The French Broad River At Hot Springs NC
One Historic Bridge In Hot Springs
Hot Springs, North Carolina
So, what is there to do in Hot Springs, North Carolina? The answer to that question is a lot. There is a lot to do in Hot Springs, making it one of the favored destinations in Western North Carolina. Whether you are looking for an overnight or a day trip, you will find plenty of fun and interesting things to do to keep yourself occupied.
The area we now know as Hot Springs was first discovered thousands of years ago by the local native Cherokee tribes. They frequented the area for fishing, hunting and the natural hot mineral springs. Located at the confluence of the French Broad River and Spring Creek, the area has been a destination ever since.
European settlers first arrived over two hundred years ago. They too came for hunting and fishing and then stayed because of the springs. In 1831 local Asheville investor James Patton bought the land containing the springs, built a hotel and the resort of Hot Springs was born. The original hotel has burned down after only 46 years of service but a new one was built in its place.
Originally called "Warm Springs" because of the temperature of the water, the town was later renamed Hot Springs when a hotter water source was discovered. Since then, Hot Springs has been a hunting camp, frontier town, resort destination and a POW internment camp. Currently the springs are privately owned and operated and offer a variety of spa services including mineral soaks, massages and other therapies.
Lovers Leap Trail Overlooks Hot Springs, NC
View Of Hot Springs From Lovers Leap Overlook
Hiking Lovers Leap Trail, Hot Springs North Carolina
Lovers Leap trail is one of many easy hikes that you can do from the town of Hot Springs. The trail is about 2.5 miles round trip, from the center of town, and utilized a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
The trail starts out heading east out of town, back across the French Broad River. Once across turn to the right, following the signs for Lovers Leap. The trail goes along the river for about 3.4 of a mile before turning sharply to the left (and up). From here you will climb about 1500 feet to the top of the ridge and the Lovers Leap overlook.
Lovers Leap is a craggy rock pinnacle over looking the French Broad River and the town of Hot Springs. It got its name from and old Cherokee Indian Legend. It is said that a young maiden of the local village was promised to one of the villages warriors. The maiden did not love him because she was in love with a warrior from a neighboring villlage named Magwa.
The maiden, whose name translates to Mist-On-The-Mountain, planned to run away and elope with her beloved. Unbeknownst to them their plans were know by the warrior to whom Mist-On-The-Mountain was promised to. He lay in wait and when he saw Magwa coming he surprised the young warrior and killed him. When Mist-On-The-Mountain learned of this she ran away in sorrow, climbed the ridge and threw herself off of the rocks, killing herself. When Tall Pine, the warrior to whom she was promised, found out he then wandered off in sorrow and was killed by a mountain lion. Now, the ghosts of the three can be seen wandering among the rocks and trees along the top of the ridge as they search for their love.
The Appalachian Trail In Hot Springs, NC
The Appalachian Trail Runs Right Through Hot Springs
Hot Springs is one of many towns that have partnered with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The trail, which was built in the mid-part of the 20th century, runs right down the main street of town. While you are visiting be sure to look out for the white blazes marking the trail.
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The Appalachian Trail Conservancy works closely with Hot Springs and Madison County. Together they have formed several partnerships benefiting both. Together the ATC and Hot Springs are working to maintain the natural beauty of the trail, its use and positive impacts for the community. The Hot Springs Access Point is becoming one of the most popular sites for accessing the AT.
Visitors to Hot Springs can literally hike the AT by walking right down Bridge Street. The use of Bridge Street to connect the trail is also beneficial to long-distance hikers because it provides easy access to restaurants, laundry services, gear shops and groceries.
Bridge Street and Spring Creek
White Water Rafting Companies Serving Hot Springs And The French Broad River
- USA Rafting - (800) USA-RAFT
- Nantahala Outdoor Center - (888) 905-7238
- French Broad Rafting - 9800 U.S. 25 Marshall, NC 28753
- Blue Heron Whitewater - (888) 426 7238
- Huck Finn Rafting Adventure - (800) 303-7238
If you have noticed they all have the same last 4 digits its because those numbers spell RAFT.
What Amenities Are Available In Hot Springs
Hot Springs is a great little starting or stopping point for many adventure. Aside from the actual hot spring itself there are many amenities in town serving a wide variety of needs. You can find several outfitters for hiking and camping which makes it a great resupply point for those who are hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Dining In Hot Springs
There are also several restaurants in town serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. My favorite is Spring Creek Tavern, a wood fired pizza joint with a large selection of local and micro brew beers. The tavern has a great porch that overlooks Spring Creek as it runs through town. You can sit on the porch after a nice hike or soak in the springs, enjoy a frosty beverage, a slice of pie and watch people fish in the stream or browsing the shops along Bridge Stree.
Shopping In Hot Springs
There is also shopping in Hot Springs. Not only can you find all of your outdoor supply and clothing needs there is also a couple of art galleries and other types of gift shops.
Guide services for a wide variety of activities are available in Hot Springs. If you can find what you need simply walking down the street stop and ask someone. Trout and Musky fishing are popular activities as well as biking and hiking. Join a group and make some new friends or call ahead to plan a special trip just for you and your family.
White Water Awaits Rafters Heading To Hot Springs
White Water Rafting Hot Springs
Well, you can't actually raft the hot springs but you can raft to the hot springs! There are dozens of rafting companies offering guided and unguided service on the French Broad. You can take trips ranging from an hour or two all the way to overnight camping.
There are about a half dozen different put-ins between Asheville and Hot Springs. From these put ins rafters can reach milestones along the river like Pillow Rock and Stackhouse before reaching Hot Springs. Once there rafters can enjoy lunch, sun on the rocks or have a hike before they are bussed back to their starting points.