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Winter Fun in Western North Carolina

Cataloochee Ski Area, NC

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Winter in the mountains of Western North Carolina means snow! Lots of snow! It is a gorgeous landscape of winter white mountains, and all ages will find magic in its beauty. Both young ones and those young at heart can have lots of winter fun here. Even though the weather is cold, there are still lots of things to do both indoors and outdoors all season long.

Enjoy the Outdoors…

Snow makes everything magical. Take the time to be in the moment and savor it! Build a snowman, make a snow angel, or take a stroll in the snow.

4 Great Winter Hikes in Western North Carolina

Contrary to what you may think, winter hiking is popular in Western North Carolina. Many of the popular trails are open, and the hike is a whole new experience in this season. A really cool experience is the state parks’ 1st day hikes.  These are free, park ranger guided hikes on January 1, 2018 in most of the state parks in North Carolina. See the list below for 1st day hikes close to Avalon Mountain Community:

  • Chimney Rock State Park: (55.1 miles from Avalon) This one is a 3 mile hike from 8am to 10am. Meet at the front entrance of the park. While hiking, the park ranger will also talk about the history of the park.
  • Georges State Park: (54.9 miles from Avalon) This hike is a two mile trek on the Upper Bear Wallow Trail, and it starts at 1pm. Meet at the Visitors’ Center to start the hike. While here you’ll want to make the hike to Upper Whitewater Falls, it’s part of the tallest waterfalls on the east coast and it’s spectacular in the winter.
  • Grandfather Mountain State Park: (99.7 miles from Avalon) This hike is a 1.5 mile hike on the new section of the Profile Trail. Meet in the Profile Trail Parking area (Hwy. 105 South) at 1pm.
  • Mitchell State Park: (74.9 miles from Avalon) This one is a shorter ¾ mile hike on the Balsam Nature Trail. Meet at the Upper Summit parking lot at 12pm.

For more NC State Park 1st day hike information, visit NC Parks.

New Year’s Day Resolution Run

Start your new year off with a run. The Asheville New Year’s Day Resolution Run 5K is an annual event. This year’s race will be on January 1, 2018 at 10am, in Pack Square, downtown Asheville, NC. It is a family friendly event, and participants can run or walk. Register now!

Lake Lure Polar Plunge

For the thrill seekers and daring ones, you can go to the Lake Lure Polar Plunge! This is an annual event on January 1st. The name explains it all; you jump in the very cold lake! The plunge happens on the Lake Lure Beach (2724 Memorial Hwy., Lake Lure, NC). Registration for the event is from 9am to 11:30am, and the plunge is at 12pm.  There is also a Dash and Splash Run at 10:30am.  People wear festive costumes and there are bonfires to keep warm.

Skiing in Western North Carolina

If you love outdoor winter sports, or want to give some a try for the first time, Western North Carolina has plenty to choose from. Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and more are close to Avalon Mountain Community, and there are activities for all ages. You can Ski right next door to Avalon at Cataloochee perched above Maggie Valley.

Cataloochee Ski Area

  • 4 miles from Avalon, in Maggie Valley, NC
  • Lessons and equipment rental available
  • Skiing & snowboarding
  • 50 acres
  • Kids ski free

For park hours and snow conditions visit

You’ll also want to be sure to check out these other great Western North Carolina Ski Resorts:

Beech Mountain

  • 5 miles from Avalon, in Beech Mountain, NC
  • Lessons and equipment rental available
  • Ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, & snow tubing

For park hours and snow conditions visit

 Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park

  • 6 miles from Avalon, in Hendersonville, NC
  • Snow tubing only
  • 500 feet of terrain
  • Kids must be at least 36 inches tall to participate

For tubing hours and conditions visit

 Wolf Ridge

  • 1 miles from Avalon, in Mars Hill, NC
  • Lessons and equipment rental available
  • Skiing, snowboarding, & snow tubing
  • Ski runs for all levels

For park hours and snow conditions visit

Western North Carolina Indoor Winter Activities

If you would rather stay inside when the weather outside is cold, winter in Western NC is a great time for local indoor activities, too. Due to cold temperatures, there are fewer tourists at many popular spots, such as Biltmore Estate and area museums. Take advantage of no crowds and revisit a favorite place or try something new. A few unique places to visit follow:

  • Pinball MuseumThis museum contains 75 pinball and classic video games that you are able to play. It is located in downtown Asheville (
  • Antique Car Museum The museum houses all kinds of antique and rare vehicles from the 1920’s and beyond. It is located at Grovewood Village, in north Asheville. (
  • Museum of the Cherokee IndiansThe museum tells the history of the Cherokee Indians and is located in Cherokee, NC (
  • aSHEville MuseumThis is a women’s cultural museum in downtown Asheville, that celebrates positive contributions to society (

Slow Down…

When the snow falls, it is a reminder to slow down. There are lots of fun mountain activities, but there is also winter magic in your own backyard, in Western North Carolina. Stay home, sit by the fire, drink a cup of coffee and admire the winter wonderland right outside your window.

Winter in Western North Carolina is picturesque! If you have never experienced winter in the mountains, you need to do so. It is truly special, and you’ll look forward to the season, year after year.


Whitewater Falls, NC
Whitewater Falls, NC

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