Sylva, North Carolina is a pretty small town located in the western part of the state. The town lies in the center of scenic Jackson County, at the juncture between East Fork and West Fork rivers.

While the town may not be as well-known as some of the larger cities in North Carolina, it is a good place for tourists who are looking for a peaceful and relaxed vacation. The beautiful mountains, valleys, breweries and restaurants offer you a variety of ways to unwind and pamper yourself. 

Hiking, fishing, and kayaking are all popular activities available in this region, as well as scenic drives through the mountains are notable. Furthermore, Sylva is home to a number of art galleries, shops, and eateries that provide a taste of the local culture.

Check out the 10 best things to do in Sylva NC.

1. The Great Balsam Mountains

The Great Balsam is a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains and is known for its high peaks, stunning vistas, and diverse flora and fauna. The highest peak in this range is Richland Balsam, which stands at an elevation of 6,410 feet and is the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Great Balsam Mountains are part of the Nantahala National Forest and are home to a variety of hiking trails and outdoor recreational opportunities. The area is particularly popular among hikers and backpackers, with trails ranging from short day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips.

One of the most popular hikes here is the Art Loeb Trail offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail traverses several peaks, including Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain, and presents opportunities for camping along the way.

Additionally, here at the Great Balsam Mountains you can spot a variety of wildlife, including black bears, bobcats, coyotes, and various species of birds and reptiles.

Also read: Things To Do In Gastonia NC

2. Innovation Brewery

For beer snobbers this is a great place to explore. It is a popular craft brewery that was founded in 2013 by Nicole Dexter and Chip Owen, and it has since become a beloved destination for beer enthusiasts and locals alike. Innovation Brewery offers a wide selection of beers, including IPAs, stouts, lagers, and more. Some of their most popular beers include the “Sylva Stout,” “Hoppy Camper,” and “Mandarina Bavaria IPA.” Here the tourists can enjoy a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor seating options available. Visitors can order a pint of beer while playing board games, watching live music, or simply relaxing with friends. The brewery also hosts regular events, such as trivia nights and beer festivals.

Also read: Things To Do In Salisbury NC

3. The Blue Ridge Parkway

This is a scenic drive that runs through Sylva. It is a designated National Parkway that stretches 469 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains, connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. 

The Parkway is known for its breathtaking views of the mountains, forests, and valleys that make up the landscape. A stroll through the park will offer you a variety of overlooks and access to pull-off areas where you can stop and soak in the scenery. Also, there are opportunities for hiking, camping, and picnicking.

One of the highlights of this Parkway is Waterrock Knob, a mountain peak with an elevation of 6,292 feet above sea level. Waterrock Knob is a popular tourist attraction and offers hiking trails, and a scenic overlook with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Also read: Things To Do In Calabash NC

4. Pinnacle Park

The place is a 1,100-acre nature reserve located in the Nantahala National Forest. It is known for its extensive trail system that welcomes you with a variety of hiking options to suit all skill levels. The park’s main attraction is the Pinnacle, a mountain peak with an elevation of 5,057 feet where you will see some stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.

The Pinnacle Park trail system includes several loop trails and spur trails that range in length and difficulty. The most popular trail is the West Fork Trail, which is a 7.2-mile round-trip hike to the Pinnacle. This trail features scenic waterfalls, rock formations, and a dense forest of hardwoods and conifers.

This serene park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The park is open year-round, but visitors are advised to check the weather conditions before hiking, as the trails can be slippery and dangerous during wet or icy weather.


5. Blackrock Mountain

This mountain is a prominent peak located in the Nantahala National Forest and is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its elevation of 5,810 feet above sea level gives tourists a thrilling and memorable experience. The mountain is a popular destination for adventure junkies, offering hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and stunning views of the surrounding area. The Blackrock Trail is the most popular hiking trail on the mountain, and it provides access to the summit. This round trip is considered moderately difficult and hikers can expect to encounter rocky terrain and steep inclines. But it is worth taking the risk as the reward is a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys from the summit.

Furthermore, Blackrock Mountain is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, deer, and birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles. Visitors are advised to exercise caution and keep a safe distance from any wildlife they encounter while exploring the mountain.


6. Poteet Park

This small park in downtown Sylva serves as a peaceful retreat for residents as well as tourists. “Poteet” is named after the Poteet family, who donated the land for the park in the early 1900s. Today, this gorgeous park is a popular spot for picnics, concerts, and community events. One of the main features of Poteet Park is its bandstand, which hosts a variety of musical performances and events throughout the year. The park also includes a playground, picnic tables, and benches where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery.

Poteet Park lies in proximity to several shops and restaurants, making it a convenient stop for visitors exploring the area. It also serves as the site of the Sylva Farmers Market, which is held on Saturdays during the summer and autumn.


7. Wolf Creek Lake

This beautiful reservoir located in the Nantahala National Forest is known for its crystal clear water, scenic beauty, and abundant recreational opportunities. The lake was created in the 1940s as part of a hydroelectric project by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Today, it is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and camping; so don’t forget to pack the adventure gear! The Lake is where you’d find a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, and brown trout.

In addition to fishing, Wolf Creek Lake is also a great place for boating and kayaking. This lake has several boat ramps and a marina where visitors can rent boats or launch their own. The calm waters and beautiful scenery make it a peaceful and relaxing place to spend a day on the water. Camping is another popular activity at Wolf Creek Lake. There are several campgrounds, including the Wolf Creek Campground and the Jackrabbit Mountain Campground.


8. Monteith Farmstead

The Monteith farmstead was originally established in the mid-19th century and has been beautifully restored, giving visitors a glimpse into life on a working farm in the 1800s. Today, it is a popular destination for history buffs, families, and nature lovers. The Monteith farmstead features several restored buildings, including a barn, a corn crib, a smokehouse, and a farmhouse that has been converted into a museum.

Visitors can explore the place and learn about the history of the area through exhibits, demonstrations, and guided tours. A variety of events are also hosted here throughout the year, including a Harvest Festival in the fall and a Christmas Open House in December. 

In addition to the farmstead, you’d also find the Montieth Community Park. It is a nice place to enjoy some outdoor recreational activities with your friends and family. The park also has a playground, picnic tables, and walking trails that wind through the woods and along the Tuckasegee River.

Also read: Things to do in Lynchburg TN

9. Farmhouse Mercantile and Coffee Bar

Don’t forget to check out the best eatery joints and cafes during your visit to the town. This Farmhouse Mercantile and Coffee Bar is a popular shopping and dining destination that welcomes guests with its unique blend of farmhouse-inspired home decor, gifts, and accessories, as well as a coffee bar serving delicious drinks and snacks.

The shop’s decor is cozy and rustic, with warm wood accents, vintage-inspired decor, and plenty of natural light. There are several merchandises to browse through, including a variety of items, such as candles, linens, pottery, and other home decor items that are perfect for adding a touch of charm to any home.

Besides the shopping experience, Farmhouse Mercantile also gives you access to the bar that serves a variety of coffee and tea drinks, as well as pastries, muffins, and other snacks. The coffee is locally roasted and carefully prepared, making it a favorite spot for coffee lovers in the area.

10. The Jackson County Brewery Ale Trail

This brewery has a collection of craft breweries and the trail consists of several local breweries that offer a variety of unique and delicious craft beers, as well as a fun and lively atmosphere for visitors. The breweries on the Jackson County Brewery Ale Trail include Innovation Brewing, Balsam Falls Brewing, Lazy Hiker Brewing, and Sneak E Squirrel Brewing. Each brewery is distinguishable for its own distinctive beer, ranging from hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts and porters, and many of the beers are made with locally sourced ingredients.

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Key Takeaway

You name it, Sylva has it – as one of North Carolina’s most popular destinations, Sylva offers a wide range of recreational opportunities. Surrounded by an abundance of outdoor adventure, cultural attractions, and historical places, the town provides all you need for a fantastic trip. So, what are you waiting for, hurry up and plan your trip to Sylva today.