Haywood County’s Great Smoky Mountains
There are hotels, then there are hotel experiences. Whether you’re looking for comfortable accommodations with room to stretch your legs or you want a full-on outdoor adventure, Haywood County’s Great Smoky Mountains are an ideal place to lose yourself in the splendor of nature.
For access to scenic adventure, broad mountain ranges, Appalachian culture and that dreamy blue haze hovering over the peaks, stay at charming locations with spectacular views and plenty of wide-open spaces to roam.
Dedicated Outdoor Space
Current travel plans are certainly being steered by the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more people, tired of being cooped up at home, don’t necessarily want to be cooped up in a hotel room either. They are seeking accommodations with wide-open spaces where they can relax and have fun while still traveling responsibly.
From large hotels to roadside motels and rural inns, dedicated outdoor spaces give guests access to fresh air, sunshine and lots of extra room. It extends the guest’s experience beyond the four walls of the building, allowing them to ramble down shady paths or sit by a rushing stream as they relax into their vacation.
And in Haywood County, those dedicated outdoor spaces flow seamlessly into the Great Smoky Mountains.
Exploring the Smokies
Haywood County in Western North Carolina was once billed as “The Gateway to the Smokies,” and it is still living up to the name. Made up of five distinct mountain towns – Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton and Clyde – the area delivers small-town hospitality and big adventure with plenty of room to social distance.
Home to a part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most biodiverse of any national park in the US, Haywood County provides easy access to the park and all that it has to offer. Discover historic homesteads, the International Biosphere Reserve, and 100,000 different types of plants and animals inside the park’s 520,976 acres.
In addition to the park, you can explore local hiking trails, look for waterfalls, enjoy whitewater rafting, go birdwatching, take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and – of course – experience the beauty of the rugged mountains up close. Haywood County is one of the highest counties east of the Rockies and boasts famous peaks like Cold Mountain (6,030 feet), Mt. Guyot (6,621 feet) and Richland Balsam (6,410 feet).
With easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains and so much to do in the area, Haywood County makes sure guests have a comfortable place to rest up in between their adventures. Here’s where to stay when you visit.
Haywood County Lodging
The Meadowlark Motel in Maggie Valley, NC is a fresh twist on the nostalgic roadside motor courts of the 1950s and ‘60s. Its Appalachian Chic décor and modern amenities make a charming home base for your Great Smoky Mountain adventure.
Spanning four picturesque acres, with 200 feet of gently sloping creek frontage, the Meadowlark boasts an expansive outdoor recreation area, an open-air breakfast room, a brand new 24x40-foot covered pavilion, with a full kitchen, restroom, outdoor furniture and firepits. Go fishing in a mountain heritage trout stream, then grill your catch over the fire, pairing it with wine and craft beer. It’s the perfect place to swap stories, roast marshmallows, and unwind after a day out in the Smokies.
Covering 250 acres, The Swag is a secluded private mountaintop resort in Waynesville, NC. Once you check into your room, there’s little reason to leave this Smoky Mountain hideaway until you check out. Meals are included with your stay, and the breathtaking grounds provide plenty of outdoor spaces to explore.
Play a few rounds of croquet, horseshoes, corn hole or badminton. Sink into a hammock or porch swing to absorb the stunning views. Or venture out onto one of the numerous hiking trails that take you on simple strolls or challenging climbs, depending on what you’re looking for. You’ll even get a personalized hiking stick to use on the trails and then take home!
You’ll feel like you are worlds away when you visit the Lambuth Inn nestled beside a 200-acre lake in the mountains. Enjoy panoramic views of Lake Junaluska and the Blue Ridge Mountains as you relax in rocking chairs on the front porch of these elegant accommodations that are listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
Take a serene 3.8-mile stroll around the lake and soak up the peaceful mountain ambiance. Branch out onto other trails and be sure to explore the hotel’s exquisite butterfly garden and waterfall. For the full lake experience, paddle out across the water with a canoe, kayak or paddleboard rental. Or the on-site 18-hole golf course is a great way to stretch your legs and practice your swing.
The theme of Cataloochee Guest Ranch is “Hospitality a Mile High.” The idea reflects the welcoming wide-open spaces of this beloved Haywood County mountain retreat. With a rustic ranch style, open air cookouts and incredible mountain vistas the ranch has become a popular haven for those seeking a retreat into nature. Settle into an individual cabin of your very own before heading out to explore the stunning surroundings.
Horseback riding is a favored activity of many guests. And with more than 700 acres that border the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll find numerous trails that allow through hiking straight to the park.
Creekwood Village Resort, in the heart of Maggie Valley, NC, is a place where nature comes to your doorstep. The only background noise is soft birdsong and the tranquil sound of Jonathan Creek rushing by. Enjoy picturesque pond and mountain views from your deck as you rock back and forth in comfortable rocking chairs. Or venture beyond the deck for a true outdoor experience.
Three and a half acres of land are waiting to be explored. Discover private fishing ponds stocked with rainbow trout, among other fish. (A North Carolina fishing permit is necessary.) Go for a scenic trail hike. Dine out with a picnic on the banks of the creek or grab an inner tube and go for a float to cool off.
Haywood County Updates
Be a Mindful Traveler. Many accommodations are beginning to slowly and responsibly reopen, but keep in mind that every business will reopen as they feel comfortable. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the destination you’re traveling to and contact any businesses you want to visit directly. Below are a few resources that are keeping accurate up-to-date information about the Smoky Mountain area that you may find helpful.