Category Archives: Things To Do In The Smokies

Hike with Friends of the Smokies


Friends of the Smokies is a not-for-profit organization in partnership with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  They have helped the park not only maintain the trails and recreational areas, but they help foot the bill as well.  Friends of the Smokies has raised over $34 million through individual, corporate and foundation contributions, special events, and sales of specialty license plates in Tennessee and North Carolina.  The team works to preserve, protect, and provide for this national treasure.

The group also leads hikes through the park. Full day hikes are the 2nd Tuesday of every month. The next one is August 12th. This hike will highlight the Appalachian Trail. Join Friends as they journey to Charlies Bunion. Round trip the hike is 8 miles and ascends 1,800ft in elevation. What better way to see the park than with a knowledgeable guide who shares a love for the outdoors?

To join this Classic Hike of the Smokies a $10 donation for Friends members and $35 for non-members is requested to benefit the Trails Forever Fund.

To register for any of this year’s hikes, contact Brent McDaniel at or call (828) 452-0720.

2014 Classic Hikes of the Smokies

August 12: Charlies Bunion
via Appalachian Trail
8 miles, 1,800 ft ascent
Featuring support for Appalachian Trail
Highlights: Spectacular views
September 9: Clingmans Dome
via Mountains-to-Sea Trail
7.2 miles, 1,600 ft ascent
Featuring support for the Trails Forever Fund
Highlights: Panoramic vistas
October 14: Pretty Hollow Gap
8 miles, 1,500 ft ascent
Featuring support for wildlife management
Highlights: Elk rut and stunning fall color
November 11: Deep Creek Circular
9 miles, 1,600 ft ascent
Featuring support for trout management
Highlights: Beautiful waterfalls
December 9: Kephart Prong
4 miles, 300 ft ascent
Featuring support for environmental education
Highlights: Historic CCC camp structures

City Lights Cafe

city lights cafe

Not far from Bryson City is the quaint little town of Sylva, NC. Located in the historical downtown area you’ll find several great places for music, food, and libations. City Lights Cafe is on the bottom level of City Lights Bookstore. The cafe serves local and organic food and coffee. On weekends, the sound of local music dances through the building. The walls are decorated with the works of a different local artist every month! So go in and support live music! Enjoy the best of our locality.

Regularly Scheduled Events:

EVERY THURSDAY Thirsty Thursday – A Buck Off all glasses of wine, and beer!

4th Tuesdays – Yappy Hour with Pets on the Patio from 6-9.

3rd ThursdaysCoffee with the Poet in the
Bookstore – 10:30 am

Saturday MorningsStory Time in the Bookstore – 11 am

Event Calendar:

May 2 – Songwriters Liz and Aj Nance 7-9pm

May 11 – Mother’s Day Brunch 9am-3pm

May 16 – Sai Collins

May 23 – Productive Paranoia

May 25 – Dakota Wadell

May 31 – Brad Austin




Fresh Ingredients

farmer's marketThe Swain County Farmer’s Market starts up again this Friday, May 2. Offering the best of WNC’s freshest vegetables, local honey, homemade jam, fresh baked bread, herbal remedies and handmade crafts.

Visit the Swain County Tailgate Market in Bryson City in the parking lot behind the old courthouse at the intersection of Everett Street and Main Street. They meet every Friday from 9am-1pm.

Here on vacation? Here’s your chance to get a true taste of Western North Carolina. Pick up organic veggies for grillin’ or fresh baked muffins to enjoy with your coffee. The market is also a great place for meeting local farmers and making new friends.

Get Your Fill

filling stationAfter almost 8 years  of serving Bryson City, The Filling Station has expanded! The original menu is the same, with lots of tasty hot pressed sandwiches, homemade soup and fresh salads with delicious dressings to go along with them. The expansion is called “Seats and Sweets”. That’s right! You can now sit down and eat.  The sweet part of the expansion continues on in the spirit of a true sandwich shop with frozen soft serve served between two cookies. The cookies are made in house! The dessert menu offers a large variety of flavors and options and like always, if you don’t see something you want, they’ll make it for you! Go for lunch and fill up with one of their classics like the Ethyl, Diesel, or No Lead. Then step to the counter and order a fix for your sweet tooth with something like a “Grab My Keys”, which is key lime soft serve on graham cookies. You can have it “hard top”, right out of the freezer or “convertible”, open faced and covered in whipped cream and sauce.

So go grab a seat! Hang out! Eat! They’ll treat ya like family even if it’s your first time there.





Black Balsam Knob

art loebBlack Balsam Knob is a point of interest on the Art Loeb Trail in Pisgah National Forest. The trailhead for this hike is on Forest Service Road 816,  around milepost 420 on the Blueridge Parkway. There are two places to access the trail from this road. Park where the Art Loeb Trail crosses the road and take the trail to the right for a short 1/2 mile hike up to the top. You will gain about 400 feet in elevation. The trail winds over ridge lines and several grassy mountain balds to the knob. From the top enjoy views of Cold Mountain to the north, Looking Glass Rock to the southeast, and Shining Rock and Mount Pisgah to the northeast. On very clear days, Mount Mitchell can be seen 45 miles northeast. The balds and knobs along the Art Loeb make great places to fly a kite. I can’t think of a better way to spend a breezy spring day!

The Art Loeb Trail continues on into the Shining Rock Wilderness beyond Black Balsam. The trails aren’t marked and get tricky from here. Make sure to take a map, compass and a friend!

Noland Creek Trail

noland creekHave a little extra time after enjoying breakfast in your mountain cabin?  Enjoy a day hike on  Noland Creek Trail  in Bryson City. While the trail totals 10.2 miles,  from the parking lot and trailhead located on Lakeview Drive , known as “The Road to Nowhere” by the locals, you can turn this into a leisurely 3 mile hike.  Once you enter the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the parking lot will be on the left hand side just before the bridge.  Next to the bridge, also on the left, you will see the sign for Noland Creek Trail. This is a short downhill connecting trail, from the t-intersection, go left (or south) to follow Noland Creek downstream to its end at Lake Fontana.  A very peaceful hike with several bridges crossing the creek. The path is easy and mostly flat, with the exception of the connecting trail.

Enjoyed the short hike and need a little more? Go north on Noland Creek trail. This is a gradual uphill hike into the Smokies that rises above the creek and eventually meets up with Noland Divide Trail at Upper Sassafras Gap which can be taken down to the Deep Creek area.

Noland Creek is a great place for trout fishing and camping. Make sure you have all of the proper permits and licenses. This trail is also open to horseback riders. The trail is well maintained and wide enough for everyone!

Act 1 Scene 1

smctheatreSeen a good play lately? Have you ever seen a live play? A cast bringing to life a story right before your eyes? No camera magic required. Bryson City is home to the Smoky Mountain Community Theatre, a non-profit organization that is volunteer driven. The shows that take the stage here are top notch. Lots of hard work and dedication are put into each one. From selection of scripts to choosing a cast, Smoky Mountain Community Theater puts a lot of time and effort in to bringing quality entertainment to downtown Bryson. The next production is “Painting Churches” opening Friday,  May 9th.  So make it a date night! Check our their website or visit their facebook page for more info about show dates and times.

Spring Color Fun Run

color runSaturday, April 12th Bryson City will be hosting the Spring Color Fun Run. This is a non-timed 5k open to runners of all ages. Walk, run or jog! The course is easy and there will be a color station set up at every kilometer. Each time a station is passed another bright color will be thrown into the path. Runners wearing white will leave the race with a one-of-a-kind race t-shirt. The race is a fundraiser for the rotary club. Register online now to save $5 or register the day of the race. There will be a family friendly after party at the races end with live music by The Grove Band.

Music on Tap Series at NBC

nbc music and salesLooking for some good music this weekend? Nantahala Brewing Company hosts two nights of music, part of their Music on Tap concert series.

Friday, April 11th is The DuPont Brothers, bringing folky Americana music down from their home in Burlington, Vermont. “Lush finger-style guitar work is complimented by elegant prose and a vocal blend that could only be matched by blood relation.”

Saturday, April 12th The Grove Band will rock the stage. See what happens when people from all walks of life find a common ground in music and connecting with people.

Both bands start at 8pm. Music continues until 10pm.

The brewery doesn’t serve food, just finely made craft beer. However, they do have menus for restaurants within walking distance. Call in a to-go order and eat while you enjoy a cold beverage and good music. Dogs and children are welcome!


Devil’s Courthouse

devil's couthouseDevil’s Courthouse is an Appalachian mountain located at milepost 422.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can enjoy a picnic and the view of the mountain from the overlook parking lot where there is a picnic table or walk the moderate half mile hike to its peak of 5,720ft. The trail is very steep but partially paved. Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia can all be seen from the top on a clear day. There are plaques at the summit showing which mountains and ranges you are viewing in the distance.

This is a great place to get out and stretch your legs. It is short enough to add to a long list of short hikes to make time for along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We did this hike in the same day as our Frying Pan Mountain hike.