The North Carolina foothills are incredibly beautiful in winter. The leafless forests and valleys provide an Ansel Adams style beauty that's quietly resplendent in its chilled stillness. No matter whether you prefer to experience the wonder of winter outdoors from a footpath or atop a majestic steed, Rutherford county has winter fun adventures that are sure to hit the top of your bucket list!

Groundhog Day

Chimney Rock is known for its great hiking trails, picturesque views, and quaint village; all in the shadow of one of nature's most incredible monoliths. In case you didn't know, there's more! Every February 2nd Chimney Rock State Park hosts their annual Groundhog Day Celebration. At 1:00 pm on this day every year, local Groundhog Greta ventures out to seek her shadow and make her arrival of spring prediction. Park guests not only get to witness this annual event, but also have the option of participating in Groundhog Day crafts, visiting with some of Greta's local animal ambassador friends in the Animal Discovery Den, or even taking a naturalist led stroll through the Woodland Trail to learn more about the local wildlife.


If non-wildlife driven breathtaking views are more your style, Chimney Rock State Park hosts seasonal amateur photography contests. This January and February are the Winter Love at First Sight Photo Contest. There's no charge to enter the contest other than the price of Park admission. Simply explore the park and capture your favorite views of the landscape, the sky, or anything else that moves you to feel the breathlessness of true love. Entries can be submitted via email, snail mail, or even on social media and up to 3 entries per photographer are permitted. It's the perfect way to explore the beauty of nature, capture memories of incredible moments, and get the chance to win some fun prizes in the process!

Rock Climbing

If you're into rock climbing, the opportunity to scale Rumbling Bald is sure to send thrills down your spine. But what about adding the chance to make a difference in the upkeep & economic impact of the Lake Lure & Chimney Rock areas? This year's Rumble 2020 is hosted by Carolina Climbers, and it's sure to be an incredible experience. Participants and general climbers are encouraged to fill out a 5 minute survey regarding access and experiences in an effort to expand climber access and volunteer stewardship in the years to come. It's a fantastic way to indulge your inner climbing bug and help support this beautiful area.

Horseback Riding

While Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge are well known as a spring and summertime resort venues, grabbing the opportunity to take in the incredible views of Hickory Nut Gorge and its surrounding regions during the winter months should be at the top of everyone's bucket list. Cedar Creek Stables offers guided 1, 1.5, and 2 hour trail rides through this winter wonderland. View the majesty of the forests, overlooks, and mountain ridges in the style of the White Walkers in Game of Thrones. The small fry can even engage their inner cowboy or cowgirl on 15 minute pony rides. It's definitely a bucket list worthy winter adventure.


The North Carolina foothills are a perfect venue for year round golfers. Surrounded by a unique combination of snowy conditions and temperate climate, golfers have the ability to enjoy a 9 or 18 hole experience at top rated courses year-round. Apple Valley Golf Course in Lake Lure, Cleghorn Golf & Sports and Meadowbrook Golf Club in Rutherfordton, or Bald Mountain Golf Course at the Rumbling Bald Resort are regional favorites throughout the seasons. Tee times can easily be pre-booked online & the views during play are truly like no other!

Get Out There

No matter whether you're making memories on your own, with a group of friends, or as a couple, Rutherford county is the place to make lifetime ones. So get out there! Your next favorite adventure is only a short car ride away!