), you may hear the native language Cherokee spoken.

Get in

By plane, the closest airport to most of the region is the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) located fifteen miles southeast of Asheville. The nearest airports to Boone and the High Country are Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI) located between Johnson City and Bristol, Tennessee. The next nearest airports are the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) in Greenville, South Carolina and McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, Tennessee.

By train, the closest Amtrak stations to the region are in Greenville, South Carolina, and Charlotte.

By car, two major Interstate highways cross the region: Interstate 40, which traverses east-west, and Interstate 26, which traverses north-south. In addition, US 321 is Interstate quality from just north of Interstate 85 at Gastonia to Hickory, and US 421 is Interstate quality from Interstate 77 to Wilkesboro and a multi-lane divided highway from Wilkesboro to Boone. The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway also runs through the region.

By bus, Greyhound has stops in Asheville and Waynesville.




Keep in mind that Clay, Graham, Mitchell, and Yancey counties are "dry", meaning no alcohol is sold within their borders. In most other counties in the region, if you want to buy liquor by the bottle you must do it at state-run ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Commission) stores rather than at a traditional liquor store. The exceptions to this are Yadkin and Madison counties, which, though not "dry" do not have ABC stores. ABC store hours vary by county. The alcohol laws of North Carolina prohibit the sale of alcohol after 2AM Monday through Saturday, and from 2AM until noon on Sundays.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, September 13, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.