In western North Carolina’s beautiful share of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Jackson County is home to myriad plunging waterfalls, dramatic ravines, the highest vertical cliffs in the eastern United States, and one of the oldest mountains on the planet, Whiteside Mountain.
The county’s Panthertown Valley has even been referred to as the “Yosemite of the East.” Although summer is a popular time to visit, these great outdoors can be appreciated in any season. Even better? The destination isn’t just for humans. Thanks to several pet-friendly towns—none more charming than luxury-tinged Cashiers—dogs can revel in the natural splendor too. Here’s how.
Hikes with Fido headline the daily agenda in Cashiers. Download the AllTrails app for rewarding options at all fitness levels, but don’t skip the short-but-steep, 2.5-mile Whiteside Mountain trail for wow-factor vistas of forest-cloaked peaks and valleys from nearly 5,000 feet high. Do go chasing waterfalls, beginning with the thrilling 1.4-mile climb to High Falls in Lake Glenville’s Pines Recreation Area. Cool off in the fall’s emerald, boulder-strewn plunge pools and later visit the dog-friendly beach along the lake itself. Back in town, explore by foot via the Cashiers Greenway Ramble, a network of scenic trails, sidewalks, and pedestrian-friendly roads that zigzag through town.
Take in Cashiers’ outdoor pursuits from your base at Hotel Cashiers, a classic motel revamped as a retro-chic inn where pets are welcome for an additional $30 nightly fee. The unpretentious yet stylish 18-room property sits on a panoramic Blue Ridge hilltop, surrounded by 2,000 square feet of green space inclusive of a garden and a DIY firepit (find stacks of wood and fire-starting materials on-site but bring your own booze and s’mores kits). Located at the base of the hill, the reception area houses a fabulous Wine and Provisions Shop, fully stocked with fine wines and chilled Champagnes at prices competitive with local supermarkets, as well as The Wine Bar, which serves craft beer and curated wines by the glass.
Eat & Drink
Below Hotel Cashiers, Slab Town Pizza is an adorable, family owned and operated pizza joint featuring a lengthy menu of soups, salads, calzones, and hand-tossed pizzas, all of which can be consumed alfresco on the pet-friendly lawn. The Ugly Dog Public House attracts the lion’s share of dog-loving locals thanks to prolific outdoor seating, the prospect of live music, and the promise of all-American comfort food and a rotating selection of regional craft beers. Further explore Cashiers’ brewery scene with a visit to Whiteside Brewing Company, a spot that’s equally popular for its lagers as its wine slushies.
At Crossroads Custard & Coldbrew, dogs are invited to try owner Jill Katz’s famous “pup cone,” a creamy soft-serve delight with Milk-Bone biscuit topping, while human companions enjoy rich soft-serve custard in 24 flavors, from amaretto to maple nut. Crossroads is also an idyllic place for your morning caffeine fix, whether it’s a homemade nitro cold brew to go or a frothy iced latte in a mason jar sipped on the front terrace.