From the vibrant color of the leaves to the crisp mountain air, the fall season in the High Country is an unmatched experience. Naturally, there is no shortage of opportunities for outdoor adventure from hikes to ziplining, but visitors to the area during this season can also experience the many options for entertainment as well.
Tweetsie Railroad is a High Country favorite amongst locals and visitors alike, and for good reason! This railroad, located in Blowing Rock, offers guests a journey to the Wild West where the steam locomotives star as the main attraction. The 3-mile train ride is complete with cowboy hosts and stops throughout to see reenactments of the wild, wild west. But the fun doesn’t stop at the train, Tweetsie Railroad also has rides, shows, and a petting zoo creating the perfect fall experience for families and seasonal-themed train rides too!
If you plan on being in the High Country in early October, Oktoberfest is a must! Sugar Mountain Resort hosts this German folk festival every year and while it’s traditionally a beer festival, this High Country event is family-friendly. Enjoy live music, costume contests, local artists showcasing their work, chairlift rides, and a vast selection of Bavarian food and drink. Hayrides, inflatables, and games are available for kids to enjoy. Here, there’s something for the entire family to enjoy.
For those looking for a unique experience in mid-October, the Woolly Worm festival is a great choice! Local folklore surrounds the woolly worm, a fuzzy caterpillar that can be found in the High Country, as being able to predict winter. But, selecting which woolly worm will have the honor of forecasting happens at this yearly festival in Banner Elk, where thousands gather to watch the worms race for this esteemed honor. The festival also has live music, craft, and food vendors for visitors to enjoy.
If you’d like to enjoy the outstanding views and fresh mountain air while sipping on local wines, the High Country Wine Trail is a great option. This trail connects five local wineries and vineyards so pick up a wine passport and sample Appalachian wine country.
For a true mountain fair experience, head over to Valle Crucis, NC in October! The Valle Country Fair, just a short distance from Boone, provides fun for the whole family from mountain music to booths featuring crafts, homemade goods, and fall food favorites. Kids will love the special games (pumpkin bowling tends to be a favorite), face painting, and arts and crafts.
Finally, the High Country area offers several options for pumpkin farms to enjoy the more classic fall activities. Find the perfect pumpkin, enjoy hot apple cider, and take a hayride around the farm! Many also offer corn mazes including nighttime “haunted” options for thrillseekers to enjoy.
From woolly worms to bavarian beer, it’s easy to see that the High Country offers a wide selection of fall activities. While a nice hike to enjoy fall foliage will always be a must, fitting a more unique activity into the mix may prove to be an unforgettable experience!