Best Winter Activities in the NC Mountains

winter activities in the high country

There’s no better place to spend winter than in the High Country. Beautiful in all seasons, the area transforms in the winter into a wonderland of snow-capped mountains and cool winter haze. Whether you’re looking to find a breathtaking view, explore scenic North Carolinian history, or embrace the holiday spirit, there are endless options that will provide fun for the whole family all winter long.

We’ve put together some of the best wintry activities that the High Country has to offer below for your next visit.

The Mile-High Swinging Bridge

A blanket of snow covers the Mile-High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain

Enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of the beautiful High Country at the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, America’s highest suspension footbridge built a whopping one mile above sea level. With one of the best views of Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak that the High Country has to offer, the bridge is a must-see in all seasons – but the added glow of snow in the winter makes crossing the bridge a magical experience. It’s the perfect activity for stargazing on a winter night. We guarantee you’ll never see the High Country the same way again.

When you’re done exploring the bridge, you can head down to the animal habitats for a family-friendly educational experience. The kids will love learning about the bears, otters, and other animals that frequent the area, and it’s a perfect way to end a fun-filled day.

Biltmore Estate

Christmas season at the Biltmore Estate.

Take a trip back to the Gilded Age with a visit to Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt’s historic country estate in Asheville. Architecture buffs and nature lovers alike will love a winter visit to Biltmore, where the lush greenery and lavish Christmas decorations can’t help but to put you in the holiday spirit. And it’s more than just pleasing to the eye – the estate has a wide range of activities that the whole family will enjoy, such as self-guided tours of the house and garden, live musical choirs, shops, restaurants, wine tastings, and more.

Biltmore Estate is impressive year-round, but it comes alive in the winter with its crackling fireplaces, warm holiday traditions, and impressive light displays. And as a landmark North Carolinian attraction for well over a century, it’s a great place to truly experience a North Carolina winter.

Beech Mountain

In the winter, Beech Mountain welcomes sledders of all ages.

If you’re looking for a winter adventure, head over to Beech Mountain. Tucked in the Southern Appalachian Highlands between Roan Mountain and Boone, Beech Mountain is the perfect getaway to cure your winter blues. The charming, family-friendly town has the highest elevation in Eastern America, making it an ideal winter vacation spot to experience its abundant snowfall and crisp mountain air.

Snow sports aren’t all this small town has to offer – you can warm up after a long day at one of Beech Mountain’s many antique stores or rustic sidewalk shops. It’s been said that no trip to Beech Mountain is complete without a visit to Fred’s General Mercantile, a High Country staple since 1979. Shopping in the High Country is the perfect way to get an intimate look into its culture, lifestyle, and people, and you’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind souvenirs to remind you of the mountains.

Chetola’s Festival of Lights

Chetola’s Festival of Lights illuminates Blowing Rock during the winter season.

From the end of November to the end of January, Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock will be illuminated with thousands of lights depicting shimmering ice skaters, the nativity scene, Rudolph, and more to commemorate the holiday season. Make the drive around the resort and Chetola Lake for a stunning winter lights experience – the warm colors against a cool mountain background makes for a view like no other, and highlights the natural beauty of the High Country.

Chetola’s Festival of Lights is a High Country tradition that culminates in Blowing Rock’s Winterfest, a four-day festival at the end of January packed with family friendly events such as a polar plunge, ice carvings, dog shows, and auctions.


Winter in the High Country is almost synonymous with skiing, but there’s so much more to explore in one of North Carolina’s most beautiful and scenic areas. It’s wonderful to experience the NC Mountains in the winter. This year, experience a new part of High Country that you haven’t seen before.