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Sylva is up and coming trendy mountain town nestled in the Smoky Mountains. The proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina provide Sylva with one of the best natural playgrounds to live and work near. The community is surrounded by mountain summits and valleys full of rivers and streams. Waterfalls and an abundance of lakes provide tons of recreation year round. Sylva is an inviting place to live, work and play welcoming locals and visitors alike. Many people that decide to relocate to the area are drawn to Western North Carolina by its smoky-soaked, breathtaking mountain views and endless choices of outdoor recreational opportunities including backpacking, hiking, horseback riding, camping, hunting, fishing, tennis, disc golf, mountain biking, road biking, world-class kayaking, whitewater rafting, downhill skiing and not to be forgotten world-class golfing. The Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, Mountains to Sea Trail, and various lakes with hiking/walking trails provide miles and miles of endless activity.
The town of Sylva, North Carolina’s charm may be attributed to the surrounding beauty of the smoky mountain range. These mountains remain host to an amazingly rich and rare biodiverse environment creating a wonderland buzzing with wildlife activity year round. The area is home to the largest stand of old growth forest east of the Mississippi River, as well as the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Chattooga, and Oconaluftee River. Enjoy nearby Great Smoky Mountain National Park which features more than 800 miles of hiking trails.
Though the wilderness is an alluring feature for the area, Sylva is not lost to civilization. Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College sit less than six miles away and are home to over 11,000 students. Sylva is a smart, civic-minded small town soaking in culture, the arts, and unbound beauty. The downtown area is host to many thriving stores and a variety of restaurants and microbreweries, many of which offer local farm to table eats and organic cuisine.
What to expect in the summer…
The temperatures in the spring and summer are mild; streets are vibrant and include Sylva’s “Greening Up the Mountain” festival. The popular street fest celebrates the kickoff of spring in the mountains, held in April every year the festival includes a 5K run/walk, vendors, delicious cuisine, and fun. Concerts on the Creek take place at Bridge Park (a local downtown venue) and feature free concerts from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Also starting in May and running through December is Sylva After Dark, local galleries, cafes, and downtown merchants open their doors for evenings of dining, arts, and shopping.
What to expect in the winter months…
The temperature may frequently register below freezing but is generally mild. Average highs are in the 40's and 50's; however extreme cold and snow is not at all uncommon, as are days that are sunny and 60 degrees. These mild temperatures do not detour the occasional snow during this wet season and provide delightfully tolerable winter weather. The snow generally melts quickly, though it may stay longer at higher elevations. Trails may prove to be icy and high-elevation wet trails may require crampons or avoidance altogether due to large areas of ice. Skiing and snowboarding are a short distance away and remain an inviting winter recreation.
- Sapphire Valley Ski Area, south of Sylva, has two ski runs and fun snow tubing.
- Cataloochee Ski Resort, located in Maggie Valley (about 25 miles away) Cataloochee has 14 ski slopes and trails ranging from beginner to expert. Snow tubing is available in the Maggie Valley area as well.
Attractions & Recreation
Are you someone who lives and breaths golf? If so, Sylva and the surrounding areas offer a reputable array of golf courses. While some are private (18-hole course, Balsam Mountain Preserve, a residential community designed by Arnold Palmer) - others have at least one public use course.
- High Hampton Inn and Country Club plays at 6,012 yards from the back tees to bent grass greens.
- The 18-hole course at the Smoky Mountain Country Club in Whittier, North Carolina features 6,099 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71, tucked expertly into the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains.
- East of Cashiers is Sapphire Mountain Golf Club, featuring a set of five par-3 holes, four of which play over water.
- Just outside Cherokee is a challenging course designed by renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones and developed by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Sequoyah National Golf Club proves to be one of most idyllic 18 hole courses the area has to offer with spectacular mountain views of the Great Smoky Mountains National park.
While golf is a definite strong draw to the area, another popular reason people relocate here, other than the mild weather, is the abundance of top-notch outdoor recreation available within a relatively compact area. Tons of hiking, fishing, hunting, paddling, skiing, rafting, biking, disc golf, and bird watching are among the many recreational choices the area has to offer.
- Great Smoky Mountain Railroad where scenic trips to Bryson City and Dillsboro take you through valleys and gorges of the Great Smoky Mountains.
- Traveling further to the west and you will find the Cherokee Indian Reservation abundant with outdoor recreation, wildlife, and spectacular vistas.
- Pinnacle Park, which boasts hiking trails, waterfalls, and a town view from 5,000 feet.
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a popular recreation destination providing over 800 miles of trails within its 520,000 acres. The park offers plant and wildlife viewing, fishing in 700 miles of streams, and horseback riding and biking. Along the way, you can enjoy the many historic buildings including churches, barns, homes and schools.
- About 15 miles southwest of Sylva is the Highlands District of the 531,000-acre Nantahala National Forest. Encompassing 39,000 acres of the total size of the national forest, the area is only a small portion of the Nantahala National Forest but offers much of what's available throughout the Nantahala National Forest. Excellent hiking, zip-lining, and many other adventure sports are offered year-round.
- Whitewater rafting is also popular on the Tuckasegee, Chattooga, Oconaluftee and Nantahala rivers. With the exception of the Chattooga, these rivers are also accessible for canoeing or kayaking with the Tuckasegee, the largest body of water in Jackson County, providing the best trout fishing in the region.
- If you prefer to pedal rather than paddle, you can take a scenic bike trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway or mountain bike on the many mountain bike trails in Jackson County.
- Enjoy soccer and softball fields, a trout streams, tennis and basketball courts, a greenway multi-use trail, and a covered picnic areas.