Bryson City is a small town in North Carolina known as a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, surrounded by fields of wildflowers, cool streams, part of the Appalachian Trail and a range of other more or less difficult hiking trails. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers train rides through the park and a visit to the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum. The Tuckasegee River is popular for white-water rafting. The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians has fishing gear and 1800s fly rods. Cooper Creek Trout Farm and Trout Pond spread on 70 acres of pristine North Carolina Mountain beauty and offers trout fishing year around. Pincu Pottery is a studio and gallery where artist Elise Willa Pincu Delfield creates and sells her magical pieces inspired by nature and made from local red clay. True to the Appalachian tradition, Bryson City has several breweries including Nantahala Brewing Company and Mountain Layers Brewing Company. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
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The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is a heritage and freight railroad in Western North Carolina, near Bryson City. The 53 miles of the Murphy Branch, once a branch of the Southern Railway between Dillsboro and Andrews, is owned by The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The line was completed in 1883 and reached Andrews in 1890. The Railroad began operations in 1988 and passes through a tunnel, a lush valleys and across deep river gorges in the Great Smoky Mountains. Today, several miles of the line near Andrews are out of service. Excursions use the 22-mile long line between Bryson City and Nantahala and the 16-mile long line between Bryson City and Dillsboro. The Railroad runs almost 1,000 excursions a year. It also operates the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum in Bryson City, located next to the historic Bryson City depot. The museum owns a collection of more than 7,000 Lionel model engines, cars, accessories, a model train layout, a kids’ activity center, and a gift shop.[5]

45 Mitchell St, Bryson City, NC 28713, Phone: 800-872-4681

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2.The Road To Nowhere

The Road To Nowhere
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The Fontana Dam, built in 1941 above the Little Tennessee River in western North Carolina, is the tallest dam in the eastern United States. The main purpose of the dam was to create electricity for ALCOA, the former owner of the land on which dam was built. ALCOA was producing aluminum for ships, aircraft and munitions for the war effort. As a consequence, many small towns, villages and homesteads were flooded by the newly created Fontana Lake. To assuage displaced communities, the plan was to build a road from Bryson City to Deals Gap along the river, to allow people to travel and to provide access to their ancestral lands and cemeteries. Since then, only a small, seven miles long, section, was built, leading to nowhere. The locals call it Road to Nowhere—a broken promise.

Lakeview Drive East, Bryson City, North Carolina, 28713

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3.Cooper Creek Trout Farm & Pond

Cooper Creek Trout Farm & Pond
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Cooper Creek Trout Farm and Trout Pond spread on 70 acres of pristine North Carolina Mountain beauty. Pure cold Smoky Mountain water tumbles down Cooper Creek, its numerous branches, streams, springs, waterfalls and two ponds, until it reaches the property. Of many waterfalls on the property, 60-foot high Little Creek Falls is accessible by hiking from the Cooper Creek property about 1.45 miles into The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While the Trout Farm was established in the early 1970’s, the property’s history is much longer and very colorful. The present three- bedroom, two bath farmhouse, built circa 1870 – 1880, had several additions, but the main two story hand hewn log home and chimney remain the same. The trout farm is open daily, year round and visitors can fish even if there is snow on the ground and ice on the pond.

3365 Coopers Creek Rd, Bryson City, NC 28713, Phone: 828-488-2500

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4.Nantahala Brewing Company

Nantahala Brewing Company
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Founded in 2009, Nantahala Brewing Company is located in downtown Bryson City, North Carolina, across the street from the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. It is easy to spot – it occupies the large Quonset Hut, sort of like a huge aircraft hangar. The original brewing equipment, a 10BBL Pub Systems brew house, four fermenters and six conditioning tanks were bought from R.J. Rockers Brewery in Spartenburg, South Carolina. The first beer to hit the fermenters in May 2010 was the Noon Day IPA. Today, their tap room has 32 taps including room for rotating guest taps. The selection of house brews and guest brews changes daily. Tours of the brewery are available upon request. There are frequent live music events.

61 Depot St, Bryson City, NC 28713, Phone: 828-488-2337

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5.Mountain Layers Brewing Company

Mountain Layers Brewing Company
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Mountain Layers Brewing Company in Bryson City, North Carolina, is an award winning, seven- barrel, craft microbrewery that focuses on bringing people together to enjoy good beer either inside at the rustic taproom built around the production facility, or outside on the spacious rooftop deck that overlooks downtown Bryson City. Mountain Layers Brewing Company uses pure water that comes from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Whenever possible, they incorporate locally sourced ingredients to brew the finest classic and cutting edge beer styles. They offer 12 taps of rotating flagship brews as well as one-offs and seasonals. All twelve beers are available as Growlers or Crowlers as well.

90 Everett St, Bryson City, NC 28713, Phone: 828-538-0115

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6.Pincu Pottery

Pincu Pottery
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Pincu Pottery is a delightful studio and gallery in Bryson City, North Carolina, where artist Elise Willa Pincu Delfield creates and sells her magical pieces inspired by nature and made from local red clay. Handmade, wheel-thrown or hand built, her pottery is made individually, each is painted by hand using food-safe colors and glazes and then fired in an electric kiln. All her pots are made for use - dishwasher and microwave safe. Since 2010, Elise offers a range of classes in her studio, individual and group, usually lasting two hours. Students learn hand-building and wheel throwing and complete three items to be later fired and glazed.

80 NC-28, Bryson City, NC 28713, Phone: 828-488-0480

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7.Goldmine Loop Trail

Goldmine Loop Trail
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The Goldmine Loop Trail is an unique hike near the southern edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just west of Bryson City, North Carolina. It is about three miles long and involves about 615 feet of elevation gain. It is a fairly easy hike with a few steep sections, and can be done in about three hours. It is not too crowded. It starts with a shady section with mature sugar maples, pignut hickory, American holy, Fraser magnolias and all kids of oaks. The trail does not have spectacular views but it passes through a historically fascinating corner of the park. It also passes through a 1200-foot long tunnel.

Forneys Creek, NC 28713

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8.Tuckasegee River

Tuckasegee River
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Tuckasegee River or the 'Tuck' as it is known by locals, runs through the entire Swain County, North Carolina and can be accessed fairly easily on US Hwy 19 from Whittier to below Bryson City. The pure, cold, emerald-green waters of the Tuckasegee River provides home to a wide variety of fish, more than in any other river in Swain County. Many deep pools, rocky sections, riffles and runs are the places to catch rainbow and brown trout all year long. Spring is the time for walleye, steelhead, and white bass. From May until mid-October fishermen catch trophy-sized smallmouth bass, rainbow trout and spotted bass.

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9.Elizabeth Ellison Gallery

Elizabeth Ellison Gallery
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Elizabeth Ellison Gallery is a studio and art gallery located in the old Clampitt Hardware Building, on the town square in Bryson City, North Carolina. It is owned and operated by painter and papermaker Elizabeth Ellison. Ellison has exhibited throughout the United States for the last 30 years. She also teaches week-long workshops at various locations, including the North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville NC. The artist uses both traditional and oriental techniques, often adding American Indian motifs - wildflowers, animals, human inhabitants, and landscapes of the Smokies and beyond. Ellison gathers and processes native Appalachian plants to use in hand-making papers she incorporates in her paintings. Elizabeth represents artists Ann Smith and Quintin Ellison in her gallery.

155 Main St, Bryson City, NC 28713, Phone: 828-788-1541

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10.Fly fishing Museum of The Southern Appalachians

Fly fishing Museum of The Southern Appalachians
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The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians is a family-friendly, non-profit, private museum located in Bryson City, North Carolina. It is one of a few fly fishing museums operating in the United States. It is a center for learning about the history of fly fishing and about the arts, the sciences, the crafts and the skills of fly fishing. The museum aims to preserve the history of fly fishing in the region, It exhibits profiles of legendary fly fishermen and influencers and documents the history and evolution of fly fishing from 8,000 BC to this day through its diverse collection of fishing gear and equipment. The museum includes a Kids Corner and aquarium with regional species of fish.

210 Main St, Bryson City, NC 28713, Phone: 828-488-3681

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11.Hemlock Inn

Hemlock Inn
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Hemlock Inn is snuggled in a lush hemlock forest on top of a 2,500-foot hill about two miles from Route 19, 3.4 miles from the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, with spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Each of Hemlock Inn’s 19 rooms are furnished in country antiques and with pieces created by mountain craftspeople. All rooms have en suite bathrooms with showers. For more privacy, the inn has four country cottages, all unique and different. Guests enjoy a common TV room and free wifi in common areas. There are rocking chairs on the wraparound porch, games and books in the library and southern-style breakfast and dinner in the dining room. Generous home-cooked breakfasts and dinners are served family-style around large, hand-made tables. Neighboring farms provide fresh vegetables and fruits in season.

911 Galbraith Creek Rd, Bryson City, NC 28713, Phone: 828-488-2885

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11 Best Things to Do in Bryson City, NC



More Ideas: Lakeview at Fontana in Bryson City

Set on a forested hillside with breathtaking views of Fontana Lake, Lakeview at Fontana is an intimate, adults-only spa and yoga resort that offers comfortable accommodations, a yoga studio and wellness center, and a casual, laid-back ambiance.

Nestled on 50 acres of forested mountain terrain, the former 1950s motel exudes a quaint Mediterranean feel with cozy, well-appointed bungalows that boast beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes, a charming courtyard and inviting coffeehouse where guests can relax with a drink. The charming resort boasts a comfortable communal lounge with a television and a computer for those who want to catch up on their favorite show or surf the net, and a library with a variety of reading materials.

Mediterranean-style bungalows dotted about the property house rustic-chic rooms and suites that range from one to three bedroom units. Rooms and suites have tastefully decorated interiors with fifties style furnishings that reflect touches of European hospitality. Rooms feature double, queen and king-size beds with 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and soft down comforters, private bathrooms with showers and/or bath combinations and Aveda bath amenities. Living areas have overstuffed sofas and some rooms, and suites have balconies and decks with umbrella-topped café-style tables and stunning views over the forests. The one-, two- and three-bedroom suites have separate living spaces and fully equipped kitchenettes with mini-fridges, microwaves, stoves, coffee makers and cooking utensils. None of the rooms or suites feature televisions, but there is a TV and Internet access in the communal lounge for guests to make use of.

Lakeview at Fontana also offers a unique Treetop Soaking Cabana for those wanting extra privacy and seclusion for a few hours. The romantic open-air cabana is set on a forested hillside and features a private deck with a stand-alone tub for two and gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains and Fontana Lake. The Cabana can be rented by the hour and includes a generous selection of Aveda bath products, including aromatic soaking salts, plush robe, and candles, Moroccan oil hair treatment, organic sea sponge and a complimentary carafe of wine.

Guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast each morning, consisting of freshly baked pastries and breakfast bread, homemade granola and yogurt, fresh fruit and freshly brewed French press coffee.

In the afternoon, platters of local farmhouse cheese and a selection of fine wines are offered to guests, while healthy snacks and beverages, such as water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are available throughout the day.

Amenities at Lakeview at Fontana include personalized spa services, yoga sessions with a Kripalu-trained instructor, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, and a lovely nature trail. Guests are treated to a complimentary continental breakfast every morning, as well as afternoon wine and local farm cheese, and a comfortable communal lounge has a television, wireless Internet access, and a café. A crackling fire in the winter months makes a warm and welcoming haven in which to snuggle up with a good book.

Yoga classes led by a Kripalu-trained instructor are offered on a private and group basis for all levels from first-timers to yoga devotees. The classes blend various and techniques to create uniquely renewing experiences for every guest. Lakeview at Fontana also offers exclusive yoga retreats, which combine yoga classes, outdoor activities, rest, and reflection.

Spa Services

Lakeview at Fontana provides a range of pampering spa services, including detoxifying body treatments stress-relieving massages, aromatherapy wraps, herbal foot soaks and natural facials. Treatments are given in the quiet onsite spa treatment rooms, or guests can enjoy self-service herbal foot soaks in the comfort of their rooms. Signature spa services include Warm Bamboo Massages, Thai Yoga Massages and Hot Stone Massages; Replenishing Pumpkin and Solar Repair Facials; Green Tea Detoxifying Body Treatment, a Sweet Dreams Body Wrap and a Thai Herbal Body Polish.

Lakeview at Fontana is set in the beauteous region of the Great Smoky Mountains, which offers an array of outdoor and recreational activities for nature-lovers and adventurers alike. The Tsali Trails offer excellent hiking and mountain biking, while the Nantahala River is ideal for white-water rafting and kayaking, stand up paddling boarding can be enjoyed on Fontana Lake and there are miles of scenic waterfall hikes along the way. For those looking for something more relaxed, the nearby Bryson City and the Nantahala Outdoor Center offers unique dining experiences with live music and lovely river views.

Back to: Romantic Weekend Getaways in North Carolina and Things to Do in NC

171 Lakeview Lodge Dr, Bryson City, NC 28713, Phone: 800-742-6492

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