WINTER IN THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS NC – WINTER SPORTS, EVENTS & MORE
Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Haywood County offers a winter wonderland like no other. From December through February, the Smoky Mountains transform into a breathtaking landscape, with snow-covered peaks and frozen waterfalls creating a picturesque backdrop for your adventures.
One of the highlights of winter in the NC Smokies is the possibility of waking up to snow or frost on the mountain tops. This is truly a sight to behold, and it provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced winter sports enthusiast, the slopes of Cataloochee Ski Area offer thrilling runs for all levels of expertise.
The winter months are also the best time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With fewer crowds and a peaceful ambiance, you can explore the park’s majestic beauty at your own pace. Bundle up and embark on a nature trail, where you can witness the breathtaking vistas and perhaps even spot some wildlife braving the cold. Don’t forget your camera, as the opportunity to capture the park’s serene beauty is unparalleled during this time of year.
Haywood County is also home to five charming mountain towns that come alive during the winter months. In Maggie Valley, you can enjoy cozy cabin rentals, family-friendly attractions, and a ski area. Waynesville, the county seat, boasts a vibrant downtown filled with unique shops, art galleries, and delicious dining options. Canton, Lake Junaluska, and Clyde also offer their own distinct charms, making each town a delightful destination to explore.
While planning your visit to the NC Smoky Mountains, it’s important to be mindful of the weather conditions. Winter temperatures can be cold, often dropping below freezing, so be sure to pack appropriate winter gear. It’s always a good idea to check the local forecast and road conditions before heading out on your winter adventures.
Whether you’re seeking outdoor excitement, peaceful serenity, or charming mountain towns, winter in the NC Smokies is a magical time to visit. Plan your trip today and discover the beauty and charm that awaits you in Haywood County’s winter wonderland.
winter fun, captured by you!
Head up Hwy. 215/Lake Logan Rd. to access the Sam’s Summits Loop Trail, located in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area of the Pisgah National Forest. As this area borders the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is often inaccessible via the Parkway in the winter due to road closures, but the trailhead for Sam’s Summits is accessible year-round.
Due to the freezing temperatures of the higher elevations, portions of this roadway are closed to car traffic for the winter season—but it’s spectacular for foot traffic! You can find entrances in Waynesville, Maggie Valley, and Canton. Just be sure to dress accordingly and keep in mind that higher elevations often mean colder temperatures and wind.
Lake Junaluska offers a wonderful and serene 2.3-mile walking trail that circles the lake. Enjoy the beautiful mountainous landscape that surrounds the lake as you take a leisurely stroll. During a walk around the 2.3-mile walking trail, you will cross both the Turbeville Footbridge and the bridge above the dam. This is a great activity for all ages and abilities.
ICE FESTIVAL WEEKENDGet ready to chill out at the NC Smokies Ice Festival! January 26, 27 & 28, 2024, Haywood County will be transformed into a winter wanderland as the festival goes county-wide. Brace yourself for jaw-dropping ice sculptures, thrilling interactive ice games, and the chance to peruse local artisans’ masterpieces. But that’s not all – you can lace up your skates and glide across an ice skating rink, indulge in delicious dining specials, and snag some incredible deals while you shop. This weekend-long event is guaranteed to make your heart melt – in the best way possible!
Time to get toasty! There’s nothing better than sipping a steamy hot drink on a frosty cold day. Lucky for us, there are many unique and cozy spots to grab a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or tea in Haywood County. Whether you’re looking for a quick brew on the go or wish to stay and savor a latte with friends, you’re sure to find your new go-to spot. We’ve rounded up some of the best coffee spots to help make the decision just a little easier.