Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Spruce Pine, NC

  • Published 2023/04/03

If you’re thinking about a great nature getaway, then it’s about time you head to Spruce Pine in North Carolina.

This small town in Mitchell County has a humble community, which started in 1907.

This historic scenic town is known for its moniker “The Mineral City of the World.”

It’s designated as one of the Mountain Heritage Trout Cities.

Abundant nature reserves surround the town with mountain ranges, rivers, wildlife, and forests that are sure to give you worthwhile adventures.

Spruce Pine also boasts its unique art and culture showcased in local art venues and annual celebrations.

Are you excited to discover more of what this town has to offer?

Here are the best things to do in Spruce Pine, NC:

Explore Wonderful Nature at the Blue Ridge Parkway

Scenic view from Blue Ridge Parkway's road

anthony heflin /

The Blue Ridge Parkway of the Highlands Region extends from the Virginia-North Carolina state line winding down south in Crabtree Falls.

Take a scenic driving tour and view the picturesque Appalachian Mountains, the majestic Mount Mitchell, and the breathtaking Linville Falls.

You can also see Linville Gorge and Whitewater Falls.

You’ll find rich vegetation in the valleys with varieties of wildflowers blooming during the spring and summer.

Cascade falls along Blue Ridge Parkway

James W. Thompson /

The trails offer an equally spectacular view of the mountain’s slopes during fall when the leaves start to change to autumn colors.

You’ll spot wildlife like white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, or a black bear.

You’ll also enjoy fishing in the Parkway waters with plenty of brown trout, rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, and bream.

On the stretch of the Parkway, you’ll find several fine art shops and galleries, flea markets, quaint stores, and roadside produce stalls.

Gorgeous sunset over Blue Ridge Parkway

anthony heflin /

Bring Your Family to Brad Ragan Park

A day at Brad Ragan Park is an adventure you won’t forget at Downtown Spruce Pine.

Enjoy a family picnic at the picnic shelters or take a relaxing stroll along the walking trail beside the river.

Then, bring your little ones for some fun at the playground.

Grab your fishing gear and catch some fish for the day.

The park also has a swimming pool that visitors can use for a minimal fee during summer.

Enjoy active sports like basketball and tennis on the courts.

You can also practice some pitching or play ball on the field.

Join the Fire on the Mountain Celebrations

Spruce Pine’s Fire on the Mountain celebrates the art of blacksmithing.

The Fire on the Mountain continues to draw tourists to Spruce Pine annually.

This tradition began in 2007 as a local festival called “Hammerin’ on the Toe.

Today, the town celebrates Fire on the Mountain every last Saturday of April downtown.

It has become one of the largest blacksmith festivals in the East Coast region.

The event offers free admission, made possible via partnership with Spruce Pine Main Street, the Penland School of Crafts, and the Toe River Arts Council.

Thousands gather to watch world-renowned artist blacksmiths forge new creative pieces.

You also get the chance to buy some of their works, too.

Join the Master Demonstration workshops conducted by a Master Blacksmith at Penland School.

Sign up to try blacksmithing yourself in the hands-on tent with the assistance of volunteers.

You can also buy tools from vendors.

The celebrations won’t be complete without the lines of food and drinks you’ll enjoy.

Discover and Mine Your Own Gems at Emerald Village

Old and rusty steam engine at Emerald Village

Gingo Scott /

Emerald Village is nestled in the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains.

Tour the North Carolina Mining Museum and go underground to explore the historic Bon Ami Mine and Waterfalls.

Learn about mining history and view old equipment.

Mine and find gems to keep at the historic Big Deal Mine and experience the thrill of gold panning to see flashes of gold.

Otherwise, you can prospect and dig for emeralds at the Crabtree Emerald Mine.

They also offer a Black Light Mine Tour, where you’ll experience a nighttime mine tour and uncover gems such as the Hyalite Opal with a UV light.

Visit the ten-floor Discovery Mill building, which also offers fun things to see and do.

You can grab some food and refreshments at the Crabtree Junction Shop on the ground floor and eat at the indoor picnic area or the picnic facilities outside.

See exhibits on the other floors like The Model Railroad Exhibit, The Black Light Mineral Display, The Worldwide Gem & Mineral Collection, The Native Wildlife Exhibit, and much more.

See Unique Art Displays at Toe River Arts Studio

Established in 1976, the Toe River Arts Studio was first known as the Toe River Arts Council.

It focuses on arts education and promoting cultural organizations in the counties of Mitchell, Avery, and Yancey, North Carolina.

The Toe River Arts Gallery hosts plenty of unique exhibitions featuring the works of talented local artists.

You can purchase the creative works of these artists year-round.

They also hold a Toe River Studio Tour every June and December showcasing Yancey and Mitchell County artists.

The Studio also holds special and themed exhibits throughout the year.

Jam with the Crowd at the Toe Jam Rockin’ Music Festival

The Toe Jam Rockin’ Music Festival is a lively headbanging event held during Labor Day weekend.

This all-day event held on Lower Street is free for everyone to enjoy.

Catch the featured live music performed by the best rock bands in the region.

For 12 hours straight, you’ll enjoy classic rock’ n’ roll hits to sing and dance to.

Have fun watching the watermelon-eating contest, or join the hula hoop or hot wing-eating contests.

Kids will also enjoy the zip line, water slide, dance contests, do-it-yourself shirt tie-dyeing, and face painting activities.

You’ll also enjoy the costume contest, samples of local food, rows of beer vendors, and shopping for goods.

The festival also funds local charities like Shepard Staff Food Bank and the Toe River Valley Watch.

Pick Fresh Apples at Orchard at Altapass

Daytime view of Orchard at Altapass' apple orchard

Jill Lang /

Among the most-visited attractions in the Blue Ridge Parkway area, the Orchard at Altapass offers a unique cultural and enjoyable experience.

The Orchard is known to organically grow the finest heirloom apples, which you’ll see as you stroll the apple forest.

Enjoy apple-picking with your family and visit the beautiful Pollinator Garden to see the monarch butterflies and busy bees hovering over the flowers.

Walk the trails through rows of apple trees and cove forests on the foothills overlooking the Altapass.

Take a “hayride” through the orchard and visit some historical attractions in the area that takes you to the Revolutionary War era.

A butterfly on a flower at Orchard at Altapass

James W. Thompson /

If you want something laid-back, you can relax and watch countless migrating birds fly around the orchard or enjoy some games on the porch.

You can’t miss a serving of hot apple pie topped with hand-scooped ice cream and different homemade fudge flavors at Apple Core Grill.

If you’re dropping by for the weekend, you can catch live music performances at the pavilion.

Don’t forget to take home some homemade jams, jellies, honey, and local specialties like pickled veggies, dips, and salsa available at the Orchard’s General Store.

Wildflowers at Orchard at Altapass

James W. Thompson /

Buy Precious Gems at the Grassy Creek Mineral & Gem Show

Running for three decades, the Grassy Creek Mineral & Gem is a week-long show sponsored by the Parkway Fire and Rescue.

Stop by the venue, and you’ll find lines of vendors offering precious and semiprecious stones, crystals, and other items like fossils and jewelry.

You’ll see why the town was hailed the “Mineral City.”

See raw stones and minerals like quartz, agate, marbles, and rhodolite garnet on display here.

Admission to the show is free so look around for the gem that catches your eye.

You’ll also see several exciting demonstrations at the event.

Play Hours of Golf at the Grassy Creek Golf & Country Club

Grassy Creek Golf & Country Club offers excellent green fairways with a view of a magnificent mountain range.

This 18-hole semi-private golf course offers a well-maintained rolling terrain covered with fast bentgrass greens.

You’ll indeed have hours of golfing pleasure and enjoy the scenery.

Dine at the locally-owned No. 3 Grill after a tiring tee game.

Feast on featured favorites on their menu, from the main course to homemade desserts, all prepared with fresh ingredients and unique flavors.

Go Natural on Soaps at The Blue Ridge Soap Shed

Started by former science professor Dr. Tim Tyndall and his wife Karen in 1998, The Blue Ridge Soap Shed features more than a hundred types of natural handmade soap.

The shop located in the Blue Ridge mountains has now become a well-visited location in Spruce Pine.

Drop by the shop and choose from assorted soap selections for your different needs like treatments for skin conditions, sensitive skin, or remedies for bugs and burns.

All products are made from natural raw materials and ingredients like tropical oils, herbs, different vegetable butter, goat milk, and herbs.

Among their bestsellers include the Blue Ridge Wildflowers, Carolina Kudzu, Fresh Mountain Air, Castile soaps, and Appalachian Lye soap.

If you’re interested in soap-making, you can join the one-day or scheduled workshops and learn about the cold process, formulating soap recipes, and setting up your own soap business.

Get Pampered at Serenity Garden Wellness Center

After a day of getting around the town, you would want to relax and get pampered by healing hands, which is what Serenity Garden Wellness Center does best.

The spa offers therapeutic massage, reflexology, Reiki massage, and a Combo massage.

You can choose from any of its massage offerings and take advantage of the spa’s calming and healing environment through the gentle touch of Avril Wilson.

Wilson is a licensed Occupational Therapist and a Reiki Master and has been offering healing massage services for more than 30 years.

Serenity Garden Wellness Center is located off Locust Street.

Shop for Gems and Gifts at Rocks & Things

Apart from mining your own gems in Spruce Pine, the easier way to get one is at Rocks & Things.

This gem & gift shop features a beautiful selection of gems perfect for gifts for your loved ones or for yourself before heading back home.

Here, you’ll find minerals, gemstones, fossils, and crystals in different colors, sizes, and forms, which are all great for home and office decor, or for personal use.

There are jewelry, obelisks, clusters, and many other stuff perfect for gifts and souvenirs.

For those who love crafts, Rocks & Things is your place to be!

You can find the shop on Oak Avenue.

Bring a Picnic to Riverside Park

Picnics are always the best when shared with loved ones, and your trip to Spruce Pine would be one of the most memorable experiences you’ll have.

Thanks to Riverside Park for its picnic areas, both covered and not covered with plenty of picnic tables and grills for cookouts.

The open spaces at the picnic area will also allow you to lay your blanket and share a picnic together.

Your little ones can also have their time of life at the park’s nice play structure with bouncy rides, swings, a climbing wall, and an open area for running.

Riverside Park is located off East Tappan Street.

Get Your Caffeine Fix at DT’s Blue Ridge Java

Whether you’re on the run or chilling out for coffee, the best place to get it fixed is DT’s Blue Ridge Java in downtown Spruce Pine.

This quaint coffee shop serves delicious handcrafted coffee and gourmet meals for breakfast and lunch.

Don’t miss out on its mouthwatering breakfast sandwiches, pastries, egg salad with bacon, and fresh coffee options.

DT’s Blue Ridge Java also uses locally sourced coffee.

You can find it at Spruce Pine Main Street Organization on Locust Street.

Read a Book at Spruce Pine Public Library

Reading sessions for traveling bookworms come in handy at Spruce Pine Public Library with its comfortable corners and reading nooks.

The library keeps a great selection of books and other resources for kids, teens, and adults.

You can find audiobooks here, as well as e-books, magazines, history, genealogy, and videos, among other things.

It also hosts Chess Club, Reading Club, and Arts & Crafts.

Spruce Pine Public Library is part of the AMY (Avery-Mitchell- Yancey) Regional Library System, which was founded in 1948.

The library is located at Walnut Avenue.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Enjoy the Scenic Crabtree Trail and Falls

Majestic-looking Crabtree Trail and Falls

Jeffery Edwards /

Whether going on a day tour or camping overnight, Crabtree Falls welcomes you with a scenic nature stop.

Hike to the falls on the 2.5-mile loop trail that varies from moderate to high difficulty.

The hike will take about one and a half to two and a half hours to complete.

Keep an eye out for steep inclines and rocky terrains on the trails.

You’ll pass through towering oaks, hickory forest areas, and thickets of rosebay rhododendron.

Boardwalk near the Crabtree Falls

Jeffery Edwards /

However, all the effort is worth it once you see a glimpse of the panoramic 60-foot Crabtree Falls.

See its waters splashing on the rocky cliffs surrounded by thriving ferns and wildflowers.

You can easily make your back on the loop down from the falls that meander to Crabtree Creek and ends near the campgrounds.

You can set up camp at the 92-site grounds and enjoy a night of stargazing.

Otherwise, join a day tour and have lunch at the picnic area.

Ride the Rapids at Toe River Canoe Trail

Enjoy an exciting canoe ride adventure at the Toe River Canoe Trail.

The 37-mile river trail runs down from Spruce Pine’s Riverside Park to Poplar, with waters comprising class I, III, and III rapids.

Expect to ride the rapids at a speed of 2-3 miles per hour under normal conditions.

You’re sure to enjoy the stunning forest and farmland views.

Let the scenic mountains, rapids, and valleys mesmerize you.

Catch sightings of wildlife such as great blue herons, hawks, ducks, ospreys, fish, turtles, and various amphibians.

You can also stop by the access points along the trail at regular intervals at a bridge.

See the Spectacular Linville Falls

Aerial view of Linville Falls

amadeustx /

Access to Linville Falls begins with two main hiking trails, the Erwins View Trail and Linville Gorge Trail.

Both trails range from moderate to high difficulty, beginning at the Linville Falls Visitor Center.

You’ll enjoy the sight of unspoiled hemlock forests and tall white pine, hickory, oaks, and birch trees.

Visit the place during the fall to see their stunning red and golden colors.

The trail paths are also decorated with a colorful display of wildflowers, especially during spring.

Hikers admiring Linville Falls' upper falls

Bob Pool /

Erwins View Trail spans a 1.6-mile moderate round-trip path, with four overlooks giving hikers a different view of the Linville Falls area.

This includes an area a few miles from the Visitor Center, the Chimney View, where you can see the upper and lower falls.

Stop by the Gorge View Overlook with a view of the Linville River, and the Erwins View Overlook giving a panoramic view of the Linville Gorge.

The Linville Gorge Trail takes you to the Plunge Basin Overlook to view the Chimneys and lower falls.

Cascades of Linville Falls' lower falls

Mary Terriberry /

Hunt for Gems at Gem Mountain

The gem-hunting makes a Spruce Pine a fantastic place to visit.

Gem Mountain will not disappoint anyone with a hankering for gem hunting.

Charles and Kay Buchanan own and run the attraction, which has been providing family fun since 1987.

In Gem Mountains’ central area, you can find your treasures at the flume mine and have them custom-made into jewelry.

The general store also has several unique and handcrafted items you can bring home as souvenirs.

You can also join the guided mine tours at the private mines and dig your own gems.

Take a Nature Retreat at Springmaid Mountain

Located in a secluded North Toe River area, Springmaid Mountain is a great nature retreat for a relaxing getaway in Spruce Pine.

This 400-acre attraction is open all year and offers guests a tranquil escape.

Its excellent facilities complement the fantastic natural backdrop.

You can check in at the cabins for your accommodation.

Otherwise, set up tents at the campground for an outdoor experience.

Enjoy fishing at the river or have a river adventure on a canoe or tube.

You can also hike on the trails or avail yourself of the trail rides.

Ride the winter carriages during the holiday seasons.

Final Thoughts

Spruce Pine is a small town that offers a list of great scenic nature spots for adventurous travelers.

It also boasts of historic locations, and water attractions like falls and rivers to enjoy water activities.

You can also hike up mountain areas with excellent nature trails.

Likewise, you can join yearly community events celebrating local arts and craftsmanship in Spruce Pine.

Are you ready for an adventure?

Start planning your Spruce Pine trip today!

Best Hotels in Spruce Pine

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