Situated at the foothills of the magnificent Smoky Mountains, Robbinsville, North Carolina is a lively rural mountain town with abundant outdoor recreation opportunities. These nine activities are the can’t miss things to do in the Robbinsville area.
1. Hike to Cheoah Bald on the famous Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail is the United States’ oldest and most famous long distance trail, however, one doesn’t need to commit to a six month journey to experience the beauty of the Appalachians. One of the most scenic sections of the North Carolina portion of the trail is the climb from the Nantahala River to the top of Cheoah Bald, where intrepid hikers are treated to panoramic views of the surrounding area.
This trail is difficult, to say the least, as it covers over 16 miles (25.7 km) of grueling terrain, but the view at the top is certainly worth the effort. For those not up to such a long hike, there are many shorter alternatives along the Appalachian Trail near Robbinsville. It’s just up to you to lace up those hiking boots and hit the trail!
Nantahala River at the Nantahala Outdoor Center
Address: 13077 W Hwy 19, Bryson City, NC 28713
Website: Cheoah Bald Hike Information
2. Drive the scenic Tail of the Dragon section of Highway 129
The Tail of the Dragon is the twisty-curvy section of United States Highway 129 between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest that has long been heralded by motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts as the ultimate drive. With 318 curves, the Tail of the Dragon warrants caution while driving but is sure to be one of the most thrilling drives in the world in a stunning location. Don’t miss your chance to drive on this iconic highway, but remember to drive safely and have a great time on the road.
Tail of the Dragon
Address: US Hwy 129, NC
Website: Tail of the Dragon
3. Visit the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center is located in the old Stecoah Union School building, which operated as the main educational facility in the town throughout the 20th-century. Today, the Arts Center is a hallmark of the town, offering 20 programs to over 10,000 people each year and providing an outlet for local musicians, artists, and performers to share their craft with the local community.
Each year, the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center hosts an annual summer concert series and an assortment of festivals which showcase the best of bluegrass, folk, and old-time mountain music. Additionally, the Arts Center is home to a large collection of decorative and fine arts for visitors to enjoy. A trip to the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center is a must-do for visitors in the area looking to learn more about Robbinsville’s rich history.
Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center
Address: 121 School House Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Website: Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center
4. Raft the Cheoah River
The Cheoah River is the best and most extreme whitewater rafting experience in the southeast United States. Home to a number of steep falls and rapids, the river makes its way across southern North Carolina and culminates in two intense and incredibly steep miles (3.2 km) of whitewater before the final descent into Lake Calderwood. Unless you have extensive whitewater experience, the best way to access the rapids is on a guided adventure, during which, your local guides will make sure you have a great time on the water. If you’re a thrill-seeker, this is the trip for you!
Cheoah River information
Website: American Whitewater - Cheoah River
5. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tour and honey tasting at Wehrloom Honey
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Wehrloom Honey is your one-stop shop for all-natural, raw honey in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. A small, family owned business, Wehrloom Honey is dedicated to cultivating honey the natural way - without treatments, chemicals, or antibiotics - and seeks to raise its bees in the least invasive way possible. While at Wehrloom Honey, you can ask for a guided tour of the grounds and the honey-making process before heading inside to taste the golden sweet stuff and buy some to bring home with you. Wehrloom Honey is the place to go to satiate those Robbinsville area visitors with a sweet tooth.
Address: 257 Willie Colvin Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Website: Wehrloom Honey
6. Stand below giant trees at the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is a magical place, full of giant trees and beautiful wildflowers as far as the eye can see. As you step into the forest, you’ll be amazed by the sheer size of the towering tulip poplars, some of which are almost 450 years old. The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is open to foot traffic only, which preserves the peaceful ambiance of this beautiful landscape. The best way to experience the forest is to walk the two mile long (3.2 km) figure-eight Joyce Kilmer National Recreation Trail. This is an easy hike, suitable for all abilities, and is one you won’t want to miss if you’re in the area.
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
Address: 5410 Joyce Kilmer Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Website: Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
7. Explore the depths of the Tuckaleechee Caverns
A short drive from Robbinsville and just across the state border in Tennessee is the Tuckaleechee Caverns, a series of subterranean caves and waterfalls. Believed to be 20 to 30 million years old, the caverns are the “Greatest Sight under the Smoky Mountains” and are a wonder to behold. The Tuckaleechee Caverns were carved out over millions of years by water erosion and then developed by locals for public tourism purposes throughout the early to mid 1900s. The caverns are open for guided exploration every day from March 15th to November 15th so don’t miss the opportunity to explore the depths of the Smoky Mountains.
Address: 825 Cavern Rd, Townsend, TN 37882
Website: Tuckaleechee Caverns
8. Experience the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the United States’ most popular national parks. Robbinsville, North Carolina sits at the foothills of the park and is a great access point to many of the park’s best sites. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open year round for self-guided and ranger-led adventures.
One of the most popular sites in the park is Clingman’s Dome, the park’s high point at 6,643 feet (2,024 m). A paved trail leads the way to an observation tower at the summit, though the Appalachian trail also crosses the mountain for those looking for a bit more of an adventure. Whatever you choose to do in the park, it’s sure to be a good time with great views of the surrounding area.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Address: Clingmans Dome Rd, Bryson City, NC 28713
Website: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
9. Enjoy the water at Lake Santeetlah
Located in the Nantahala National Forest, Lake Santeetlah is the perfect place to enjoy some water-based fun while in Robbinsville. The town of Lake Santeetlah is home to only 50 permanent residents, but recreation opportunities are plentiful around this remote lake. The lake is open to pontoon boat, ski boat, and kayak traffic and offers great fishing and camping opportunities. Boat rentals are available at the Santeetlah Marina and campsites are abundant for those looking for an overnight adventure at the lake. Lake Santeetlah is a great spot to enjoy the water during the hot and humid summer months and is a fantastic day trip for the entire family.
Address: 1 Marina Dr, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Website: Santeetlah Marina
Experience the best of Robbinsville
The best way to experience Robbinsville is to head outside and into the mountains, lakes, and streams that make the area so beautiful. During your next trip to Robbinsville, don’t miss these nine great activities which are sure to give you the ultimate North Carolina mountain experience.
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