Attractions in McDowell County

Andrews Geyser
Mill Creek Road
Old Fort, NC 28762
Built in 1879 as a tourism attraction, Andrews Geyser was an eye-catching site for visitors reaching Old Fort by train during the late 19th century. The geyser was part of the property surrounding the Round Knob Hotel. During those...

Armstrong Creek
Armstrong Creek
3640 Ft./6 mile trail. Primitive hiking on Armstrong Fish Hatchery Rd. Trail begins past hatchery parking lot. Easy-moderate.

Bad Fork
Bad Fork  2940 Ft. /8 Miles. Primitive trail connects Woods Mountain & Armstrong Creek Trails. NC 226-A to Armstrong Fish Hatchery Rd. 3 miles to trail head on left. Moderate.

Betsy Ridge
3160 Ft./9 Mile Trail. Black Mountains view, meets Little Buck Creek Trail ending at Woods Mountain Trail. US 221 North, left on Tom's Creek Road. Right onto first dirt road, head is second road on left. Easy-Moderate.

Biltmore Estates

What began as my great-grandfather’s estate continues to thrive as a timeless experience for today’s guests. Since 1895, Biltmore has had the natural beauty of the mountains and the majestic house and gardens to beguile us, inspire us, and allow us to escape from the everyday.

Blue Ridge Parkway
A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other, a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands.

Buck Creek
Buck Creek Road
Marion, NC 28762
(Game land section) 200 yards along NC 80 also light fishing pressure.

Buck Creek Trout Farm
74 Rainbow Trout Drive
Marion, NC 28752
The catch-out pond is a wonderful place for family fun and group outings. Fishing poles, bait, and ice provided. Any age or skill level. No fishing license is required. Trout cleaned for a small fee, or facilities available to clean your own....

Catawba Falls
The Headwaters of the Catawba River and protected by conservation easements, this 340 foot cascade includes an upper and lower falls with an upper 70 foot plunge. Exit I-40, #73, turn left, travel under interstate and take an immediate right...

Catawba River
Catawba River Road
Old Fort, NC 28762
(Head waters are on game lands) Below the water falls are designated trout waters, stream is tight but fishable. Public access is through the Catawba Falls. River is stocked from Catawba Falls Campground through Old Fort picnic area.

Catawba River Greenway
Highway 70
Marion, NC 28752
Beautiful, paved surface following the flow of the spectacular Catawba River. Phase I of the greenway is complete and is handicapped accessible. You'll find the tree lined pathway opens to benches, two fishing decks that are also...

Chimney Rock Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park offers the best of the Blue Ridge Mountains in one place. Marvel at spectacular 75-mile views of Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Foothills or let your cares fade away in the cool mist of 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, featured in The Last of the Mohicans.

Curtis Creek
Curtis Creek Road
Old Fort, NC 28752
Rushing trout stream with handicapped access overlook on left side of road as you approach the recreation area. Thousands of protected acres are within the Pisgah Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service lands. The first track of land...

Elliott's Trout Pond
6885 Buck Creek Road
Marion, NC 28752
Buck Creek Rd. (NC 80) South of Mountain Stream RV Park.

Fishing On Lake James
608 Lake James Road
Marion, NC 28752
All Wildlife Resources commission regulations apply. A fishing license is required. Cool, deep waters and warm surface waters provide a variety of sport fishing. Large Mouth & Small Mouth Bass, Walleye, White Bass, Bluegill, Robin, Catfish,...

Grandfather Mountain
The original Cherokee name for the mountain was “Tanawha,” meaning “a fabulous hawk or eagle.” It was named “Grandfather” by pioneers who recognized the face of an old man in one of the cliffs. Many vantage points reveal different faces, so there is no one official profile of the mountain, but the most popular can be seen from the community of Foscoe, seven miles north of Linville and 10 miles south of Boone on N.C. 105

Harris Creek Trout Pond
Huskins Branch Road
On Huskins Branch Road, off US 221 North.

Hickory Branch Trail Falls
Views of 20 foot waterfall can be seen from this trail at U.S. Forest Service campground, Curtis Creek Recreation Area. Approximately 2 miles east of Old Fort take U.S. 70 to Curtis Creek Road, turn left. Go 4 miles to campground, trail head is...

Kitsuma Peak
Breath taking views along Kitsuma Trail and Young's Ridge. This one is not for the faint of heart! Mountain bike and hiking trail, steep terrain. Extend the ride/hike by linking to Point Lookout Trail. Accessible from the...

Lake James State Park
6883 Highway 126
Nebo, NC 28761
At the base of Linville Gorge you will find a 6,812 acre lake with more than 150 miles of shoreline. Scenic vistas of the Appalachian Mountains with two state parks wooded acres for picnicking, swimming, canoeing, camping and hiking....

Lightning Lanes Bowling Alley
622 Finley Road
Marion, NC 28752
Next door to Ivan's Restaurant and McDowell Sports Complex at 622 Finley Road in Marion.

Linville Falls
Most popular waterfall in the Blue Ridge with three tiered waterfall plunging into Linville Gorge. Exit Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 316.3. Falls trail distance 1.6 miles, easy; Gorge Trail is 1.4 miles and is strenuous; Plunge Basin Trail is...

Linville Falls Golf Club
210 Blue Ridge Drive
Marion, NC 28752
Public golf course, 18 holes with stunning views mountain and stream views. Located just off of Highway 221 in the heart of the Pisgah National Forest. The golf course at Linville Falls originally opened in 1995 based on a layout created...

Linville Gorge Wilderness Area
Highways 221 and 183
The "Grand Canyon of the East." Primitive recreation in a wild and isolated terrain. Strenuous hiking, back packing, rock-climbing and fishing for native trout. Stretches of virgin forest, rare and endangered species, assortment of...

Little Buck Creek
Buck Creek Road
Marion, NC 28752
(Game lands portion) 4 miles with tight creek well stocked.

Mackey Creek
Mackey Creek Road
Old Fort, NC 28752
(Game lands section) Very light fishing pressure.

Mackey Mountain
Curtis Creek Road
Old Fort, NC 28762
This trail is located in a bear sanctuary. Take appropriate precautions on trail. Spectacular views. U.S. 70, east of Old Fort to Curtis Creek road, turning left. Trail head is 9 miles at entrance of Sugar Cove Road. Distance 16 miles,...

Marion Lake Club
2030 NC Hwy. 126
Nebo, NC 28761
Established in 1923 and designed by Russell Breeden, Marion Lake Club is the only golf course on Lake James and is known for its spectacular views of Short Off Mountain and the Linville Gorge. This is a public/private 18 hole course and...

Mill Creek at Mountain Gateway Museum
102 Water Street
Old Fort, NC 28762
Mill Creek bordering the grounds of Mountain Gateway Museum is available to the public and is part of the N.C. Wildlife "loaner" program. Click link for more details. Also, the stocked portion between Mountain Gateway...

Mount Mitchell State Park
2388 State Highway 128
Burnsville, NC 28714
There are a few places in the world that still stand apart from the ordinary. Rising more than a mile high, surrounded by the gentle mist of low-hanging clouds, Mount Mitchell State Park is one of these extraordinary places.In the crest of the...

Mountains to the Sea Trail
Two segments of this 700 mile route are in McDowell County. The Craggy Pinnacle segment follows the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville past Buck Creek Gap at NC 80 to Little Switzerland. The route includes a 14 mile steep downhill grade. The Brown...

Newberry Creek
Newberry Creek Road
Old Fort, NC 28752
Game lands portion - 3 miles

Newberry Creek
4300 Ft/5 Miles. Scenic trail ends at Blue Ridge Parkway. Take US 70 West to Curtis Creek turning right. Left at Newberry Creek Road (FS 482-A). Go 4 miles to end & trail head begins at end of road. Easy -moderate.

North Fork Catawba River
Hghway 221 North
Linville Falls, NC 28772
(North Cove School at S.R. 1569) 11 miles very well stocked with easy access near headwaters, nice holdovers in lower sections. The North Fork has its headwaters on Humpback Mountain below the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a small shallow stream that...

Old Fort Bradley Park
26 East Main
Old Fort, NC 28762
Public park with picnic table, benches, garden areas in the heart of downtown Historic Old Fort. Bradley Park is directly across from the Old Fort Depot and Arrowhead. Watch for local events including musical performances in the gazebo. Located...

Old Fort Depot, Railroad Museum & Visitor Center
25 West Main Street
Old Fort, NC 28762
828-668-4282 or 888-233-6111
Old Fort's train depot is in the heart of town. Located directly behind the historic "Arrowhead" it serves as a railroad museum and visitor center. Hours are Monday - Saturday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Click the...

Old Fort Golf Course
1001 Golf Course Rd
Old Fort, NC 28762
Public, 9 hole, Par 72 course. Western North Carolina's highest rated 9 hole course. Tee times and carts not required. From I-40, exit 73 and turn south on Bat Cave Road. Left onto Old Fort-Sugar Hill Road and left onto Golf Course Road.

On The Fly Guide Service
24 N. McDowell Avenue
Marion, NC 28752
Providing everything you need to enjoy an authentic, mountain fly-fishing experience. A variety of packages are available.

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
Historic trail covering four states and 300 miles runs through McDowell County between Lake James and the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are 57 accessible miles of trail. Begin on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the North Carolina Mineral Museum, Milepost...

Point Lookout Trail
Old Highway 70
Old Fort, NC 28762
Non-motorized trail, formerly a portion of Old U.S. Highway 70. In October of 2008, this portion was re-paved and opened to the public as a hiking and cycling trail ascending approximately 900 feet and 3.75 miles. Open year-round. ...

The Lucky Strike Gold & Gem Mine
Lucky Strike Drive
Vein Mountain, NC 28752
Gold & gemstone mine open year round. Campsites with hookups, Miner's Diner, restrooms, shower facilities.

Tom's Creek Falls
Huskins Branch Road
Marion, NC 28762
7 miles north of Marion on U.S. 221, turn left onto Huskins Branch Road, just before Woodlawn Motel. Go 1.5 miles and park on right at gravel lot before small bridge. Trail head begins at lot. Trail will fork, follow left creek. Gentle falls in...

Wild Trout Waters
Mackey Creek Road
Old Fort, NC 28752
No closed season. Daily creek limit is 4 with minimum size of 7". Lures are restricted to artificial lures with one single hook only. Public Trout Streams - (Catch and Release Artificial Lures Only Waters -Season is year round. Fish may...

YMCA of Western NC
348 Grace Corpening Dr.
Marion, NC 28752
Visiting members of the Y will enjoy the indoor pool, indoor basketball & handball courts, and workout room. Located off Sugar Hill Road in Marion. For rmation call 828-652-9622.