Hot Springs, NC
Hot Springs, NC is one of the many hidden gems of Western North Carolina. A rich tapestry of tradition and excitement, Hot Springs offers its visitors a memorable experience that won't soon be forgotten. With activities ranging from hiking and rafting to strolling the quaint downtown and soaking in the restorative powers of the hot mineral springs that give the town its name, visitors to the area will find all the ingredients for a wonderful mountain vacation.
Things To Do:
Soak in the Hot Springs
The Hot Springs Spa is one of the area's most invigorating and relaxing locations to experience the natural amenities of the mountains. Heated deep within the earth, the carbonated mineral waters are world famous for their legendary healing powers. Piped into modern outdoor tubs that are positioned along the peaceful banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River, the waters are harnessed to be experienced and enjoyed on this fantastic 100 acre Resort and Spa. Nationally certified and state licensed massage therapists are on hand to offer the next step in luxury.
A History of Healing
The Hot Mineral Springs were discovered by a group of mountaineer settlers in the late 18th century. Artifacts uncovered at the site indicate that the Cherokee Indians used these springs for their curative powers for many years before the settlers arrived. The town of Hot Springs was formed around these springs, beginning with a tavern in 1788. It became a popular stopping point for travelers during the American Revolution and for the drovers herding livestock on the road from Greenville, TN to Greenville, SC. Over the next 200+ years, Hot Springs, NC would develop into a popular destination for rest and relaxation. That tradition is continued today with the many amenities offered by businesses centered in the town.
Hot Springs is a hiking hot spot! Not only does the Appalachian Trail run right through the town, but the rich landscape surrounding the town lends itself perfectly to both hiking and climbing. There are hundreds of options for hikers beginning their adventure in Hot Springs and it would be impossible for us to list all of our favorites, but we've highlighted a few that we're sure you'll enjoy!
Jack Branch Trail
A 5 mile round trip hike, Jack Branch Trail is a moderate to difficult trail that rewards hikers with stunning views of both Hot Springs and the French Broad River. Climbing 2900 feet, Jack Branch is worth every bit of exertion as the valley views from the top are some of the best in the area. To access this trail from downtown Hot Springs, travel East on 25/70 across the French Broad River Bridge. Make a left at River Road and continue on until Murray Branch Road. The trail head is situated off of the parking lot at Murray Branch Picnic Area. Hikers are welcome and encouraged to take advantage of the amenities offered by the park.
Lover's Leap Loop Trail
A moderate 1.6 mile trail, Lover's Leap Loop is a scenic, steadily climbing trail that ascends Lover's Leap Ridge. Panoramic views of the French Broad River and the town of Hot Springs make this a major attraction for hikers and visitors to the area. To access this trail from downtown Hot Springs, follow 25/70 East for .5 miles before turning left onto Silvermine Road. Take the first left to continue following Silvermine Road. Just past the bridge, you'll see a trailhead for the Silvermine trail. Continue walking down the road, passing the Silvermine Trail, and get on the Appalachian Trail, which is marked with white blazes. Once on the trail, markers indicating Lover's Loop will be easy to spot.
Laurel River Trail
A 7 mile out and back hike rated "easy", Laurel River Trail is a beautiful scenic hike that features wildflowers, old swimming holes, and crumbling stone foundations overtaken by forest foliage. It follows an old railroad bed along the Laurel River. To access this trail from downtown Hot Springs, head northeast on 25/70 toward Meadow Lane. Continue following for 5.2 miles until the intersection of US 25/70 and NC 208 . Parking is plentiful at this intersection and the trail head is situated off the parking lot.
The Communities of Western North Carolina love to celebrate. That's why there are hundreds of festivals all year round located in both our biggest cities and our smallest towns. Hot Springs, NC plays host to several annual festivals - each one guarantees a good time, great music, delicious food, and excellent company. Below are some of our favorite Hot Springs, NC festivals.
The Trailfest in Hot Springs NC is an annual event that has taken place in the heart of downtown Hot Springs since 1995. Celebrating the Appalachian Trail (it runs right down the center of the town!), hikers, and the outdoors in general, the festival seeks to embrace the town's very high honor of being the only literal "trail town" on the AT. Festival goers can expect delicious food, the company of outdoor lovers, local art, local music, and a beautiful setting along the French Broad River.
French Broad River Festival
The French Broad River Festival is a classic example of just how dedicated Western North Carolina residents are to preserving the magic of the river and its surrounding environment. Once a year in May, people from near and far gather in Hot Springs to enjoy local music, local art, and the French Broad River. The festival is about getting together in a wonderful place to have a wonderful time, but in equal parts it is about giving back to organizations that support our local communities - since the festival's inception, over $100,000 has been donated to local area charities, including American Whitewater, Manna Food Bank, Families Together, and so many more.
Bluff Mountain Festival
The Bluff Mountain Festival takes place yearly on the grounds of the Hot Springs Resort and Spa. A daylong outdoor festival, Bluff Mountain seeks to celebrate the rich cultural history of Madison County. Traditional bluegrass musicians, clog dancers, and traditional ballad singers take center stage in this fantastic event. Originally begun to prevent logging on Bluff Mountain, the core values of community and environmental preservation remain strong - today, proceeds from the festival benefit the Madison County Arts Council.
Wild Goose Festival
The Wild Goose Festival is a community event focused on justice, spirituality, music and art that takes place over 4 days in July in downtown Hot Springs. The inspiration for the festival has roots in the concepts of unpredictability, beauty, and grace and as such, it is an ever fluid event that surprises and delights year after year. A family friendly event, festival goers can expect to laugh with locals and visitors alike, to dance to a wide variety of musical genres, and to sample the amazing wares of local area artists.
River Sports are some of the most popular of all Western North Carolina attractions. The French Broad River runs through the heart of Hot Springs, NC - making it a river sport mecca for beginners and pros alike! Whether you prefer a kayak to a raft, a canoe to a fishing pole, Hot Springs has the resources for you to experience all the joy that goes hand in hand with a mountain vacation.
Whitewater Rafting is one of the most invigorating sports that we know of and Hot Springs, NC is a mecca for those who love the rush. The section of the river that runs through Hot Springs has the most whitewater of the entire river with rapids ranging from Class 1 to Class 4. There are several rafting companies that offer guided trips and visitors will find the experience - and the scenery - truly unforgettable!
Float the River
For those more interested in a calm and leisurely afternoon on the French Broad, tubing is an excellent activity for all. Typically 4-6 miles in length, float trips are a great way to take it slow and absorb the beauty of Western North Carolina. Deep pools can be found all along the way, just perfect for taking a dip before continuing on the journey.
Fish the River
In the 1970's, the NC Wildlife Commission introduced smallmouth bass and some fingerling muskies to the French Broad River. They flourished, and fishermen have been enjoying the catch for decades. Today, the French Broad River boasts one of the premier smallmouth bass fisheries in North Carolina and has the honor of being ranked in the top four best rivers for smallmouth bass. Other fish in abundance are catfish and muskie and there are many, many points along the river where fishermen can wade in and get to catching!
Canoe or Kayak the River
Canoeing or kayaking the river is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the French Broad River and its banks. There are sections of the river in the Hot Springs area for people of all skill levels, so whether you're looking for a rushing section to get the adrenaline pumping or a calmer section to slow down and take in the extraordinary surroundings, the Hot Springs section of the French Broad River has what you're looking for.
Where To Stay
Renting a vacation home in Hot Springs is an excellent choice for families, friends, or couples looking to experience the beauty of Western North Carolina. The small town charm, the close proximity to the Appalachian Trail, the convenient access to nearby towns and cities - all of these aspects add up to make for a perfect mountain vacation. Carolina Mornings works to make the search for a Hot Springs vacation rental an easy process. Our dedicated and knowledgeable Vacation Planners will work with you to tailor the ultimate mountain vacation that fits all of your needs. To learn more about renting your first cabin in Hot Springs, NC, contact Carolina Mornings at (844) 412-6881. Be sure to ask about our Mountain Discovery Pass, included with every Carolina Mornings Rental!