Maggie Valley is where North Carolina’s favorite scenic road meets America’s most visited park! The small town sits just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park and just a short drive from the famed Blue Ridge Parkway.
With plenty of outdoor adventures, great food, and more, there are some pretty amazing things to do in Maggie Valley.
Known for its old-fashioned vibe, motorcycle rallies, bluegrass and clogging, and plenty of mountains to hike, there truly are so many things to do in Maggie Valley.
Keep reading if you’re ready to plan your next visit to Maggie Valley! If you’re looking for specific things to do in Maggie Valley, here’s how we’ve organized things:
- Fun Facts about Maggie Valley
- Winter Fun (Skiing and Tubing)
- Things to Do in Maggie Valley ALL Year
- Where to Eat (and Drink, too!)
- Where to Stay
- Nearby Places to Go
- More Things to Do in Maggie Valley and Nearby (Related Posts)
This post is part of our series on all the awesome things to do in Western North Carolina.
Fun Facts about Maggie Valley and Haywood County
- Haywood County has the highest median elevation of any county east of the Rockies.
- Maggie Valley is the highest elevated incorporated valley in the United States.
- Named after John Sidney Setzer’s daughter, Maggie Mae Setzer, John founded the first post office in the valley. His descendants still come from all over the country for a large family reunion.
- Maggie Valley is the birthplace of the legendary bootlegger and Appalachian moonshiner Popcorn Sutton.
Winter Fun in Maggie Valley (Skiing and Tubing)
Before we get to the rest of the year, we think you should know about how much fun it is to visit Maggie Valley in the winter!
The kid-friendly Tube World that is easily accessible from Soco Road and the slopes at Cataloochee Ski Area are two very family-friendly things to do in Maggie Valley! If you’re a beginner, take a ski lesson at the PSIA certified Ski & Snowboard School or go straight to one of the eighteen slopes and enjoy the fresh powder.
Things to Do in Maggie Valley ALL Year
No matter when you visit, there always seems to be something going on. Annual motorcycle rallies are huge here, as is the Western North Carolina BBQ Festival, numerous Appalachian music festivals including the Hillbilly Jam, and the High Country Quilters Annual Quilt Show!
Beyond those big events, here are some amazing things to do in Maggie Valley throughout the year!
The Blue Ridge Parkway
US 19, which runs into Maggie Valley, crosses the Parkway and will be your main route to many of the attractions outside of town. You can spend days (or longer!) exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway, but even if you have just a few minutes on it, we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
We’ve also heard that it’s very popular to rent a slingshot from Slinging in the Smokies to hug the curves. Just be careful when you do, unless you’re a professional and know what you’re doing.
Due to weather (and other factors), some sections of the Parkway will close in higher elevations. Please check the National Park Service’s official page for road closure info.
Waterfalls in Maggie Valley (and Nearby)
Two waterfalls converge together at Soco Falls in Maggie Valley. Just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Soco Falls is easy to reach.
If you are up for a bit of a hike, try the short yet rugged climb down to the base of these waterfalls: the views are definitely worth it!
Only 10 miles away from Soco Falls is Mingo Falls, another must-see waterfall just over in Cherokee! This 120-foot tall waterfall is reached by 160 steps and is worth every single one.
We promise that visiting Mingo Falls will take your breath away.
Hiking in Maggie Valley
Waterrock Knob is the last officially recognized Blue Ridge Parkway hike before the road meets Newfound Gap Rd (US 441). Even from the parking lot, there are epic views, making for a fantastic place for picnics, sunrise/sunset, and stargazing!
Purchase Knob, inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, provides high elevation views with a moderate 3 to 5 mile hike to get your heart pumping! This trail will take you by a historic 1874 cabin, bald mountain tops, and 360 degree views from the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center.
Another of the many hikes in Haywood County we love is Black Balsam Knob. It’s part of the very popular Art Loeb Trail, which crosses mountain balds and leads to epic views of the Blue Ridge.
Take a moment to stare into the water at Lake Junaluska; but don’t stare for too long as there are 3.8 miles to walk! The path that encircles Lake Junaluska is a great place for an early morning stroll.
The mist rises off of the water and the mountains frame the glassy reflection, making for an absolutely beautiful outdoor hike just outside Maggie Valley!
Once almost wiped out, the wild elk have made quite a comeback in the historic Cataloochee Valley nearby. Viewing these elk has become a very popular activity in Maggie Valley.
With many of these beautiful creatures congregating in the Cataloochee Valley, staying in Maggie Valley is a perfect way to ensure getting a peek at them! Depending on where you stay, an elk or two may come up to your rental and say “hello!”
One really good spot to see them is at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The elk typically roam the valley in the early morning or late evening—but remember to keep your distance as they can be aggressive.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a short 30-minute drive away from Maggie Valley and should definitely be somewhere on your itinerary. Innumerable stops and trails await, especially the Oconaluftee Visitor Center that we just mentioned.
Of course, you can pick just about any spot and simply enjoy the natural beauty of the Smokies!
Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum
Home to the world’s best collection of rare American motorcycles and memorabilia, this museum is a memorable experience for advanced riders and motorcycle newbies alike.
The Stompin’ Ground Dance Hall
Want to get a true taste of Appalachia? Then you definitely must check out the The Stompin’ Ground Dance Hall in Maggie Valley!
With live performances that feature mountain, bluegrass, clogging, and square dancing, this is THE place to go in North Carolina for all things dancing.
Open only on Saturday nights, you can sit and watch the performances or join in on the massive dance floor. The barn-like building is hard to miss on Soco Road, and the music will keep your feet tapping.
And don’t miss out on the annual Clogging Competition that is held the last weekend of every October!
Where to Eat in Maggie Valley (and Drink, too!)
With all there is to do in Maggie Valley, you’ll undoubtedly start to get hungry. Of course, the town has some truly amazing restaurants, a great brewery, and very nice distillery!
Joey’s Pancake House
One of the highest recommended restaurants is Joey’s Pancake House, a rating we agree with after having tried it ourselves! Only open from 7 am to 12 pm, there was already a wait when we showed up at 7:01 am on a weekday!
Order a stack and we guarantee that you’ll be fueled up for your day of adventure in Maggie Valley.
Pop’s Place is another great option for both breakfast and lunch in Maggie Valley. Using family recipes, they have some of the best made-from-scratch biscuits in North Carolina!
Brickhouse Burgers & Pizza
After you’ve licked all the pancake syrup off your fingers, make sure to save room for lunch at Brickhouse Burgers & Pizza. Perfect for families and pets alike, as they even have a dog-friendly patio!
Butts on the Creek BBQ
And of course, being the North Carolina barbecue fanatics that we are, we couldn’t leave out Butts on the Creek BBQ! Applewood smoked pork shoulder, ribs, fried corn on the cob, and homemade banana pudding from this BBQ restaurant will sooth your soul and fill your belly.
BearWaters Brewing Company
We also always love a place where you can enjoy a locally crafted brew and relax with some food. BearWaters Brewing Company sits along the creek in Maggie Valley and serves delicious tacos accompanied with some refreshing pints.
The comforting vibe of this North Carolina brewery is a great way to end a long, fun-filled day of adventure. Just sit back, relax, and listen to the creek ramble by!
Elevated Mountain Distilling
Located in the heart of Maggie Valley, Elevated Mountain Distilling is one of North Carolina’s many distilleries that are worth visiting. Specializing in whiskey, moonshine, and vodka, Elevated Mountain Distilling was founded by third generation whiskey makers and uses a custom hybrid that produces smooth products.
Stop by for a tour, a cocktail, or take a bottle of their small-batch liquor home!
Where to Stay in Maggie Valley
We have really enjoyed staying in several rentals in Maggie Valley. The seclusion and views are especially unbeatable at this cabin above Maggie Valley (pictured above).
Note: We may receive a commission if you click on these properties and stay at them.
More Rentals and Airbnbs in Maggie Valley
During another trip, we also loved the privacy while still being close to downtown at this Maggie Valley rental. If you’re looking for a rental that’s large enough for a family, you can’t beat this beautiful log cabin.
Ready for These Things to Do in Maggie Valley?
In case you’re staying elsewhere, Maggie Valley is perfect to explore, for example, as a day trip from Asheville. The town is only 35 minutes away, in case you’re wondering!
It also makes for a great base to explore Bryson City and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Make sure to take some time to stop over at nearby Waynesville and Cherokee, too.
However you choose to explore Maggie Valley, we hope you’re ready to be surrounded by some truly beautiful sights and these amazing things to do!
Have you ever visited this area of North Carolina? We’d love to know your favorite things to do in Maggie Valley, if so! If you haven’t been yet, what’s the first way you’re going to enjoy this awesome place?