Are you planning a weekend getaway to Black Mountain, NC, and looking for the best things to do there? Well, you're in for a treat!
Located about 15 minutes east of Asheville, Black Mountain offers a small-town ambiance ideal for a relaxing weekend. The town was named after the historic train station, the Black Mountain Depot. SafeWise ranks it as one of the safest communities in North Carolina, while the Asheville Citizen-Times called it the best little town in Western North Carolina. From top-rated breweries, waterfall hiking trails, and art centers to charming downtown stores, Black Mountain, NC, has it all!
1. Hike Black Mountain's Trails
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Black Mountain. Begin your adventure to Lake Tomahawk, where you can see the majestic Seven Sisters mountain range. This range is approximately 3.5 miles long and leads to the summit of Graybeard Mountain, even though Graybeard is not considered one of the “Sisters.”
There is a network of hiking trails to explore in this area. If you're up for a challenge, you can go on the Graybeard Trail! The Graybeard Trail is a challenging 9.5-mile round-trip hike with a 4.8-mile overlook. It usually takes skilled hikers 5-6 hours to finish the trek. It's best enjoyed during the summer or early fall!
Catawba Falls Trail, located roughly 20 minutes away in Old Fort, is another option. This is a popular and easy 3-mile round-trip trek that leads to a spectacular 100-foot waterfall.
The popular 1.5-mile Lookout Trail, located on Lookout Mountain, is only a 9-minute drive from downtown Black Mountain. Lookout Trail is a rewarding hike with its easy and steep stretches leading to a rocky summit. If you're more adventurous, hike another half-mile to Rattlesnake Mountain for even more spectacular views.
2. Visit Lake Tomahawk
Location: 401 Laurel Cir Dr, #3061 Black Mountain, NC, US
Walking around Lake Tomahawk is one of the best things to do in Black Mountain on a weekend. Spanning around 9 acres, the lake is surrounded by lush greenery and offers breathtaking views of the Graybeard Mountains and other nearby peaks. You'll see both visitors and locals here, whether they're relaxing, playing, or taking a stroll around the 16.3-acre Lake Tomahawk Park with a lovely lake in the center.
The park offers various recreational activities like a playground for kids, a 0.55-mile walking trail with charming bridges, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and a pavilion with picnic tables. The lake is a bird-watching haven with a stunning backdrop for photography. It's a large reservoir where ducks and geese often gather during migration season. If you're into fishing, non-motorized boats are permitted on the lake, but you must have a valid North Carolina fishing license. For your convenience, the park is open 24 hours a day.
3. Visit Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center
Location: 223 W State St, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
The Swannanoa Valley Museum, housed in a beautiful 1921 firehouse, is the best site to learn about the history of Buncombe County. Established in 1989, this non-profit museum aims to inform tourists about the historical value of the region. Inside, you'll discover historical records, ephemera, traveling exhibits, touring exhibits, and photographs.
Each year, the museum opens the first floor to at least one large temporary exhibition and the permanent displays on the second floor. It's the best museum in Black Mountain for learning about Swannanoa Valley history, Native American settlement, and much more.
4. Visit Black Mountain Brewing
Location: 131 Broadway Ave, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
Western North Carolina is a hub for microbreweries, with Black Mountain Brewing being one of the best. They feature seven rotating taps, offering a broad range of beers, such as the oatmeal stout and the unique blueberry french toast sour. What's even better? It's a dog-friendly spot, so you can sip on your favorite beers indoors or on their lovely outdoor patios while admiring the views of the mountains.
If you're feeling peckish, head to their food truck, “Smoke,” parked behind the taproom. There, they cook BBQ and Southern food over a wood fire. It's a fun place to eat good food and drink excellent beer in Black Mountain.
5. Black Mountain Cider and Mead
Location: 104 Eastside Dr #307, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
If you're not into hoppy beers, you should definitely visit Black Mountain Cider and Mead. Some people believe mead and cider are always sweet, but Black Mountain Cider and Mead defies that idea with their modern processes.
Located in a former furniture factory, their taproom is a family-friendly place to taste these unusual beers. They craft dry cider and session mead in small batches using local ingredients. Their specialty is low-gravity seasonal mead; it's lighter and easier to drink than high-gravity mead. They create unique craft beverages by mixing local honey with flavors like almond, sweet potato, coffee, pistachio, and beet. It's the kind of place that will keep you coming back for more.
6. Join the Black Mountain Ale Trail Tour
Location: 131 Broadway Ave, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
The Black Mountain Ale Trail is a brewery tour that starts and ends at Black Mountain Brewery. Take a guided bus tour to discover the area's natural beauty, nearby breweries, and the surrounding mountains. The tour leads you through Western North Carolina's Old Fort and Black Mountain regions. It includes stops at Hillman Beer, Oak & Grist Distillery, Lookout Brewing, and Pisgah Brewing. The tour lasts about 3.5 hours, offering a convenient way to visit multiple breweries in a single day, taste different beers, and learn about the histories of each brewery.
Note: All participants must be 21 or older.
7. Local Art Galleries in Black Mountain
- Seven Sister Gallery
Location: 119 Broadway Ave., Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
Since 1981, Seven Sisters Gallery has been a hub for local arts and crafts. Their goal is to offer a diverse range of handmade art at various price points. They proudly display the work of over 250 artists from Western North Carolina. Art pieces include glass, sculptures, woodwork, handmade pottery, and much more.
- Red House Studios and Art Gallery
Location: 310 W State St, Black Mountain, North Carolina 28711, US
For art lovers, Red House Studio and Art Gallery is one of the best things to visit in Black Mountain, NC, on weekends! The Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League was created in 1967 as a creative outlet for women. It eventually expanded to include Hendersonville, Morganton, and Asheville artists. The Red House was taken up by the league in 2011.
The Studio and Art Gallery houses a library corner, a live drawing studio, working studios for artists, Kitchen facilities, and a large gallery area. The public is welcome to explore the rotating exhibits, which offer a variety of art mediums such as photography, sculptures, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, and more.
8. Attend Sourwood Festival
Location: 102-108 Black Mountain Ave, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
The Sourwood Festival is a fantastic two-day celebration of the joys of Sourwood honey. This family-friendly street festival features arts and crafts, honey and bee presentations, carnival rides, bouncy rides, face painting, live music, and various food stalls. You can stroll through several streets and find around 200 vendors ready to satisfy your taste buds with delicious food and keep you entertained with live music. It's an excellent opportunity to honor the spirit of Black Mountain. Don't miss out on the fun!
9. Take Breakfast at Louise's Kitchen
Location: 115 Black Mountain Avenue, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
Every great town has a fantastic brunch location, and Louise's Kitchen is the place for Black Mountain. Louise's Kitchen, located in a lovely 1904 house, provides a laid-back and cozy ambiance. Guests can dine on the front porch, indoors, or at picnic tables on the lawn.
Classic brunch items on the menu include exquisite blueberry waffles and a lovely selection of soups. But it's Louise's Kitchen's homemade jams and delicious vanilla bean syrup that truly set it unique. It's the ultimate brunch spot that uses fresh, local ingredients to create a wonderful meal. Remember that Louise's gets a bit crowded on weekends, especially during Sunday brunch, so be prepared to wait if you go.
10. Visit Pisgah Brewing Company
Location: 2948 US Highway 70, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
The Pisgah Brewing Company is dedicated to creating positive vibes and offering great brews, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing weekend. Founded in 2005, they craft some of the most sought-after ales in Western North Carolina. Their taproom is located on a large property with a stage that offers a variety of live music events. You can watch these shows from picnic tables or on the lawn if you bring your blanket.
In addition, food trucks visit the taproom every Thursday and Sunday, as well as during live events. Guests are welcome to bring their own food as well. It's a nice spot to chill and drink good beer.
11. White Horse Black Mountain
Location: 105 Montreat Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
Next up on our list of the best things to do in Black Mountain, NC, is White Horse Black Mountain, a bustling live stage and music venue. It has a warm, intimate atmosphere with comfortable cabaret-style seats, sofas, and couches. Here, you can enjoy open mic nights and performances by local and national performers from a variety of music genres.
The building, dating back to the 1940s, radiates a cool, jazzy vibe. The stage is positioned above the floor, giving the audience a unique and personal experience. White Horse Black Mountain also has a full bar and a small concession counter with soft drinks and snacks. There is also a lovely outside patio to enhance your experience.
12. Play Golf at the Black Mountain Golf Club
Location: 15 Ross Dr, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
If you're seeking weekend activities in Black Mountain, why not tee off at the foot of the mountains? Designed by Donald Ross, Black Mountain Golf Club is the 6,215-yard, par-71 course, which includes a front nine. Play a round of golf on the 18-hole, par-71 course, and then visit the 19th Hole Grill for excellent meals and refreshments. As you play, take in the breathtaking views of the lush greens and spectacular mountains, producing a lovely experience that will continue for a few hours.
What makes this course unique is that some of the greens are downhill while others are uphill, offering diversity to your game. Try the back nine for an extra challenge, which includes the former longest hole in the world, a par 6.
13. Join Creative Mountain Food Tours
Location: W State St, Black Mountain, NC 28711, US
If you want to appreciate the culinary delights of Black Mountain, join the Creative Mountain Food Tours. These guided tours usually take 2.5 to 3 hours and allow tourists to visit five or six dessert shops and cafés for tempting tastes and beverages. These food tours not only satisfy your taste buds but also offer valuable insights into Black Mountain's rich culture and heritage.
Plus, you will have the opportunity to mingle with other participants and talk with local restaurant chefs, owners, and guides, offering a deeper connection to the community.
Don't forget to include this foodie adventure on your list of things to do in Black Mountain.
14. Shopping in Black Mountain
Not sure what to do next in Black Mountain? Why not shop? During your visit to downtown Black Mountain, NC, explore the wonderful stores.
- Europa (125 Cherry Street)
This beautiful store gives a taste of Europe to Black Mountain, with goods imported from nearly 20 different European countries, including Polish ceramics, Italian glass, German chocolates, trinkets, and more.
- Mountain Nest (133 Cherry Street)
Mountain Nest is a gallery that features the work of over 100 local artists. Here, you'll find blown glass, clothing, pottery, handmade jewelry, blown glass, and diverse paintings.
- Sassafras on Sutton (108 Sutton Ave)
Sassafras on Sutton, housed in a historic building, has two floors loaded with books, toys, souvenirs, and a full espresso cafe.
- Take a Hike Outfitters (100 Sutton Ave)
This store supplies outdoor gear and clothes for mountain experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. They have been serving the community since 1999 and are an excellent source of equipment and expertise.
- WNC Outdoor Collective (110 Black Mountain Ave)
This store serves outdoor enthusiasts by selling outdoor clothing, gear, and other items. After shopping, you can unwind with a Dynamite Roasters beer or coffee. They also provide information about the area, maps, and outdoor activity rentals.
15. Grab a Bite to Eat
Black Mountain boasts a thriving historic downtown with many stores and restaurants to explore. There is much for food lovers to enjoy.
For beer lovers, Black Mountain Kitchen and Ale House is the best stop. It is well-known for its delicious burgers, vegan and gluten-free options, fried pickles, and beer. Black Mountain Brewing is located directly across the street and is home to the well-known Roberta Flack mural.
Berliner Kindl German Restaurant is just next door and has a delicious assortment of German meats. It's the perfect place to celebrate important occasions like anniversaries and birthdays.
Cousins Cuban Cafe, located across the street, is a must-visit for Cuban breakfast, lunch, and brunch. Open Oven Cafe is famous for brunch, with lines stretching around the block. In the meanwhile, the Ale House is next to Veranda Cafe.
Go to My Father's Pizza if you want pizza and grinders. Que Sera is a great option for upscale dining and fantastic seafood, and The Trailhead is a neighborhood staple known for its burgers and beers. Thai Basil is a popular choice for those seeking substantial Thai food. Enjoy your culinary trip through Black Mountain!
The Bottom Line
If you were uncertain about visiting Black Mountain, we hope you now see it as an exciting and breathtaking destination! Whether it's a day trip from Asheville or a weekend retreat in a rental or camping, Black Mountain, NC, is a natural wonderland that should be cherished and explored!
What are your favorite things to do in Black Mountain, North Carolina? Where have you stayed and dined that you would recommend? Also, do you have any top recommendations for things to do in Black Mountain? Please share in the comments!
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.