The Best Things To Do In Mars Hill, North Carolina

things to do in mars hill north carolina
| 3 min read

A small town not far from Asheville, and only 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) from the Tennessee border, Mars Hill is a centerpiece of music and art culture that also offers a variety of seasonal outdoor activities. Known for its autumn Heritage Festival, which is all about mountain arts—including clog dancing—this picturesque southern town makes for an idyllic getaway. Book a stay in an Airbnb vacation rental in Mars Hill and experience a one-of-a-kind adventure. Complete your getaway by trying these best things to do in Mars Hill, North Carolina.

1. Explore Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jeff Gunn used under CC BY 2.0

You may have never heard of this forest, but it’s actually over 500,000 acres (202,342 hectares); it’s so large that it’s divided into three separate districts - Grandfather, Appalachian, and Pisgah - and intersects with the Appalachian Trail. There are short trails, long trails, trails full of wilderness, rhododendron blooms, waterfalls, and mountains; you could hike for thousands of miles! And as a bonus, you could visit Cold Mountain (the mountain after which Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain is named), and of course Mt. Pisgah, from which the forest is named. There are plenty of recreational activities, from hiking and rock climbing, to fishing and full service camping/RV-ing.

Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah Ranger District)

Address: 1001 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

Price: None to enter

Opening Hours: Pisgah District Ranger Station Visitor Center: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm, holidays and Saturdays 9:00am - 5:00pm, Sundays noon - 5:00pm

Contact: +1 8288773350 or +1 8288773265

Website: Pisgah National Forest or Asheville Guidebook

Note: See site for contact information of other districts.

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2. Ski at the Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

ski resort
Source: Pixabay

If you like skiing, snowboarding, or tubing, you should check out the Wolf Ridge Ski Resort when winter rolls around. Wolf Ridge boasts, “Whether you are a beginner or expert, long-time regular or first-time visitor, you are certain to find exactly what you are looking for at North Carolina’s premier snow sport facility!” They have a total of 15 ski runs, and they even have town home rentals available.

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

Address: 578 Valley View Circle, Mars Hill, NC 28754

Price: from 28 USD for a half-day pass for adults 18-64; prices vary - please see site for more information.

Opening Hours: Projected Season: Thanksgiving to mid March (weather permitting) Hours Of Operation: Open Sunday 9am - 4:30pm, Monday - Saturday 9am - 10pm. Open Sunday nights December 18th, January 15th, February 19th. Slopes are closed between 4:30 pm & 6:00 pm each evening. Christmas Holiday Hours: Christmas Eve hours are 9:00 am - 4:30 pm. Closed Christmas Day.

Contact: +1 8008174111 or +1 8286894111

Website: Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

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3. Rent an awesome cabin (from 251-286 USD)

Cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brian Stansberry used under CC BY 3.0

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, then why not stay somewhere awesome? You could rent a pioneer cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, staying on site with the owners and touring the land. Or, you could stay in the Hobbit House Micro Castle! This 850 square foot (79 sq. m), three story castle inspired by Lord of the Rings can only be rented through HomeAway or Carolina Mornings, and features stunning views, remarkable craftsmanship, and a cozy, rustic atmosphere - all 4,000 feet (1,219 m) above sea level in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There’s even a tower loft, a fully equipped kitchen, and a hot tub. You can also bring pets for an extra fee. It certainly gets my vote! (P.S. Check out the booking page for some really cool pictures.)

Hobbit House Micro Castle

Address: 160 Mystic Ridge Drive

Price: from 251-286 USD

Number of Guests: sleeps 6

Contact: +1 8553980712

Carolina Mornings

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4. Hike to Big Bald

Big Bald Mountain - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thomson M used under CC BY 3.0

Known for its grassy peak and lofty panoramic views, Big Bald is actually “located along the Appalachian Trail on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina,” and “offers 360-degree panoramic views of the Smokies, Mount Mitchell, and Unaka Mountain.” Its summit is 5,516 feet (1,681 m), the views are truly endless. It’s a sight you won’t want to miss.

Big Bald Mountain

Price: None

Opening Hours: Daylight hours, year-round

Access: “From Asheville, NC or Erwin, TN take I-26 to NC exit 3 and follow the signs to Wolf Laurel Ski Resort. Check in with security at the Wolf Laurel gate, then proceed straight on Wolf Laurel Road for 1.7 miles (2.7 km). Turn left on Big Bald Road and continue up the mountain for two more miles (the last 1.3 miles will be gravel). Park in the cul-de-sac at the gate and proceed on foot past the gate for ¼ mile where the gravel road will intersect with the AT. Big Stamp is on the right and Big Bald is on the left.” Always hike the trailhead.

Website: Big Bald

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5. Stop by Mars Hill College

Montague Hall (Rural Heritage Museum), Mars Hill University, Mars Hill, NC (46681720561)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Warren LeMay used under CC0

No matter what your age, this quaint college is worth a visit; even if you just walk around campus, admiring the buildings. You can attend a show if there’s one going on, or stop by the library or Rural Heritage Museum.

Rural Heritage Museum

Address: P.O. Box 6705, Mars Hill, NC 28754

Opening Hours: 11:00am - 5:00pm Tuesday through Sunday; closed Mondays, and open all year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Good Friday, and Easter

Contact: +1 8286891400

Website: Mars Hill College/University

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6. Bike in the Bailey Mountain Bike Park

Bike Park
Source: Pixabay

The land of this park is specifically constructed for downhill mountain biking, and “features over 1000 vertical feet of elevation otherwise unheard of in the Southeast. Loaded with a multitude of hardwood trees and giant boulders […] the natural landscape will appeal to the rider and spectator alike.” The park recommends that you make a reservation before riding; they also highly recommend that you wear a full-face helmet and other protective gear, and bring food and water. Visit their site for other information and details about races.

Bailey Mountain Bike Park

Address: 1370 Bone Camp Road, Marshall, NC 28753

Price: from 35 USD for a park pass; see site for rental information

Opening Hours: Saturday & Sunday 11:00am - 5:00pm

Contact: +1 8557433962

Website: Bailey Mountain Bike Park

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7. See a show by The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you’re in town anytime from May through August, be sure to catch a show performed by the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART), which has been around for 42 seasons. They are “supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the state of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts.” Visit their website for shows, showtimes, and dates.

Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre

Address: P.O.Box 1720 / 44 College Street , Mars Hill, NC 28754

Tickets: from 15 - 25 USD

Showtimes: 7:30pm; 2:30pm matinee

Contact: Business Office: +1 8286891384; Box Office: +1 8286891239

Website: Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre

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8. Visit the Wolf Laurel Country Club

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

You can find accommodations here, you can golf here (or take golf lessons), and if you’re a member, there’s a plethora of other activities. The golf course is a challenging 18 holes, and is surrounded by forest and mountain views, making for a scenic golf game. “Designed in 1965 by W.B. Lewis, the course rises and falls from 3,600 feet (1,097 m) to 4,800 feet (1,463 m) in elevation,” you can play here almost year-round (just not in the winter). They also have stables in The Preserves where you can take a guided horseback ride or riding lessons. Plus, its ideal location makes it a nice distance from other area attractions, such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Biltmore Estate, the Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, and more.

Wolf Laurel Country Club

Address: 2607 Wolf Laurel Road, Mars Hill, NC 28754

Contact: +1 8286809771

Website: Wolf Laurel Country Club

Wolf Laurel Stables

Address: 5860 Bald Mountain Road, Burnsville, NC 28714

Price: from 38 USD for 1 hour (price goes down if you add more hours)

Duration: 1 - 4 hour rides

Contact: +1 8286789370 (Call for reservation)

Website: Wolf Laurel Stables

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A heritage to remember

Whether you want enjoy all that North Carolina’s nature has to offer, try your hand at a new outdoor activity, stay somewhere unique, or immerse yourself in arts and music, the town of Mars Hill truly has something for everyone. Plus, its easy access to Asheville and other small towns make it the perfect place to enjoy yourself.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Devin is a dedicated writer whose heart is intertwined with his love for travel and history. Through his journeys, he has embraced the vast array of experiences and the rich tapestry of the past,...Read more

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