20 Fun Things to Do in Black Mountain, NC

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From good eats to arts & culture to outdoor activities, there are so many fun things to do in Black Mountain, NC in every season.

This small town in Western NC is located just 20 minutes from downtown Asheville along I-40. It’s a great alternative to staying in Asheville if you don’t wanna be right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city.

The downtown area is super walkable and absolutely adorable with the historic buildings set against the backdrop of the Seven Sisters peaks of the Black Mountain range.

No matter what brings you to the area, the charming people and natural beauty will keep you coming back. Black Mountain is one of the best places to visit in North Carolina!

Top Things to Do in Black Mountain, NC

Take a Hike

waterfall with lush trees around it

Hiking is what brings many people here and it’s one of the best free things to do in Black Mountain, NC.

There are many popular hikes near town like Catawba Falls and Lookout Mountain but if you’re willing to go a little farther out then the sky is the limit.

Some of my favorite places to hike in the area are DuPont State Forest, Craggy Pinnacle, Crabtree Falls, and Mt. Mitchell.

Catawba Falls is a moderate hike that’s about 2.7 miles round trip. It’s near Old Fort and very close to the exit on the highway so it’s a crowded trail.

If you want to go on the weekend make sure that you get there early – preferably right at sunrise so you leave by 9am. This is a great trail for dogs!

Lookout Moutain is a much more difficult hike and if you’re like me, you’ll feel like you’re dying once you reach the top. The view is well-worth it though as you’re overlooking the town of Black Mountain nestled in a valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It’s a short trail at 1.5 miles round trip and at the end there’s a fun little rock scramble. It’s pretty steep for most of the way though. Dogs are allowed but I wouldn’t take mine on this one because of the rocks at the end.

DuPont State Forest has a loop hike that will take you to four different waterfalls. Craggy Pinnacle is an easy hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway that leads to gorgeous 360-degree views.

Crabtree Falls is a moderate/strenuous trail that leads to a 70’ waterfall. Mt. Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi with tons of hiking options in that state park and surrounding area.

Explore Downtown Black Mountain

downtown Black Mountain with the mountain range in background

If you want to do some shopping in Black Mountain then head downtown and hit the local stores.

Take a Hike Outfitters and WNC Collective are where you’ll want to go for the best outdoor gear and clothing.

Sassafras on Sutton will make any book lover swoon. They also have a coffee bar on the first level. Across the street, you’ll find Chifferobe Home & Garden which has cute home goods.

Sunset Farm Designs has cute clothes that are very reasonable plus jewelry and other goods. The Enchanted Oak sells handmade soaps, lotions, and perfume.

C.W. Moose Trading Company is where you should go to find a Black Mountain tshirt and no visit to Black Mountain is complete without a stop at Town Hardware.

Herschel’s is one of our favorite stores for local food items.

The Sourwood Festival is held every August in downtown Black Mountain and features local vendors and live music.

Parking downtown is pretty easy but if you visit on the weekend – especially in the fall – it can get difficult. There is pull-in and parallel parking along Broadway Avenue (NC-9) as well as Sutton Ave near Take a Hike and Epic Cycles.

You can also find parallel parking on Cherry Street (one-way street) and Black Mountain Avenue.

If you can’t find parking along the street then there is a free parking lot near the Visitor Center at 201 E State Street. Other lots are beside Trailhead, between The Dancing Dragonfly and Mountain Vista Properties, and next to Black Mountain Brewing.

Have a Local Beer at One of These Black Mountain Breweries

mural of woman on the side of Black Mountain Brewing

This is one of our personal favorite things to do in Black Mountain! When we are in for the weekend we always visit Black Mountain Brewing and Lookout Brewing.

Pisgah Brewing’s tasting room has been closed since COVID began but during the warmer months, they do have live music and serve their beer in their outdoor beer garden.

There’s also Black Mountain Ciderworks which serves mead and cider and is just down the road from Oak & Grist Distilling. Both are great options if you aren’t a beer lover!

Read this article on Black Mountain Breweries if you want to know more.

Catch Some Live Music

You would be surprised at how many options there are here to see live music for such a small town. One of the most popular places is White Horse Black Mountain.

Ticket prices vary but typically a show will cost between $10 – $20 which honestly is SO cheap! They have different events throughout the week like Open Mic Night and an Irish Music Circle.

Like I mentioned above, you can also catch live music at Pisgah Brewing but that is weather-dependent since it’s outdoors.

During the summer you can also catch free concerts on Thursday night at Veterans Park called Park Rhythms. Make sure to check their website as the 2022 schedule could be different than summer of 2021.

Lake Tomahawk Park

Taking a walk around Lake Tomahawk is a great kid-friendly thing to do in Black Moutain. It’s a gorgeous park with views of the Seven Sisters mountains towering in the background.

The walking trail is an easy 0.5-mile loop around the lake but there are lots of other things you can do here.

There is a fishing pier but you’ll need a valid NC fishing license to take advantage of that. The Black Mountain pool is also a great place for kids to swim.

There are public restrooms here just in case you need a pit stop.

Swannanoa Valley Museum

The museum is located in a 1921 firehouse and it’s the perfect rainy day activity. Their specialty is the local history of Buncombe County.

Their hours and days open change seasonally so make sure to check on their website before visiting.

The first floor of the building houses a temporary exhibit typically that stays for a year and their second floor houses the permanent exhibit.

The permanent exhibit is called Our Pathways: People and Stories of the Swannanoa Valley which showcases stories of the people who developed the area.

The museum also hosts a few different hikes each month where you can learn more about the history of the area in a unique way.

Round Mountain Creamery

Okay, so this is a super fun one! Did you know that you can tour a goat dairy farm in Black Mountain?

Tours are by appointment only so don’t just show up here and they do charge an admission fee. You get to see how they milk the goats and then how they produce their soft cheeses.

The tour ends at the farm store where you can sample their cheeses and buy some to take home with you!

They are part of the larger WNC Cheese Trail so if you love cheese then be sure to check them out!

Try These Black Mountain Restaurants

shrimp & grits, salad, and sausage plate with beer

Now for one of my favorite things to do in town – eat! Asheville gets so much recognition for its culinary scene but these Black Mountain restaurants are just as impressive.

Louise’s Kitchen is a must for breakfast – no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Blue Ridge Biscuit Company is also delicious as is Open Oven Brunch & Bakery.

There are so many great restaurants in Black Mountain, NC that it’s difficult to choose just a few lunch and dinner recommendations.

Veranda is a great lunch spot for soups and sandwiches and for a good chicken sandwich try Black Mountain Kitchen & Ale House. Cousins Cuban Cafe is DELICIOUS.

Fresh Pizza & Pasta is my go-to for pizza. Black Mountain Bistro and Trailhead are both great dinner spots too.

If you need a coffee fix then check out Cup of Jomo which is just a little walk up coffee window behind WNC Collective but they make the best mochas and lattes.

The Dripolator is also a good coffee spot but gets very crowded on weekends since it’s in the middle of downtown. Further down US 70 you’ll find Dynamite Roasting Co. where you can pick up a cup of their coffee as well.

In the mood for ice cream? Make sure to stop by The Hop. The original location is in Asheville and they make all their ice cream locally and have some unique seasonal flavors.

Check out this article if you want to know more about Black Mountain restaurants.

Creative Mountain Food Tours OR Black Mountain Ale Trail

Another food-related activity to try is Creative Mountain Food Tours. They haven’t started back up since COVID started but I am really hoping that they will start leading tours again.

These are two and a half to three hours tours that visit a few different restaurants in Black Mountain where you can taste a small dish at each spot.

Just in case they don’t open back up, I have a different option for you though! The Black Mountain Ale Trail is brand new, like started in November or December of 2021.

You’ll visit Black Mountain Brewing, Lookout Brewing, and then Hillman Beer in Old Fort which is just down the mountain.

I was super excited when I saw they were starting this because I love the breweries in Black Mountain!

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Browse the Art Galleries

Art and culture are such a big part of the character of Black Mountain so visiting an art gallery really is a special thing when you’re here.

The Red House Studio is put together by the Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League and is only a couple blocks from downtown Black Mountain. They have parking directly in front of the house too if you would rather not walk.

The artists staff the gallery and love answering any questions you may have. They also held art classes here pre-COVID so be on the lookout in case those to start back up.

The Seven Sisters Gallery sells local art and locally-made crafts. You’ll find all kinds of things here from paintings and jewelry to pottery and furniture.

More Things to Do Around Black Mountain, NC

Visit Asheville

replica of Biltmore house in greenhouse

While there is plenty to do in Black Mountain, many people don’t visit the area without going into Asheville at least once!

This eclectic city holds the iconic Biltmore, an Urban Art Trail, the NC Arboretum, and so much more. Downtown Asheville is full of boutique shops and art galleries.

There’s so much to do that you’ll just have to plan a separate trip for a weekend in Asheville. 🙂 Not to mention all the other small towns near Asheville!

Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the absolute best free things to do near Black Mountain, NC! The Parkway goes right through Asheville on the eastern side which is closest to Black Mountain.

You can head north toward Craggy Gardens, Glassmine Falls, and Mt. Mitchell or go south toward Fryingpan Mountain and Devil’s Courthouse.

There are tons of hiking options on the Parkway but you can also just drive and check out some of the overlooks and different attractions like the Cradle of Forestry (check seasonal closings).

Bring a picnic and make it a romantic date!

Chimney Rock State Park

Lake Lure from above

This is another great place to hike nearby plus it’s close to Lake Lure! This is one of the only NC State Parks that charges an entrance fee so just be prepared for that.

We parked in the gravel lot and hiked up the Four Seasons Trail instead of taking the shuttle. This brings you into the Hickory Nut Falls Trail that will take you to the base of the falls if you go right.

Turn left and you’ll come to the base of the stairs where you can start your climb up to Chimney Rock.

Once you’re done at the state park make sure you stop by Burntshirt Vineyard and Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery. Both have great drinks and food.

Lake James State Park

There are a few different hiking trails in the park but this one is very popular for mountain biking and fishing.

There are two boat ramps that will accommodate power boats and sail boats. You can also rent kayaks and canoes in the park.

You’ll find many people here fishing for largemouth bass but you can also find walleye, white bass, and bluegill in the lake.

There are three different campgrounds here. One drive-in, a walk-in, and a paddle-in campground. You can make reservations here.

Mount Mitchell State Park

view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Mt. Mitchell

I’ve mentioned Mt. Mitchell a few times before but it really is a must-do! Again, it’s the highest point east of the Mississippi standing 6,684 ft tall.

There are plenty of hiking trails in the park and many are interconnected with larger trail systems in Pisgah National Forest.

You can either hike up to the top of the mountain from Park Headquarters or drive to the top parking lot and take a short, paved trail to the viewing platform. It may be short but it’s steep!

There is also a restaurant that’s open seasonally on the way to the top of the mountain.

Apple Picking

row of apple trees

When August comes around I always start thinking about where to go apple picking! There are tons of places near Hendersonville for this which is about 45 minutes from Black Mountain.

I’ve been to Justus Orchard and Grandad’s Apples and loved both experiences. Justus Orchard sold apple cider doughnuts and had a small store where you could purchase apples if you didn’t want to pick them yourself.

Grandad’s is a bit larger with more frills like a petting zoo, bakery, pumpkin patch, and corn maze. If you have young kids and want to make a day out of it then this might be the place for you.

If you are older and don’t have any kids and you just want something fun to do for a date or with your girlfriends then I definitely recommend Justus.

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Float the French Broad River

During the summer a float on the French Broad is so much fun! You can go tubing with Zen Tubing or take a kayak, SUP, or canoe down the river.

There are guided tours or you can set up shuttle yourself and take your own equipment.

You can even whitewater raft on the French Broad! This is one of the easier rivers for whitewater rafting in North Carolina with Class II – III rapids.

There is a bigger section of the river with Class IV rapids if you’re up for it!

Recommended French Broad Trips:

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

Are you a history buff? Do you love literature? Then a trip to the Carl Sandburg home may be perfect for you.

The house is currently closed to tours because of COVID but you can still tour Connemara Farms.

While Mr. Sandburg contributed to the American literary scene, his wife was a leader in agriculture, specifically dairy goats.

You can meet the herds that are descended from Mrs. Sandburg’s when you tour the farm!

There are also a few different hiking trails to choose from on the property.

Chase Some Waterfalls

waterfall with dog standing in front

The waterfalls of western NC are somewhat of a legend. I mean, Transylvania County is known as The Land of Waterfalls because there are over 250 of them near Brevard.

A few popular ones in this area are the ones in DuPont State Forest, Looking Glass Falls, Moore Cove Falls, and Sliding Rock. Sliding Rock is closed right now because of a hurricane that came through last year so check the status of it before visiting.

Near Cherokee, you’ll find Mingo Falls and Soco Falls. I’ve already mentioned Catawba Falls and Crabtree Falls.

North of Black Mountain, Setrock Creek Falls is one of my favorite hikes. Toms Creek Falls and Roaring Fork Falls are also good, short hikes.

Western NC Wineries

view of Linville Falls Winery from a hill

There are so many incredible wineries in North Carolina and you can definitely find a few of those in western NC!

This is another one of my favorite things to do near Black Mountain. My personal favorites are Linville Falls Winery and Burntshirt Vineyards.

The Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in the US though I’ll be honest, I can’t say that I loved it. The experience is definitely not the same as visiting a smaller winery nearby.

Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, Stone Ashe Vineyards, and Sawyer Springs Vineyards are all good options to visit near Hendersonville.

Places to Stay in Black Mountain

There are plenty of places to stay in Black Mountain whether you’re going for budget or luxury.

The Hampton Inn is a good option for a middle-of-the-road room. The prices do get expensive during peak season on the weekends though.

For a unique experience, stay at the Red Rocker Inn which offers reasonable rates plus a complimentary buffet breakfast.

Another cute bed and breakfast in Black Mountain is the Arbor House which includes a 3-course meal for breakfast.

The Monte Vista Hotel is a unique historic hotel that you can stay in as well. There are so many unique places to stay in the North Carolina Mountains!

Things to Do in Black Mountain, NC FAQ

Is Black Mountain worth visiting?

Absolutely! I love this quaint little town. If you love good, locally-owned restaurants and shopping at small businesses then you should definitely come here.

Outdoor adventurers will also love visiting the area.

What is Black Mountain, NC known for?

Black Mountain is named after the Black Mountain range that offers the backdrop for the town. It’s known for Black Mountain College which was an experimental college founded in 1933.

The area is also known as a haven for Christian retreats.

What is there to do in downtown Black Mountain?

In downtown Black Mountain you can shop, grab a beer at one of the local breweries, or have something to eat at one of the local restaurants.

Pick up a coffee or sweet treat downtown as you walk around. You can also sit in one of the rocking chairs and just watch the people stroll by.

How far is Black Mountain from Biltmore?

The Biltmore Estate gatehouse is 17 minutes away from downtown Black Mountain without traffic.

Traffic can get congested along I-40 and especially once you get near Biltmore Village.

About Me

Anna Cook

Hey Guys! I’m Anna, a small town girl from North Carolina with a passion for exploring this beautiful world. I work a fulltime job, so I make the most of my weekends and 15 vacation days. I created this site to inspire people like you to make travel a bigger part of your life and help you figure out how to do that. If you like what you see be sure to follow along on social media.

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Anna

Anna

Anna was born and raised in North Carolina and spent her childhood traveling the southern US. She loves helping people plan efficient itineraries especially with a focus on outdoor adventure and food & drink. You can typically find her on a hiking trail, kayaking, or searching for the best meal in town.

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