While the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the United States, nearby Madison County and Jackson County, bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains, the Balsam Mountains, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, may be North Carolina's best-kept secret. Centered around Sylva, Jackson County is 45 miles west of Asheville.
Nearby Madison County calls itself “the Jewel of the Blue Ridge.” Charles Frazier wrote about this scenic area in his novel Cold Mountain. Both counties and the other areas surrounding Asheville encompass lush mountains, valleys, and crystal-blue lakes. This eTrail is one complete vacation written with families in mind. It’s loaded with exciting things to do, family-friendly places to lodge and dine, recommended side trips, local sources of information, and detailed travel directions.
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