Predominantly seen through the eyes of Appalachian Trail backpackers and its few residents, Hot Springs, North Carolina is worth checking out for yourself. With a year-round population of just 563, it’s the definition of a hidden gem. Hidden in a valley between two blue ridge mountains, that is.
The town is most well known for, as you might have guessed, the natural mineral springs produced in the mountains surrounding it. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to travel out west to take a dip in a natural spring. In fact, Hot Springs Resort and Broadwing Farms, the only resorts with access to the springs, are a short three and a half-hour drive from Gwinnett.
Broadwing Farms has just three cabins on site, (so book in advance) all with a private mineral springs hot tub. Hot Springs Resort offers four luxury suites and a cabin with private access to the springs. They also offer eight primitive cabins, a tent camping site and RV hook-ups. The resort is accompanied by a staff of massage therapists to elevate the experience if desired.
Aside from taking a dip in the therapeutic waters, there are a few other things you’ll want to make sure you take advantage of in Hot Springs. The town has dubbed itself an ‘Appalachian Paradise’ and as such, there are countless breathtaking vistas to see and riversides to wander. From mountain biking and hiking to white water rafting and horseback riding, the Appalachian Mountains offer it all. After spending a day adventuring, hit downtown Hot Springs for local restaurants, live music and even grab a beer at the brewery.
When you’re visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains, the only place to stroll is up a mountain! Hike to a summit such as Lover’s Leap or the Rich Mountain Tower, wander along a riverbank on the Pump Gap Loop, or simply stroll down a part of the famous Appalachian Trail.
Grab a bite at Vaste Riviere to refuel after a long day of hiking, soaking and exploring. Vaste Riviere is an upscale cafe, wine shop and gourmet grocery store all in one with a menu full of comforting, hearty foods to nourish even the weariest hiker.
Madison County, which houses Hot Springs, is known for heavily promoting and encouraging the arts. The county is full of art galleries to tour and admire, including one in Hot Springs.
Hot Springs has a rich musical history, and they embrace that every Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Big Pillow Brewing downtown. Stop by, grab a brew and a seat, and enjoy some live mountain-town music for a relaxing end to your day.