Last Updated on September 8, 2021
Last Updated on September 8, 2021
If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.
Little Switzerland is a beautiful NC mountain town located just one hour away from Asheville to the south and Boone to the north. Both McDowell and Mitchell counties share this unincorporated community. While it may seem like a tiny town, there are plenty of things to do in Little Switzerland for all visitors!
If you’ve never been or are looking to visit again, this Little Switzerland travel guide covers where to stay, eat, and play in this beautiful spot just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 334).
Here’s how we’ve organized this guide:
- Where to Stay
- Things to Do in Little Switzerland
- Places to Go Nearby (and Things to Do)
Seasonal Opening/Closing Note: Many of the attractions (including hotels) we mention here are typically closed for the winter each year and reopen in April. Exceptions include Books and Beans, which reopens in late February.
Where to Stay
Whether you’re traveling with family or looking for some solitude, the Switzerland Inn is ready for you. It’s the first place you’ll see when exiting off the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 334.
Here, you’ll find a variety of delectable views, food, and activities. Switzerland Inn includes a spa, two dining options, luxurious rooms with views, the Diamondback Lodge, and cute shops to peruse.
You can also stay at Big Lynn Lodge along the Diamondback. It’s an affordable 42-room inn that comes with complimentary breakfast and dinner.
Things to Do in Little Switzerland
Eat at the Switzerland Inn
Speaking of delectable, you have two dining choices at the Switzerland Inn—The Chalet Restaurant and The Fowl Play Pub & Tap Room. If you’re looking for a mountainous view and upscale dining, you’ll want to try The Chalet Restaurant and its locally sourced ingredients.
For a more casual experience, The Fowl Play Pub offers delicious bar food, delightful cocktails, and 20 beers on tap that include some local options.
Shop and Eat at the Little Switzerland General Store
They are also home to one of North Carolina’s largest wood-fired smokehouses. You’ll love it so much that you might want to grab a souvenir afterward at the General Store.
Peruse and Sip at Books and Beans
A quick hop and skip next door from the General Store is a three-story bookstore with a full coffee and espresso bar. Books and Beans came to life in 1987 and expanded in 2004. It’s incredible how many books they can fit into each nook and cranny of the space! That’s a big part of why we consider it one of the best bookstores in North Carolina.
You can also check out the art gallery where local artists showcase their crafts.
Hike to Grassy Creek Falls
If you’re looking for a breezy hike to a beautiful waterfall nearby, you’ll want to try out the two-mile hike to Grassy Creek Falls. This two-tiered waterfall sits 25-feet high and is open to the public despite being on private property.
Please be sure to leave no trace on the nature trail and waterfall so we can all enjoy the views!
Drive the Diamondback
From Little Switzerland, you can ride the Diamondback for gorgeous views and fun twists and turns. This densely wooded 38-mile trek provides a challenging and exciting ride for motorcyclists and mountain drivers, with some steep switchbacks looping almost 360 degrees.
It’s a diamond-shaped loop that includes NC-226A, US-221, Toms Creek Road, NC 80, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’ll feel the temperature cool as you climb the mountainsides.
If you make it through, you definitely deserve some swag from the Little Switzerland Trading Company.
Places Near Little Switzerland (and Things to Do)
Blue Ridge Parkway
Speaking of America’s longest linear park, the Blue Ridge Parkway is right next to Little Switzerland. There’s even a Little Switzerland Tunnel nearby! Here are some nearby stops within 25 miles of MP 334 (Little Switzerland).
Spruce Pine in Mitchell County is about 15 minutes away from Little Switzerland and is full of adventures. Its Emerald Village complex is home to 12 mines where you can pan for gems and gold seven days a week from spring through fall.
Marion is about 25 minutes from Little Switzerland and you’ll likely pass through it if you’re coming from Central and Eastern North Carolina. The town is known as the place “where Main Street meets the mountains.”
We love strolling through town but also visiting the beautiful Tom’s Creek Falls, only 15 minutes away from town. You can reach it after a short walk in the woods.
The Museum of North Carolina Minerals
At MP 331, you’ll find the Museum of NC Minerals. At this free museum, you’ll learn about North Carolina minerals and gems, as well as the nearby Spruce Pine Mining District. The displays here share the importance of mining to this part of our state.
Hike the Crabtree Falls Trail
The falls are located about 1.6 miles into a moderate 2.5-mile loop. While you can simply trek in and out to see the falls, we recommend completing the loop for the full experience. The ascent directly after the waterfall is relatively steep, but the trail levels out and follows a beautiful creek.
Hike to Roaring Fork Falls and Setrock Creek Falls
We’ll lump these two together because you can easily hike to both waterfalls on the same day. Setrock Creek Falls is a 75-foot waterfall and its trailhead is located at the Black Mountain Campground.
Just down the road is Roaring Fork Falls, a 100-foot waterfall. Both waterfalls are accessible via easy one-mile hikes and can even be combined with Crabtree Falls.
Speaking of Crabtree Falls, visits to it, Setrock Creek Falls, and Roaring Fork Falls are among the best things to do in Burnsville and its surroundings in Yancey County.
Visit Mount Mitchell
If you’re looking to get your head in the clouds, head to Mount Mitchell State Park (MP 355). At an elevation of 6,684 feet, Mount Mitchell earns the title of the highest peak in the eastern United States.
You can hike the epic Black Mountains Crest Trail (24 miles round-trip) or keep things comfortable with a short walk to the Summit (0.15 miles one way) and the Balsam Nature Trail (0.75-mile loop). These are just a few of many Black Mountains hikes that we love.
While Mount Mitchell boasts the tallest peak in the Eastern United States, Linville Gorge is the deepest canyon. Here, check out various hikes and sights, one of which is Linville Falls (MP 316.3). These falls run over that gorge, which is truly a beautiful sight to see! A 2-mile round-trip hike will take you to three different vantage points of the falls.
For more of a challenge, the Plunge Basin Trail approaches the waterfall from the opposite side and will take you to the bottom of the falls.
Another short hike close to Little Switzerland is the immaculate Wiseman’s View. It’s reachable via a drive on a bumpy, mountainous road. Linville Falls Winery (one of NC’s best wineries and vineyards) and Linville Caverns are also nearby if you’re looking for some more adventures.
Ready to Enjoy Little Switzerland and Its Surroundings?
As you can see, Little Switzerland is truly an amazing mountain town with lots of great things to in the area and nearby. We love visiting this area and hope to continue sharing more of our experiences here with you.
If you’re familiar with Little Switzerland, we’d love to know what you think of this place. Please feel free to share with us here or in our Facebook Group!