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A Winter Escape to Highlands

Ice Skating in Highlands, NC

If you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season – from work, responsibilities, and tackling never-ending to-do lists – then a winter getaway to Highlands, North Carolina, is exactly what you need.

Things To Do In Highlands During The Winter

In Highlands, you can ice-skate on Main Street, snow-tube down Scaly Mountain, and even walk underneath a waterfall! Sure, the temperatures are a little cooler in the winter, but get outside anyway! There’s so much to do, see, and experience in this area – and the winter views around the mountains are phenomenal!


Western North Carolina is home to thousands and thousands of miles of hiking trails – and some of the best winter hikes can be found in Highlands!

  • Whiteside Mountain is a moderate two-mile loop that offers incredible views from the top of the mountain.
  • For those that want a more difficult journey, the Bartram Trail to Osage Overlook is two miles one way that offers spectacular views of Blue Valley to the South and Tessentee Valley to the North.
  • Sunset Rock is located right off of Main Street in Highlands, and it is a moderate 0.7-mile (one way) hike. At the top, you can enjoy gorgeous sunsets from the natural cliff-side amphitheater.
Dry Falls in Highlands, NC
Dry Falls. Photo by Greg Newington and Courtesy of Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visit Highlands, NC.


Did you know that Highlands is a national waterfall destination? Here are a few that you must check out when you visit.

  • Dry Falls is the waterfall you can walk behind! Flowing from the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest, Dry Falls flows over an overhanging bluff, allowing visitors to follow the trail behind the waterfall without getting wet.
  • Bridal Veil Falls is an unusual and highly popular 120-foot waterfall. When you visit in the winter, you may see the waterfall frozen at the base!
  • Silver Run Falls is a 30-foot waterfall that pours into a pool, making it a popular destination on warm days. In the winter, it is still a sight to behold!
snow tubing in Highlands
Photo by Greg Newington and Courtesy of Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visit Highlands, NC.

Snow Tubing

Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center offers excitement in the form of snow tubing! Snow is provided by both mother nature and on-site equipment, so any time the temperature is below 35º, you’re sure to have an absolute blast!

Ice Skating

Highlands offers an ice rink right on Main Street – an easy walk from any of the downtown hotels. You can rent skates for a fun, holiday-themed adventure!

Winter and holiday shopping in Highlands NC
Photo courtesy of Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visit Highlands, NC.


Quaint shops line both sides of Main Street, and you can find everything from clothing for the whole family to home decor. Check out antique shops to find a one-of-a-kind treasure to take home and remember your trip by!

No matter what type of adventure you are looking for, when you visit Highlands in the winter, you’re sure to find exactly what you need to escape “real life” and immerse yourself in nature and a picturesque, small-town atmosphere.

Header photo by Cynthia Strain and Courtesy of Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visit Highlands, NC.