Things to Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Find so many things to do in the North Carolina mountains within 20 miles of Sugar Mountain. Also see our seasonal guides: Summer | Fall | Winter


  • Winery Tour Sugar Mountain

    Winery Trail

    Take your own winery tour in our Sugar Mountain area and enjoy spectacular scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, beautiful outdoor settings, weekend live music, and plenty of local wines. Two wineries are located just five miles from our village. Open year-round. Free admission. Read more!

    Alpine Coaster

    Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster

    New in 2020! The first Alpine Coaster in the North Carolina Mountains is located at the base of Sugar Mountain. Ride individual carts at speeds up to 27 MPH on multiple 360-degree loops. It’s a cross between a roller coaster and toboggan sled run. They are open every day year-round, including our winter ski season. Read more.

    Tennis Sugar Mtn

    Sugar Mountain Tennis

    The tennis at Sugar is spectacular. Six courts, meticulously maintained of fast-dry, Har-tru clay, are wildly popular from May through October. Mens, womens, and mixed play “friendlys’’ can be found every day of the week. And like the golf, the tennis facilities are open to everyone, either on a pay as you go basis, or economical season pass options. Read much more!

    Sugar Mountain Golf Course

    Sugar Mountain Public Golf Club may be the best kept secret in mountain golf. Located just minutes from Boone, Banner Elk and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 18-hole, par 64 municipal course is “Everyman’s Golf Course” in a region home to some of the world’s premiere private country club communities. Find golf at Sugar Mountain affordable and accessible. Open early April through October. Walk specials are available every afternoon after 3 o’clock, as are twilight rates with cart. Read much more!

    Sugar Creek Gem Mine

    Sugar Creek Mining Company

    Mine your own North Carolina gemstones! Grab a bucket and our expert staff will set you up on our flume line, then our staff will help you pan your gems and identify them. If desired, our expert gem cutters can cut your rough gemstones and set it into a piece of jewelry. Located across from the entrance to Sugar Mountain. For more info, go to their website.

    Sugar Mountain Ski Slopes

    Skiing & Snowboarding at Sugar Mountain

    Enjoy skiing and snowboarding at one of the South’s premier ski slopes, Sugar Mountain Resort. Choose from full day, half day, twilight or night sessions. Come as you are – equipment rentals and sports shop on-site. Beginners learn skiing & snowboarding at either the Adult or Children’s Ski & Snowboard Schools. Groups are welcome and childcare is available. Read much more!

    High Country Expeditions

    High Mountain Expeditions

    Over 25 years of experience providing guided rafting trips including Nolichucky River, Watauga River and Wilson Creek, along with New River tubing, Hiking and Caving. Family friendly and safety conscious. Located near the main entrance to Sugar Mountain. For more info, go to their website.

    Blue Ridge Parkway Drive

    Blue Ridge Parkway

    Just minutes from Sugar Mountain, you’ll find The Blue Ridge Parkway, “America’s Favorite Drive.” Some of the most scenic, most photographed parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway are located near Sugar Mountain with abundant opportunity for hiking, picnicking, leaf-looking, wildflower-watching and birding. See our Parkway Trip Guide.


  • banner house museum

    Banner House Museum

    See what life was like in the NC mountains during the 1800s. The Banner House was built in 1865 by one of Banner Elk’s founding fathers, Samuel Henry Banner. The museum displays artifacts including period furnishings, farm tools, hand-stitched quilts, vintage clothing, photographs and paintings. Open June-September.

    Apple Hill Alpaca Farm

    Apple Hill Farm

    Take a guided tour of this mountaintop alpaca farm and store. The walking tours let you get up close and personal with the alpacas, llamas, angora goats, guardian donkeys, dogs and other animals. Located 8 miles from the Sugar Mountain main entrance. Open year-round, weather permitting. Reservations recommended. For more info, go to their website.

    Linville Caverns

    Linville Caverns

    Go underground and walk through Linville Caverns. Experienced guides take you into the subterranean world, giving you a history of the caverns and allowing you to view the stalactites, stalagmites and underground stream. Open year round, but only on weekends December-February. Located 20 miles south of Sugar Mountain. For more info, go to their website.

    Grandfather Mtn

    Grandfather Mountain

    Located only 15 minutes away from Sugar Mountain, Grandfather Mountain is home to the famous “Mile High Swinging Bridge,” the Nature Museum, wildlife habitats featuring bears and hiking trails. Drive to the top. Sugar Mountain offers some of the closest places to stay. See our Grandfather Mountain Guide.

Recreation & Outdoors

  • Sugar Mtn Tubing

    Sugar Mountain Tubing Park

    Tube down 700-foot tubing lanes and return to the top via the Magic Carpet Lift! No experience needed and fun for all ages. Tube rental included. The Tubing Park is located across the street from the Ski Lodge – on the golf course. The park offers lights for night tubing, regularly groomed lanes and snowmaking. Sessions are just under two hours long and open everyday, weather permitting. Read more!

    Ice Skating at Sugar Mountain

    Sugar Mountain Resort’s 10,000 square foot refrigerated outdoor ice skating rink is the perfect place to experience the beauty of the mountains on skates! You can rent skates at the Dave Nixon Pro Shop (located beside the rink) and warm up inside with a sip of hot cocoa or enjoy a hearty meal. Read more!

    Snowshoeing at Sugar Mountain Resort

    Explore Sugar Mountain’s winter wonderland with a Snowshoe Guided Tour. Tours range from a casual walk to an intense workout. Experienced guides will accommodate your needs. Each tour is one hour long and includes a snowshoe rental. Groups welcome. Read more!


  • Replay Arcade

    Replay Arcade

    This modern arcade in downtown Banner Elk is fun for the entire family. Play a wide variety of games with many new and maybe even an old school one from back in the day. There is a hot dog bar with a menu of all different varieties and famous pizza from Sorrento’s next door. 140 Azalea Circle, Banner Elk, NC.

    Wildcat Lake

    Wildcat Lake

    CLOSED FOR 2020 SEASON… Just a few minutes from Sugar Mountain, Wildcat Lake offers an old-fashioned swimming hole complete with white sand beach, swimming pier and fishing dock. This 13-acre lake is a popular venue for non-motorized boating and kayak and canoe rentals are available seasonally. The NC Wildlife Resource Commission stocks the lake with three varieties of trout, bluegill and largemouth bass. Fishing is open from dawn to dusk, seven days per week. NC fishing licenses are required. Tufts Memorial Park, located next door, provides a bath house, picnic tables and shelters. The park and lake are owned and maintained by Grandfather Home for Children. There is no charge to use the facilities, although donations are appreciated. To reserve the picnic shelters, call 828-898-5465.

    Edge of World

    Edge of the World

    Guided whitewater rafting, whitewater kayaking, rappelling and rock climbing for the whole family. Trips include a delicious home cooked lunch. Enjoy rock climbing and rappelling in the beautiful Wilson Creek Wilderness with three phases of instruction. Whitewater rafting includes the Anaconda rapid, and since we lease the property where the rapid is located, you can re-run the Anaconda as many times as you like. For more info, go to their website.
    394 Shawneehaw Ave, Banner Elk


    Hawksnest Zipline

    Zipline year-round! Hawksnest currently has 20 ziplines including 4 mega zips, 2 over 2000 feet long and 2 over 1500 feet long. With 4 miles of zipline riding with heights over 200 feet and speeds up to 50 mph. Ziplines are over trees, through trees, over lakes and creeks with panoramic views on almost every ride. Huge observation deck at mountaintop lodge for after your zipping sessions! For more info, go to their website.

Arts & Culture

  • Art Galleries Sugar Mountain

    Art Galleries near Sugar Mountain

    The Sugar Mountain area offers many art galleries with a range of talented artists. Here are the top spots for craft and art by both regional and national artists – all within 10 miles of the entrance to our mountain village:
    Banner Elk Artists Gallery, 185 Azalea Circle SE, Banner Elk (in historic school)
    Mountain Blue Gallery, 151 Shawnheehaw Avenue, Banner Elk
    Clark Gallery, 393 Shawneehaw Avenue, Banner Elk
    Art Cellar Gallery, 920 Shawneehaw Avenue, Banner Elk
    Carlton Gallery, 10360 NC 105 South, Banner Elk
    Sally Nooney Gallery, 7137 Hwy 194 South, Banner Elk
    Rivercross Made in USA, 3595 NC 194, Sugar Grove (Beside Mast General Store in Valle Crucis)
    Alta Vista Gallery, 2839 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis

    Ensemble Stage Theatre

    Ensemble Stage Theatre

    This intimate professional theater in Banner Elk brings a broad range of live theatrical presentations of the highest possible quality at an affordable price. Their Christmas Variety Show is especially fun. Located inside the historic Banner Elk School, just 2.5 miles from the main entrance of Sugar Mountain.

    Lees McRae Summer Theatre

    Lees-McRae College Summer Theatre

    Lees-McRae College offers outstanding professional performances during summer months as part of their Summer Theatre season. They specialize in musicals, Golden Age classics to the newest Broadway hits, and ambitious original works, with a 150+ member company from other college theatre programs across the country. Returns in 2021!


  • Mast General Store

    Mast General Store

    The famous original Mast General Store is not only a great place to shop, it’s a trip back in time. It’s only 10 miles from the entrance of Sugar Mountain in the scenic area of Valle Crucis. Find gourmet country food, gourmet cookware, gifts, shoes, old-fashioned toys and more. Just 2/10 of a mile down the road, find the Mast General Store Annex with top brands of clothing and outdoor gear and the old fashioned Candy Barrel. For more, go to their website.
    Main Store Address: 3565 Hwy 194 S, Sugar Grove, NC 28679
    Annex: 2918 Broadstone Rd, Banner Elk, NC 28604


    Provisions on Sugar

    This favorite stop for both locals and tourists has something for everyone! Keely has a wide selection of locally, NC, and American made gifts, decor, natural health & wellness and unique food products (Moonshine Pickles are a fave!). While you’re there, enjoy one of 50 delicious snow cone flavors. Make it a Unicone (unicorn snow cone) for a super fun treat! For more, go to their Facebook page.
    110 Sugar Mountain Dr, Sugar Mountain (near main entrance)