10 Fall Activities in The NC High Country


A season of love, beauty, and bounty.

Fall might not get as much hype as winter and summer, but it is every bit as awesome of a season as any other. In fact, some might argue that it is the best season of them all despite being so underrated. With its perfect weather, abundant harvest, and never-ending list of things to do, it is not so hard to see why.

Autumn in North Carolina’s High County region is particularly magical and boy do these people know how to have fun during the season. Whether it is leaf peeping, harvest picking, or endless partying, you are bound to have an amazing time here. To help you make the absolute most out of this autumn season, here are 10 fall activities to try out in North Carolina’s mountain areas.

Leaf peeping

Leaf peeping is one of the most popular activities for fall in this part of North Carolina. Basically, you get to watch be breathtaking color formations on the mountains created by the leaves as they start to brown and fall in preparation for winter.

For you to truly take in all this beauty, you need to get the timing and location right. You could start with the views from Beech Mountain which are best enjoyed around late September to early October. Banner Elk also offers great vantage points around mid-October, while Boone is perfect for viewing around late October. Please keep in mind that peak leaf viewing times can vary from year to year.


Take a walk through the many nature trails

Fall tends to be breathtakingly beautiful anywhere there are mountains and forests and North Carolina is no different. Sometimes all you need to have fun here during this time is a comfortable pair of shoes, a bottle of water, and energy for a nice quiet walk. You have a bunch of options here, with Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain and Emerald Outback Trails at Beech Mountain being some of the most popular.


Kayaking & Paddleboarding

During the earlier months of autumn you could have a lot of fun on the many different lakes in these parts of North Carolina. One of the most popular public spots to do this is on Wildcat Lake near Grandfather Mountain. You will be surrounded by pristine natural beauty and calmness, and there is almost nothing more wholesome than this halcyon experience.

As a member of our community, you’ll have access to our beautiful lake. Whether you enjoy Paddleboarding, Kayaking or canoeing, our lake is one of the most beautiful locations to enjoy your favorite water activity in the High Country.


Oktoberfest on Sugar Mountain

Oktoberfest is a yearly festival held on Sugar Mountain Resort every second weekend of October. The Bulgarian themed party is meant to bring the community together for three fun-packed days of live music, costume parties, and amazing food and drinks. It is ideal for all age groups because the organizers include events and stands that ensure everyone has something to keep them entertained.


Trunk or Treat Halloween Festival

This is an annual Halloween festival held at Banner Elk to celebrate the iconic holiday. It is essentially a daytime costume party where participants get to dress up and hand out candy from the trunks of their cars. If you are visiting, this is a great way to get to interact with the locals as you pass time in a really fun and tasty way.


Woolly Worm Festival

The iconic Woolly Worm Festival is world famous and has been celebrated in North Carolina for more than 40 years. It is held on the third weekend of October and is used as a way to welcome the cold weather seasons.

The whole premise of the festival is to try and predict how harsh the winter will be by studying that year’s crop of woolly worms. These caterpillars have 13 bands that represent the 13 weeks of winter and their color is used to predict how brutal or mild the coming winter will be. From fun worm races, food and family friendly activities including rides and live music, you will definitely have a great time.


Go pumpkin picking

Picking pumpkins is a fall tradition and should definitely be on your to do list while in North Carolina. The High County area in particular has some of the best pumpkin patches for you to hit up, including those in Boone and the Banner Elk area. You could also participate in different pumpkin carving parties held locally, the perfect way to spend your time as you prepare to party it up over Halloween.


Take a hayride

Hayrides are another set of iconic fall activities that you definitely have to make time for while in High County. More often than not, they are offered as party bonuses at the pumpkin patches and different festivals like the Beech Mountain Autumn at Oz Festival. Kids will love them, but every grown-up should have a place it their heart for a hayride too. So don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Get onto that truck with the kids and knock that fun little item off your fall bucket list.


Apple picking and farm mazes

Fall is a season of harvest, and North Carolina has many successful farms to attest to this. One really fun seasonal activity you could try out is fruit picking in one of the many orchids in the area. Located off The Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 328.3, The Historic Orchard at Altapass will fulfill all your apple picking desires. You can purchase apples by picking them yourself or prepicked in a bag at the store. They even supply you with a picking pole to reach the higher hanging apples!

You could also have a fun time at farm mazes like the New River Corn Maze in Boone, which is particularly great if you are there with your friends or family. Although they don’t sell or have apples to pick, you should make time for the the Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk and get to hang out with numerous farm animals, including alpacas.


Go camping in the woods

Nothing beats roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories around the campfire. Just be sure to plan your camping trip for before the weather gets too cold at night. There are numerous options offered by the different mountain parks in the area including cabins, RV parks, and tent campgrounds if you want to do it old school.


FALL in love with The High Country!

With all these and so much more to look forward to, you will not have a dull moment all season. The best part is that all these activities are ideal whether you are alone, with your friends, with your family or even visiting as a couple. You just need some warm clothes and an awesome fall attitude, and you are bound to have a blast.

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