Local residents call Jackson County the "Great Variety Show." Visitors to the area quickly learn that Jackson County has indeed earned the title. Within the county's 499 square miles you will find spectacular scenery, important historical locations, and a large part of the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Other major points of interest include the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Balsam Mountain) and, on the Jackson and Transylvania County line, Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall in Eastern United States.
Western Carolina University, located in Cullowhee, began in 1889 as a small school for mountain children. Today the school is a comprehensive state university with more than seven thousand students. Located at the entrance to the University is the Mountain Heritage Center. This unique museum houses major exhibits which illustrate the mountain society both past and present. In addition, a permanent exhibit, "Migration of the Scotch-Irish People," portrays the history of the Scotch-Irish as they left their native Scotland to settle in North Ireland. Later generations came to the New World to settle in the hollows and valleys of Western North Carolina. The Center is also home to the Mountain Heritage Day, a festival that attracts more than 35,000 visitors for mountain music, food, and crafts on the last Saturday in September.
In 1880, the Western North Carolina Railroad completed its track from the Piedmont to Asheville. The track reached Waynesville by 1882, Bryson City in 1884, and Murphy in 1891. The Railroad was responsible for much of the growth of the area. Dillsboro began where the track ended until a tunnel could be built. Convict laborers using pickaxes built the 836-foot tunnel. Nineteen laborers died in its construction.
Unused for several years, the old Norfolk Southern lines were purchased by the state and leased to the Great Smoky Mountains Railway. Again the railroad has been responsible for much of the growth of the area. Based in Dillsboro, the railway offers trips from Bryson City to the Nantahala Gorge and from Dillsboro to Bryson City. The trains are made up of passenger cars, both open and closed, and pulled by red, yellow, and blue diesel locomotives or by steam locomotive. Traveling at 15 miles per hour, you have time to really enjoy the view and the ride.
Whiteside Mountain, east of Highlands and west of Cashiers, is one of the most spectacular mountains you will see in Western North Carolina. The mountain a part of the Nantahala National Forest rises 2,100 feet with sheer rock walls rising vertically four hundred to seven hundred feet.
Campgrounds and Cottages
Cottages within the area.
Ash Grove Cabins & Camping 828-885-7216, Brevard, NC
Timberlake Campground, 3270 Conleys Creek Rd, Whittier, NC 28789, 828-497-7320.
|An Eagle's Landing Campground,|
|Flaming Arrow Campground|
|Fort Wilderness Campground|
|Sassafras Gap Campground|
|Savannah Creek RV Resort, Sylva|
|Singing Waters Campground|
|Cartoogechaye Creek Campground|
Tuckaseegee RV Resort
Deep Creek Tube Center
Holly Cove RV