Take an Unforgettable River Trip in the North Carolina High Country

Outdoor NC has partnered with local tourism organizations across the state to help promote the protection of North Carolina’s stunning and diverse outdoor spaces by practicing the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace. Here are some insider tips if you're visiting the High Country area.

Q&A host: Starli McDowell
Outdoor passion: River activities
Where in NC: Mitchell and Avery counties in western North Carolina

Best place in the area for canoeing, kayaking and rafting? 

North Toe River.

Best season to spend in NC?

All seasons are different and worth experiencing. Spring and early summer are cool, and the river is fun!

What level of experience is needed to get on the river in the High Country?

There are boating experiences for all ages and experiences.

How long should you plan on visiting?

A week’s vacation.

What attracted you to North Carolina or the High Country?

Born and raised here.

What is unique about this area of the High Country?

It is quiet, and you can listen to nature. It is restoring to hear nothing but nature.

How do you plan or prepare for your river adventures?

Shuttle for river trips. For boats: beverages and lunch.

What piece of gear is your must-have? 

Dry bag. 

How do you practice the Leave No Trace principles?  

We carry trash bags and haul our trash out. We are also very careful not to disturb plants.

Best places for breakfast/lunch or dinner? 

Breakfast: DT's Blue Ridge Java. Lunch: The Tropical Grill. Supper: Anchors Away.

Where do you like to go after your river adventures? 

Camping by the river.

Cool places to stay?

Blue Ridge Boutique Hotel.

Other sites to see in the High Country? 

Maggie’s Richmond Inn.

What is your can’t-miss experience in the High Country? 

Riverside Park in downtown Spruce Pine.

This article was produced in partnership with Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce. Visit Outdoor NC for additional tips on how to connect with nature and help preserve the natural beauty of our state.

Updated January 5, 2023
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