Waynesville, North Carolina, is the largest town in Western North Carolina and is a short drive from Asheville. Downtown Waynesville has a quaint, urban charm, perfect for walkable shopping in local boutiques and gift shops for artisan goods. For visitors interested in enjoying a unique, flavorful Appalachian experience, Waynesville offers a vibrant farm-to-table restaurant and craft beer scene. Its proximity to popular hiking trails and waterfalls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Blue Ridge Parkway make it a perfect vacation destination for those looking to explore the great outdoors.
The Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located just a short drive from Waynesville, offering endless opportunities for outdoor adventures such as hiking, fishing, and whitewater rafting. Some great hikes include:
- Alum Cave Trail: This moderate to strenuous trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park takes you to the base of Mount LeConte and features beautiful views, historic landmarks, and a stop at Alum Cave, a large bluff that is actually a natural arch.
- Rainbow Falls Trail: This moderate trail in the national park takes you to Rainbow Falls, a beautiful 80-foot tall waterfall. The trail also offers great views of the surrounding mountains.
- The Chimneys Trail: This moderate trail in the national park takes you to a series of rock formations known as The Chimneys, which offer great views of the surrounding area.
- The Gatlinburg Trail: This easy trail in the national park is a great option for families, as it is relatively flat and only about 2 miles round trip. The trail follows an old roadbed and passes through a beautiful forest.
- The Grotto Falls Trail: This moderate trail in the national park takes you to Grotto Falls, a 25-foot tall waterfall that you can walk behind. The trail is only about 2.5 miles round trip and is suitable for most hikers.
- The Ramsey Cascades Trail: This strenuous trail in the national park takes you to Ramsey Cascades, a beautiful 100-foot tall waterfall. The trail is about 8 miles round trip and is not recommended for inexperienced hikers.
- The Little River Trail: This moderate to strenuous trail in the national park takes you along the beautiful Little River, offering great views and the chance to see a variety of plants and animals.
- The Laurel Falls Trail: This moderate trail in the national park takes you to Laurel Falls, an 80-foot tall waterfall that is especially popular in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom. The trail is about 2.6 miles round trip and is suitable for most hikers.
Located just 35 minutes from Waynesville is a city well known for the historic Biltmore Estate, world class dining and even the filming location for hollywood blockbusters like the Hunger Games! Check out a few things to do in Asheville while you’re so close:
- Plan a girls trip: Grab your girls and head to Asheville for all the fun without the headaches most tourist sites would have.
- The Biltmore Estate:Renowned Architecture. Artful Landscapes. Award-winning wines. Casual Entertainment. We cannot possibly express the beauty of this place; you must see it for yourself.
- Rooftop Bars: Who doesn’t love a good rooftop bar?? Here is a great list for a fun dining experience while you’re in Asheville.
- Blue Ridge Parkway: The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles long and runs through 29 counties in North Carolina and Virginia. It is America’s longest linear park and is named after the Blue Ridge Mountains,
which are part of the Appalachian Mountain range. On the trail, you’ll encounter breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys and countryside.
- 50 Things To Do in Asheville Don’t just take our word, here is a great list of 50 things to do in Asheville from ExploreAsheville.com.
On the Green
Any golf lover knows, there is nothing more relaxing than spending a day on the green. Here are a couple great golf course options:
- The Waynesville Inn & Golf: A mountain retreat rooted in golf’s past reimagined for the present. Nestled in the majestic mountains of Western North
Carolina, Waynesville Inn & Golf Club is a renowned landmark whose legacy dates back to 1926. Today, it’s a unique place where modern-day refined amenities meet the beauty and easy-going nature of the surrounding mountains for a one-of-a-kind experience for golf, exploring,
or simply relaxing.
- Laurel Ridge Country Club:Laurel Ridge Country Club is the ideal setting for those with a passion for mountain recreations and an active lifestyle. The friendly atmosphere and southern charm creates the perfect place to spend time
with old friends and to make new ones. Club life is comfortable and casual, yet elegant. An outstanding feature is the climate; most years the temperature at Laurel Ridge averages 70 degrees in the summer and 40 in the winter.
Waynesville is surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests, providing endless opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and visiting nearby state and local parks to appreciate the natural beauty of the area. Some popular outdoor destinations in the area include:
- Cataloochee Valley: Start your day bright and early with a visit to see the reintroduced elk of Cataloochee Valley. The valley is one of the most remote parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is rich in mountain history and beauty.
- Looking Glass Waterfall: This 60 foot tall waterfall is a popular tourist attraction all year long. The ultra clear mountain water cascading down the rocks is what gives this waterfall it’s name. This fall is located with the Pisgah National Forest.
- Pisgah National Forest: The Pisgah National Forest stretches over 500,000 acres of lush forest with whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails. Visit the park to enjoy year round hiking, fishing and watersports in the warmer months.
- Blue Ridge Parkway: The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles long and runs through 29 counties in North Carolina and Virginia. It is America’s longest linear park and is named after the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountain range. On the trail, you’ll encounter breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys and countryside.
Keep in mind that many of the hiking trails in the area are located in wilderness areas and can be rugged, steep, and remote. It’s always recommended to check trail conditions, wear appropriate footwear and clothing, bring enough water and food, and inform someone of your plans before.
For All Motorheads
Waynesville is surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests, providing exceptional views for bike riders and motor enthusiasts to enjoy. Here are a couple places we suggest looking to get out and on the road:
- Smoky Mountain Slingshot Rentals: Serving Maggie Valley and Waynesville, Smoky Mountain Slingshot Rentals is here to help you put the top down and enjoy the breeze, winding around the mountains without a care in the world.
- Copperhead Loop: The Copperhead Loop offers a compelling mix of great scenery, challenging riding and easy access. Come see why Copperhead is often referred to as “beauty with an attitude”.
- Cataloochee UTV Adventure Rentals: Cataloochee UTV Adventure gives it’s patrons the opportunity of a lifetime; to enjoy the splendor of the park in a completely new and unique way. Choose between a 4 seater or 2 seater Kawasaki Teryx, with four hours starting at $295.
- Maggie Valley Rides: Become a part of the Facebook community of like-minded motorcycle riders who have come to know the beauty of Maggie Valley on a bike. Here you can learn about group trips, swap stories, get tips and recommendations.