The Southwest

High Arch Bridge, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, crosses West Fork Pigeon River at Sunburst Falls in Pisgah National Forest.

Transylvania County proudly calls itself the Land of Waterfalls. The county easily contains more significant waterfalls than any other county in the state (perhaps more than any county in the East). Some estimates suggest as many as five hundred major waterfalls, but that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The neighboring counties of Jackson and Macon have hundreds of major waterfalls as well, and when you factor in all the other mountain counties in the region, this truly is a Land of Waterfalls.

The region offers much more than falling water, though. Much of the land comprises one of two national forests, Nantahala and Pisgah. Mix in DuPont State Forest, Gorges State Park, Chimney Rock State Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and you have the recipe for unlimited outdoor recreation and scenic opportunities. A particularly appealing attribute of southwest North Carolina is that many (though not all) of its towns lack the gaudiness brought about by the rise in tourism. Either it hasn’t caught up with them yet, or they have made conscious efforts to keep it at bay.

The routes in this section lead you through some of the best areas not just in North Carolina but in the whole southern Appalachians.


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