Hot Springs North Carolina
“Where the French Broad River meets the Appalachian Trail”
Town of Hot Springs North Carolina
Hot Springs, North Carolina, has been a resort seasonal town for almost 200 years and is known for its healing hot mineral springs. This small village in Madison County NC is located just 60 minutes northwest of Asheville, and 30 minutes from Marshall NC, situated along the mountain sides of the the French Broad River. Hot Springs is surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest is considered outdoor adventure, healing and relaxation, or a quiet romantic getaway mountain town in a scenic mountain setting. The town is located at the crossroads of two of the most important outdoor resources in Western North Carolina, the Appalachian Trail and the French Broad River. Hot Springs is North Carolina’s only Appalachian Trail Town. There is one main road that runs through town from one side to the next and over the bridge crossing the French Broad River. There are many cabin rentals, campgrounds, vacation rentals, and a few bed and breakfasts to lay your head after an adventurous day on the river or hiking a portions of the Appalachian Trail. On Main street there are a few restaurants available such as Spring Creek Tavern, Hot Springs BBQ, and The Iron Station to name a few.
History of Hot Springs NC
Hot Springs is located at the confluence of the French Broad River and Spring Creek in the mountains of North Carolina. A natural mineral healing hot spring is also located here, the only such spring known in North Carolina and in much of the southeastern United States. Hot Springs NC has long since been a destination for those looking for therapeutic relief from their ailments.
Native Americans were the first to discover the 100+ degree mineral waters, and European immigrants settled the area over 200 years ago. It is reported that people were visiting the springs by 1778 for the waters’ reported healing properties. In 1828, a major road was constructed through the current town, the Buncombe Turnpike, making the area more accessible.
By 1831, James Patton of Asheville bought the springs and had erected 350 room Warm Springs Hotel with its 13 tall columns representing the 13 original colonies in 1837. The dining room of this large hotel could seat 600 people. The railroad reached the village – then called Warm Springs – in 1882. The hotel burned in 1884 after 46 years of operation. Another hotel, called the Mountain Park, was built in 1886.
A higher temperature spring was found, prompting the changing of the town’s name from Warm Springs to Hot Springs in 1886. Sixteen marble pools were surrounded by landscaped lawns with croquet and tennis courts, and it was know as one of the most lavish resorts in the Southeast.
Today, the springs are privately owned as The Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Water is piped to outdoor tubs beside the French Broad River and Spring Creek. This is still a very big attraction for the town and brings people from all over to visit this small mountain town. Heated deep within the earth, these crystal clear carbonated waters are world famous for their mineral content and legendary healing powers. Set on 100 acres of hot springs, this mountain spa resort in a Swiss-style building is off US Route 25/70 and 9.8 miles from Paint Creek Recreation Area. Twelve outdoor mineral baths ranging from 100-104 degrees are available seven days a week year round (open until 10 PM on Monday-Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday).
The Appalachian Trail runs along downtown’s Bridge Street and climbs the mountains on either side of the river. There is a visible AT trail marker embedded into the concrete of the sidewalk next to the visitor center and library as hikers walk through town. Hot Springs is North Carolina’s only Appalachian Trail Town and one of the only few that pass directly through a main street area on the entire Appalachian Trail.
Hot Springs, “A place for outdoor enthusiasts”
This is definitely the place for outdoor adventure seekers, with the famous Appalachian Trail winding its way right through the center of town and across the French Broad River to the other side. Water adventurers love the rapids on the French Broad River with classes II, III, and IV with Whitewater rafting trips, funyaks, and tubing. Other fun outdoor things to do include mountain biking, river fishing for trout, or horseback rides nearby. Many visitors hike portions of the Appalachian Trail due to its proximity to town and overnight lodging for a day hike. You can hike the Lover’s Leap Trail section with panoramic views overlooking the town and river; or hike the grassy meadow at Max Patch Bald; or hike to the Rich Mountain Lookout Tower for amazing 360 degree views of the area.
French Broad River
The French Broad River flows northeasterly through the Appalachian Mountains. The river follows a general northeasterly direction as it flows through Transylvania, Henderson, and Buncombe counties. In Buncombe County, the river flows through the city of Asheville, where it receives the water of the Swannanoa River. Downstream and North of Asheville, the river proceeds through Madison County, where it flows through its county seat of Marshall. After passing through the mountain resort of Hot Springs in the Bald Mountains, the river enters Cocke County, Tennessee. In Cocke County, the river passes through the community of Del Rio, and receives the waters of both the Pigeon River and the Nolichucky River northwest of Newport. The river eventually joins the Holston River to form the Tennessee River at a place known as “Forks of the River” at the eastern edge of Knoxville.
The Rattler Motorcycle Ride
Hot Springs NC is the end destination to the NC 209 Classic Motorcycle Ride,”The Rattler”. It twists and turns all the way to Lake Junaluska , NC. There are over 234 twists, turns and curves from Lake Junaluska to Hot Springs running from South to North. NC 209 has a little bit of everything a motorcycle rider is looking for – pastoral valley views, challenging mountain climbs, twisty and tight technical sections, and a great little mountain town to visit – Hot Springs, NC. A popular weekend ride from Asheville, Maggie Valley, and Waynesville, it can be a lazy roll through the scenic countryside or a place to test the edge of your tires. It’s up to you.
Total Distance: 32.7 miles Driving Time : 45 minutes – 1 hour
Hot Springs Trail Fest
Bluff Mountain Festival
The Bluff Mountain Music Festival was first produced in 1996 by the Bluff Mountain Coalition, an informal group of community folks, hunters, environmentalists and business people from the Hot Springs area. The Coalition held the first three festivals (‘96-’98) as part of their successful grassroots effort to raise funds and awareness and save beautiful Bluff Mountain (part of the Pisgah National Forest) from a destructive logging and road-building plan. Musicians, artists and the community of Hot Springs pulled together to make the festival happen and began its original free and community spirited format. The first festival was a protest, the second a celebration and the third helped to raise funds for trail building and future needs. And the festival proved so popular that people wanted it to continue! The performers still donate their time and talents; artists and businesses from around the county and region donate items for the Silent Auction and local non-profit organizations sell food to benefit their cause. In recent years artist booths have been added to the festival, giving attendees a chance to see and purchase local crafts. […more info]
French Broad River Festival
French Broad River Festival is a party with food, music and fun has a purpose. Over its history the main mission of the French Broad River Festival has not only been to have a wonderful time with friends and family, but also to give back to organizations and charities within our local communities. In addition to the good times there is an annual French Broad River Clean-up to protect this valuable resource for future generations to enjoy! The race that got this whole thing started! Our Annual FBRF Raft Race is the the biggest, mass start, whitewater raft race in the southeast. The race begins in Barnard, North Carolina and ends at the festival in beautiful Hot Springs, NC. During the 9 mile race, you will experience Class 1-4 whitewater excitement, as well as bumping boats, crazy people, and a lot of heckling. It’s always a good time! Also there is a a mountain biking race, and a kid’s bike race with prizes to the winners. A full weekend of outdoor excitement in Hot Springs. […more info]
Hot Springs Motorcycle Weekend
Every year in June Hot Springs North Carolina holds an annual motorcycle weekend at the Hot Springs Resort and Campground with a bike show, live music, vendors, games, awards, and camp out. No one under 21 permitted. […more info]
Wild Goose Festival
Wild Goose is a community gathered at the intersection of spirituality, justice, music and the arts. Our main annual event is a four-day, outdoor festival hosted each summer in Hot Springs, North Carolina. “Wild Goose” is a Celtic spirituality metaphor that evokes unpredictability, beauty, and grace. At a typical event, an attender might take in a main stage performance, a conversation with a screenwriter and director, an interfaith dialogue, and dozens of open air conversations under trees, around drinks, and at campfires. Second Weekend in July. […more info]
Weddings at Hot Springs NC
The scenic mountain romantic setting of Hot Springs North Carolina is the background to many destination weddings and honeymoons. There are several great wedding venues, many quaint bed and breakfasts, mountain cabin rentals or cottages, gift shops for unique presents, and catering from one of the local restaurants. […more info]
Directions to Hot Springs NC