While the town of Spruce Pine may contain only 2,000 people, it is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, among some of the most gorgeous natural beauty found in North Carolina. Where exactly is Spruce Pine? It’s located in Mitchell County and is around 50 miles (80.5 km) northeast of Asheville - around an hour long drive, NC, and 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Boone, NC. For those looking to fully explore nature, Blue Ridge Parkway is only 6 miles (9.7 km) away.
Read on to learn about the best things to do in Spruce Pine, North Carolina.
1. Linville Falls
Located off mile marker 316, Linville Falls is the most visited waterfall on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Three tiers of waterfall plunge into the deep, roaring Linville Gorge. There are several trails around the area, but the main one to see the falls is 1.6 miles (2.5 km) round trip and very easy. Come get up close and personal with this natural feature, listening to the roar of the water and feeling the power of the river, or letting your feet dangle into the gorge. This really is one of the best spots in North Carolina.
Website: Linville Falls
2. Linville Caverns
Linville Caverns is a privately owned cavern located just south of Linville Falls. This cavern is open for tours year round and stays a brisk 52 degrees F (11 degrees C) inside no matter the weather. Spend a half-hour learning about the lore of the cave and seeing stalactites, stalagmites, and other cave formations. You may even encounter a bat!
Address: Pisgah National Forest, 19929 US-221, Marion, NC 28752
Website: Linville Caverns
3. The Orchard at Altapass
The Orchard at Altapass has a rich history and is perched right on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They have over 40 apple varieties, from the sour yellow transparent to the sweet king luscious. You can purchase apples in the store, or buy a bag, wander the orchard, and pick your own varieties straight off the tree.
The orchard also focuses on conservation and education. One of the ways they do this is through monarch butterfly preservation. They hatch and raise these butterflies in a controlled environment on the property until they are ready to release, and also work hard to plant milkweed in the area.
Orchard at Altapass
Address: 1025 Orchard Rd, Spruce Pine, NC 28777
Website: Orchard at Altapass
4. Blue Ridge Parkway, Loops Overlook
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic roads in the United States. Visitors drive slowly along winding ‘S’ turns, admiring stunning mountain views along the way. You can stop at any of the many overlooks along the way to admire views and take beautiful photographs.
There are several landmarks, waterfalls, attractions, and other things to see right off of the Parkway – the one nearest Spruce Pine is known as the Loops Overlook. Found at milepost 328.6, this view will allow you to see a beautiful panorama of the mountain ranges making up the Blue Ridge, as well as spot the Clinchfield Railroad tracks.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Website: Blue Ridge Parkway
5. Crabtree Falls
Known as one of the most photogenic waterfalls in the area, Crabtree Falls is a 70-foot (21 m) cascade that tumbles over a rock face with many small ledges. This gives the waterfall a very exquisite, almost dainty, appearance. The hike to view the waterfall is a very moderate 3 mile (5 km) round trip and will take you through a dense wooded forest and lots of wildflowers. The bridge to view the falls runs right over the base, allowing you to be extremely close to this natural beauty.
Website: Crabtree Falls
6. Little Switzerland
Known as the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge Parkway,” Little Switzerland is an unincorporated community nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains that is full of shops, dining, lodging, and things to do. Enjoy a dinner in Mountain View Restaurant surrounded by amazing views, or enjoy a quiet cup of coffee in a bookstore with a homemade canoe in the basement. You may even find a beekeeper selling her honey right outside the door. You can also find homemade treasures, gifts, jewelry, and various arts and crafts. Stop here for a dining and shopping experience you will not be able to find elsewhere.
Website: Little Switzerland
7. Grassy Creek Falls
Located just five minutes from Little Switzerland is the amazing Grassy Creek Falls. After a sloping downhill 1 mile (1.6 km) trip down the path, you will find an alluring, gentle 2-tier waterfall. It is not known as one of the tallest waterfalls in the area, but it is one of the most tranquil and beautiful. When you are done admiring the falls, simply return back the way you came on a gentle uphill path beside the creek and through the forest.
Grassy Creek Falls
Website: Grassy Creek Falls
8. Gem Mountain
Gem mountain began long ago as a working gem mine. Miners came from all around to hunt for a fortune in the mountains in the form of sparkling gemstones. Today, they have two mines still open for public tours. Aquamarine Mine gets its name from the aquamarine gemstone most often found here, and Hoot Owl Mine was once a source for emeralds.
You can also experience flume mining year round. Here you can go through lots of rock in the flume to discover your own treasure. The stones you discover will be inspected free of charge and can also be cut into jewelry by expert gem cutters on site. If all your mining efforts come up dry, you can always purchase beautiful gems inside the gift store.
Address: 13780 NC-226, Spruce Pine, NC 28777
Website: Gem Mountain
9. Museum of North Carolina Minerals
After you’ve had your own fun mining gems, make a stop at the Museum of North Carolina Minerals to learn all about the area’s mineral resources and mining heritage. Explore interactive exhibits describing the history and resources in the area and learn how the Blue Ridge Mountains were created. Admission is free, and the museum is open 7 days a week year round.
Museum of North Carolina Minerals
Address: 79 Parkway Maintenance Rd, Spruce Pine, NC 28777
Website: Museum of NC Minerals
10. Blue Ridge Soap Shed
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Blue Ridge Soap Shed offers 130 varieties of soaps, all handmade completely from scratch. They use ingredients such as tropical oils, herbs, vegetables butters, and goat milk. There are soaps to remove strong scents, repel bugs, and even fight hard to treat skin conditions. All of their soaps are custom-wrapped and come in five different sizes.
Blue Ridge Soap Shed
Address: 179 Meadow View Rd, Spruce Pine, NC 28777
Website: Blue Ridge Soap Shed
11. Attend one of Spruce Pine's festivals
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
You may know that Spruce Pine is labeled “The Mineral City”, you should therefore definitely try to attend NC Mineral and Gem Festival and shop for beautiful gemstones, minerals, fossils, jewelry and more!
NC Mineral and Gem Festival
Dates: August 2 - 5, 2018
Website: NC Mineral and Gem Festival
For those looking for a weekend of music and great food, do check out Spruce Pine BBQ & Bluegrass Festival. Admission is 5 USD per day, and you can enjoy the best of local and regional musicians, delicious BBQ and various other craft vendors.
Spruce Pine BBQ & Bluegrass Festival
Address: Riverside Park across the river from downtown Spruce Pine
Dates: July 20 & 21, 2018
Website: Spruce Pine BBQ & Bluegrass Festival
Interested in blacksmithing? Then do check out Fire On the Mountain - the region’s renowned blacksmith festival and catch nationally-acclaimed blacksmiths demonstrating their skills. There are vendors set up too for you to purchase each blacksmith’s work.
Fire On the Mountain
Address: Dummy Full Address
Facebook: Fire On the Mountain
Discover the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains
Spruce Pine is located in one of the most beautiful areas of the country. Spend some time here and discover all the riches the great outdoors can provide.
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