Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Hot Springs, NC

  • Published 2023/01/11

For millennia, people have been drawn to Hot Springs, North Carolina, a valley at the confluence of Spring Creek and the French Broad River.

A unique hot spring bubbles up from the ground, and prehistoric men carved symbols on granite rocks and where the Appalachian Trail was built by paws, hooves, and feet.

Those who live there call it “the vortex,” and today’s motorcyclists aren’t the only ones who feel the draw.

Hot Springs, North Carolina, is a town located in Madison County.

It is a part of the Asheville Metropolitan Area.

It’s a tourist destination because of the nearby Appalachian Trail and French Broad River, as well as the town’s name-brand hot springs.

Whether you’re looking for a day of exploration, a rejuvenating dip in a natural mineral Hot Springs, or a fun night out with family and friends, Hot Springs will leave you feeling renewed and revitalized.

Hot Springs is well situated for a wide range of outdoor pursuits, including whitewater rafting, hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling.

Hot Springs is home to the Appalachian Trail, which attracts thousands of thrill-seekers from across the world each year.

Do you want to unwind?

Enjoy a relaxing dip in Hot Springs’ world-famous natural mineral water.

Indulge in a spa or massage session for an additional dose of joy!

Make plans to dine at one of the area’s many local establishments.

You’ll be able to eat and drink your way through the day’s adventures with live music, artisan beers, and wonderful cuisine.

Tour Hot Springs, North Carolina, with us.

Now let’s look at the 20 best things to do in Hot Springs, North Carolina.

Admire the Grandeur of the Region from Max Patch

View of Two People at Max Patch

Taylor Linkes /

There is a wonderful and unexpected experience to be had on Max Patch, which anybody may stumble into.

A green area without trees and a clear view of mountains surrounds hikers at the mountain’s summit. The Appalachian Trail is just a few miles away.

View of the sunset from Max Patch

Doug Ash /

Those who are not experts in hiking can follow a path straight up to the summit or head to the left at the trailhead for a longer and less demanding route.

The hike here is worth it.

Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you have your snack or dinner.

A trail at Max Patch

Martina Sliger /

Horseback Riding at the Broadwing Farm

This farm welcomes families and has no additional expenses for those with kids that stay at Broadwing Farm.

Today’s kids are surrounded by numerous reasons to stay indoors and lose out on the forest, animals, and the types of adventures that previous generations could readily enjoy.

During your time in Hot Springs, you and your children may participate in various activities.

A horseback ride along a mountain track with vistas of the rocky French Broad River Valley is an experience in itself.

The region’s horseback riding outfitters have decades of expertise in delivering wholesome family enjoyment in nature.

Try Extreme Water Adventure with Hot Springs Rafting Co.

Are you looking for the ultimate whitewater rafting experience?

The Hot Springs Rafting Co. offers a wide range of exciting activities for visitors to enjoy.

They’ll assign you a tour guide so that everyone can get the most out of their field trip.

For the most daring, there is also whitewater rafting.

There are a variety of guided and unguided tours available on the French Broad River, from half-day and full-day excursions to self-guided rentals.

Section 9 from Barnard to Hot Springs provides scenic views and whitewater adventures with difficulty levels, from Class II to Class V.

Celebrate Music at Wild Goose Festival

Parade at Wild Goose Festival


The Wild Goose Festival is a four-day festival in downtown Hot Springs that focuses on justice, spirituality, music, and art.

The festival’s roots are in the notions of unpredictability, grace, and beauty, and as such, it is an ever-changing event that thrills and surprises year after year.

Concert at Wild Goose Festival


Festival-goers may expect to laugh with residents and visitors alike, dance to a broad range of musical genres, and experience the beautiful products of local area artisans at this family-friendly event.

People at Wild Goose Festival


Unwind at Hot Springs Resort & Spa

The Hot Springs Spa is where you can take advantage of the mountain’s natural wonders.

The medicinal properties of the carbonated mineral waters, which are sourced from deep below the ground, have made them an international sensation.

The waters of Spring Creek and the French Broad River are piped into new outdoor baths that are situated along the quiet banks of this wonderful 100-acre Resort & Spa.

Massage therapists who are nationally and state-recognized and licensed are on hand to provide excellent customer satisfaction.

Spend the Night with Nature at Creek Ridge Camping

Campers may stay at Creek Ridge Camping and be one with nature.

To get to the creekside campsites, you’ll have to walk a long way.

This camping trip will be unlike any other.

At night, the flow of the creek lulls campers to sleep.

Ice, firewood, and other necessities are available in their camp store.

Gaze at the Stunning Artworks at Artisun Gallery and Marketplace

After a day at the Hot Springs Spa, Artisun Gallery and Marketplace is a lovely spot to get a cappuccino and some ice cream.

They have a delicious chai iced tea drink and a hot latte on the menu.

If you’re looking for unusual souvenirs or wedding presents, this is a great place to look.

The gallery is a great place to hang out.

All of its artists and artisans are incredibly gifted.

Every day, the eatery offers a variety of mouthwatering dishes, including quiche, pumpkin muffins, baked bagels, and the town’s famed Zuma cookies.

Pasta, raw chocolate, and more may all be found at the gallery.

Visiting the gallery is a great way to spend some time in Hot Springs.

Go Hiking at the Appalachian Trail

View from Appalachian Trail

Jennifer Stanford /

There are a lot of great hiking trails in the area around Hot Springs.

As well as having the Appalachian Trail pass right through town, the town’s lush scenery is ideal for trekking and mountaineering.

Appalachian Trail has a total length of 2,185 miles and is the world’s longest continually designated trail.

Wild locations, small settlements, and a sliver of America’s most crowded areas are part of the famed footpath’s route.

View of Appalachian Trail that Passed Through Downtown

Hot Springs Tourism & Welcome Center, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As a result of its convenient location and numerous entry points, it attracts over 2 million tourists each year.

National Park System’s Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) was finished in 1937.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the National Park Service (NPS), the US Forest Service (USFS), a variety of state agencies, and 31 local Trail-maintaining groups are all involved in its management.

A group of volunteers from the Carolina Mountain Club maintain the Appalachian Trail (AT) at Hot Springs.

Daytime views along Appalachian Trail

Toribio93 /

Learn More About Hot Springs at Hot Springs North Carolina Welcome Center

The Madison County Welcome Center in Hot Springs, North Carolina, lies at 106 Bridge Street.

Nearby Gentry Hardware Store is a post office and a hardware store, and the Appalachian Trail is just in front of it.

It is an excellent site to gather information about Hot Springs, North Carolina.

You may learn about the town’s rich history and the natural world at the Welcome Center’s exhibitions.

An exhibit by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy includes the footprints of local fauna.

You may relax and enjoy the scenery from here.

In addition, they provide free, always-on WiFi.

Stay at Iron Horse Station

Located in the middle of Hot Springs, North Carolina, the Iron Horse Station is a historic inn, restaurant, bar, and shop that sits right on the Appalachian Trail.

The inn, restaurant, bar, and stores at Iron Horse Station have all undergone major renovations, resulting in a lovely getaway nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the French Broad River.

Each of the fifteen rooms at Iron Horse Station has a private bathroom, making it ideal for families or couples.

Every room has modern furniture, handmade mattresses, original sky-wells, transom windows, and mountain vistas, as well as Jacuzzi tubs, transom windows, and mountain views.

Its restaurant and tavern provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for diners.

Sweat it Out at Fowler Farms Sporting Clays

Sporting clays at Fowler Farms may be enjoyed in a variety of settings, including fields and forests as well as mountain vistas.

You need to cross three minor creeks to reach the area where you will see a variety of species, including rabbits, groundhogs, turkeys, quail, pheasants, and deer, as you make your way through the woods.

At their own pace, participants go from station to station.

It removes the need for a human trapper at each location.

There are singles, report pairs, and true pairs released from each station.

Each station has a distinct bird flying for the shooter to choose from.

One station cannot be seen from another because of the spacing between stations.

Andy Perkins, the President of Promatic, was emphasized safety while creating the course.

When a shooter is focused on a specific target, they are more likely to switch chokes.

You may be apprehensive about trying out this activity, but you’ll discover that Fowler Farms is a welcoming place where you may even shoot alone if you like.

Its main priority is to ensure that everyone uses a firearm safely.

Though it may be fun to play clay target shooting, the guns used are lethal, making it a dangerous pastime.

Go Glamping at Paint Rock Farm

In Hot Springs, North Carolina, Paint Rock Farm overlooks the vast Pisgah National Forest and offers guests a peaceful respite while still providing upscale amenities.

On the French Broad River banks, the farm has more than just a sustainable organic hemp farm and wonderful outdoor event areas.

Western North Carolina Glamping Cabins, located on the 162-acre preserve and offer a snug and tastefully constructed lodgings, are also available.

Paint Rock Farm provides 30 acres of pastoral fields with several distinct perspectives for hosting weddings, retreats, and corporate events for up to 200 guests.

Additionally, you may rent the 3,200-square-foot historic barn for your ceremony or reception, providing a rustic yet luxurious setting.

Go Fishing at the French Broad River

The waters of French Broad River

upinthehillscasey /

Fishing in and around Hot Springs is a popular pastime for locals and visitors alike.

You may also go fishing on the French Broad River, where you can catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, walleye, channel catfish, rock bass, white drum.

It is also home to some massive golden catfish and musky.

On top of all that, the French Broad River Festival is held there.

A person admiring the French Broad River

Gingo Scott /

People from all over the world come to Hot Springs in May to enjoy local music, local art, and the French Broad River, which flows through the city.

In addition to having a good time, the festival raises money for local charities such as Families Together, American Whitewater, Manna Food Bank, and many more.

Since the festival’s beginning, over $100,000 has been donated to these and other local charities.

Aerial view of French Broad River

Ryan Phillips Media /

Check Out the Paint Rock Pictographs

An American Indian pictograph known as Paint Rock can be seen alone in North Carolina.

In addition to serving as a neighborhood landmark, the area’s murals have a long and distinguished history.

Campfires and the elements were already causing harm to the pictogram by the time of Strother.

Relief funds from Hurricane Katrina in 2004 allowed the formal recording of a North Carolina bi-chrome panel in Paint Rock.

The National Forests in North Carolina hired Jannie Loubser, a rock art expert, to record the panel, including condition evaluation, pigment dating and analysis, assessment of prehistoric context and significance, and selection of proper conservation and management activities.

During the 2006 Paint Rock investigation, researchers employed mapping, photography, traceability, and the acquisition of three pigmented rock samples to identify the pictograph’s age and provenance.

Enjoy Bluegrass Music at the Bluff Mountain Festival

The Hot Springs Resort and Spa is the host of the Bluff Mountain Festival every year.

Bluff Mountain is a one-day outdoor celebration celebrating Madison County’s rich cultural heritage.

Clog dancers and traditional balladeers will perform with bluegrass musicians, making this a unique experience.

The festival’s original purpose was to stop logging on Bluff Mountain.

Still, the underlying principles of environmental preservation remain intact today.

Additionally, the Madison County Arts Council benefits from the festival’s earnings.

Bring Your Four-Legged Pals to Hot Springs Campground

A short distance from the Hot Springs Spa and Natural Mineral Baths is the Hot Springs Campground, situated along the banks of the French Broad River.

It is a popular resting place for tourists of all kinds, from Appalachian Trail backpackers to tourists and fitness enthusiasts.

Even on the warmest days, the campsite is cool and shaded by trees, making it ideal for families.

Utilize the picnic tables and fire pits at each campsite, clean bathrooms, hot showers, complete RV hookups, camping cottages, and tent and RV campgrounds.

Pets are permitted in some apartments and for camping visitors for an extra cost.

Have a Delightful Staycation at Spring Creek Tavern & Inn

Tim & Amanda take with them a desire to establish a warm, welcoming environment with fresh food, chilled beer, and cheerful service.

They have over 50 years of experience in several different types of restaurants.

There are three nightly rentals on top of Spring Creek Tavern and Inn.

Two of these lodgings are two-room suites; one has three full beds, another has a king bed, and the third is a single room with two full beds.

Snuggle up in the hallway, reading one of their novels, and enjoy a moment of peace.

Discover the selection of domestic bottles and cans, craft bottles, drafts, and wines on the drink menu.

Admire the Views at Spring Creek Farmhouse

Located on more than 4.5 expansive acres surrounding the flowing Spring Creek, Pisgah National Forest, and Appalachian Trail, Spring Creek Farmhouse was constructed in 1900.

The unique and historic Spring Creek Farmhouse is the ideal place to make lifelong memories in the picturesque city of Hot Springs.

This hidden mountain valley jewel has immediate access to Spring Creek’s raging waters and plenty of open spaces for admiring the stunning surroundings.

Enjoy beautiful fireplaces, exquisite historical decor, and four expansive bedrooms that are great for social events with friends and family.

It is an excellent choice for your next trip, with majestic panoramic views and immense manicured landscapes.

Reconnect with Nature and Animals at Llamas of Hot Springs

David Wynn founded Llamas of Hot Springs to provide opportunities for meaningful wilderness connection through llama-assisted therapies, outdoor expeditions, and experiential learning.

They hope to raise awareness of llamas and their cultural legacy through interactive activities and events.

You may feed and brush the llamas, see a catch-and-halter demo, stroll the llamas around the area, and more when you visit the llamas at the farm.

Learn everything there is to know about llamas and the area’s unusual biodiversity and experience some of the fascinating local histories, all while being accompanied by a fleecy pal.

Llama excursions and farm tours are only available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Stop by to Snack at Dave’s 209

Biking is a close second passion at Dave’s 209, followed by a love of food.

They have a motorbike parking pad for their two-wheeled buddies, so keep that in mind if you ride over.

Dave’s 209 is the ideal location to get some action as it offers free WiFi, games to play, delicious cuisine, milkshakes, and a viewpoint that some people spend a lot of money to see!

They create delicious hamburgers, and two of their exclusive toppings—The Mountain Dust and Bacon Dust—are available for the fries.

The strawberry milkshake with actual strawberries is a must-try at Dave’s 209.

Since they recognize the benefits of supporting regional farmers and agribusinesses, Dave’s 209 seeks locally produced items to help local agriculture.

Additionally, they provide birthday packages and catering for their beloved guests.

Final Thoughts

Historic Hot Springs is a little community that has a lot to offer.

People come to the town to enjoy the hot natural mineral springs, the French Broad River and water sports, or hiking/biking the various trails–including one of the world’s most famous: the Appalachian Trail.

In Hot Springs, North Carolina, you’re in for a treat!

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