The Blue Ridge Mountains is a bucket-list destination for many people. Breathtaking views, clear mountain air, beautiful nature and numerous fun and adventurous activities. What else can you do to magnify your experience of the Blue Ridge Mountains?
Well, I will tell you what: don’t settle for a regular hotel. Try something really special…
Stay in a yurt!
What Is a Yurt?
A traditional yurt is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt. Usually, it is traditional dwelling for nomadic groups in Central Asia. However, it became really popular as a place to stay while visiting nature resorts, national parks and all the places where you want to combine being close to nature with creature comforts.
How We Discovered the Yurts in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Since Jenia’s parents were visiting from Moscow, we decided on a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains near Bryson City, NC. On a prior trip, as we were coming down in the final run on a zip line, we looked down and wondered what these tent/tee pee things actually were.
After speaking to one of the fine folks with Wildwater Adventures, operators of the zip line and white water rafting excursions, we discovered they also rented out the yurts under the name Falling Waters Nantahala Resort. So for this trip with her folks, we rented two yurts.
Are the Yurts Comfortable?
Wildwater Adventures has penned this type of living as glamping. What they have come up with is an absolutely charming place in the woods, just above Fontana Lake.
Each yurt is set up with a fire pit/picnic area with a grill, on a pond or on top of a hill, with parking spot, and a private wrap-around deck providing outstanding mountain views. The experience is nothing short of simple elegance with beautiful surroundings!
Each yurt features a queen size bed, futon, small refrigerator, AM-FM radio/cassette/CD player, coffee maker, and space heater. Smoking is prohibited inside the yurts out of respect for future guests.
The fact that each unit has wooden French doors, three large windows and a ceiling fan ensures comfort even in summer. Insulated walls add warmth in spring and fall. Just imagine lying in bed gazing through the closeable skylight at the stars above! So, as you see, you definitely won’t have to “rough it”.
What Else Will You Find on the Property
Nearby, the Yurt Village features shared, but private lockable bathrooms. These facilities are tiled and wallpapered with a stall shower as well as a vanity and toilet.
Amenities include fresh drinking water at each site, drink machines, laundry and a picnic area with grills. We discovered very close to the yurt was a very large, inviting Jacuzzi. Coupled with the cool mountain air, the Jacuzzi made for some totally unforgettable evenings!
What Can You Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains, While Staying in a Yurt
📍 Take a Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Just being outdoors in the beautiful Blue Ridge is quite a thrill and you are taken in by the glorious surroundings!
You must select a good weather day and just go for a ride around the mountain roads and by-ways. There are so many waterfalls, large and small, that just pop-up along the way. You will find guide maps available for the different notable falls and sometimes you actually have to work to find them. What a game to play!
Part of your driving day must include the world famous Blue Ridge Parkway. This National Park provides the utmost scenic views and features great viewing plazas as you wind through the mountain tops and valleys. The scenery is especially spectacular in the fall, when leaves change their color.
👉 It is suggested that you learn how to use your transmission instead of just your brakes. Some of the inclines and declines are quite steep but fun!
As you continue your driving adventure, you’ll run into quaint little restaurants, some located right on a mountain stream. All of a sudden, there will be something like an Elvis Museum or a mountain tea room. Something activates in you, bringing you closer to that rural, down (or is it up?) home feeling …
📍 Fly Over the Valleys – Zip Line Experience/Canopy Tours
Wildwater Adventures has always been our choice and we quickly knew it was a good selection. The best thing is: the activities are pretty much next door to the Yurt Village!
The professional, informative, yet entertaining staff scored an A+ with us. On the zip line excursion we all met up the road a piece (HA!) and right away began the education of the rigging we were to wear and practiced certain moves needed for the run.
The course begins at the top of the mountain and the trail up is a bit steep, but well laid-out to make it actually enjoyable. It should be noted that Jenia’s parents at the time were in their late 60’s, but totally capable of this adventure. Her Dad had a blast!
The course traverses the mountain with seemingly long zig-zags from landings high in the trees. As you continue your descent platform to platform, you can turn in all directions to enjoy the canopy and sometimes wildlife. It was during the last and longest run on our previous trip, we looked down and noticed the yurts, which we chose for our base this time.
📍 Brave the White Water – Rafting Experience
The same company, Wildwater Adventures, offers a white water rafting experience. At first, we were just a little nervous about the idea! However, our Captain was very informative and exceptionally skilled at guiding our craft.
Although most of the rivers in the area have dams at the top to control water flow, the runs are quicker after good rainfall. You might just get lucky with a thrilling wild ride, if you time it just right!
On the course, your Captain will tell you about the local history and speak of some of the river tales, while ensuring your travel is exhilarating, but safe. Rafting through nice and slow sections, you will truly be one with the nature around.
Near the end of the trip there is always that final seemingly dangerous section and it just happens to have a camera to catch that jaw-dropping, mouth wide-open moment!
📍 Take a Scenic Ride on a Real Steam Train
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers a Nantahala Gorge Excursion. It is a great ride along the Nantahala River, Fontana Lake and the adjacent mountains. But the coolest thing is that you get a chance to ride on a real mountain steam train!
The train departs from the Bryson City Depot, which is only about a 15-minute drive from your yurt. This is a great way to take a break from all the adventurous activities and just relax, sip your favorite wine and enjoy the views.
📍 Enjoy Gorgeous Evenings at Your Yurt
Evenings are always quite satisfying in the mountains with the cool mountain breezes. You are just ready to throw something on the grill. Sit around the picnic table and share the day’s activities, or maybe plan out tomorrow’s. After dinner, everyone gathers around the fire pit. If it is particularly cool out, it’s time to move in and belly-up to the flaming logs.
During our trip, the cicadas were especially active, so each evening our voices merged with the voices of the forest. Hundreds of fireflies, hanging in the air, added to this absolutely magical, almost fairytale-like experience.
Now becomes the time, especially if you’re with your loved one, to mosey up to the steaming hot (you may adjust the thermostat) Jacuzzi. What a way to prepare for a relaxing night’s sleep!
If you are vacationing with your family, the Jacuzzi is large enough to fit all of it !! 😆 🤪
Would I Recommend Staying in a Yurt in the Blue Ridge Mountains?
The Blue Ridge Mountains is a large area. They begin in North Georgia and lead all the way through South and North Carolina into Virginia, Maryland and all the way into Pennsylvania.
It is our recommendation that these beautiful hills be explored in sections. The area around Bryson City, NC is one such sector.
The Yurt Village of The Falling Waters Nantahala Resort is a fine place to set up a base.
Besides the activities above, you can do kayaking, river tubing, canoeing, mountain biking, bass and trout fishing, horseback riding, you name it. Wildwater offers it all!
As you might guess, there many nearby motels and rooms for rent available. However, the Yurt Village gives you an incredible “dive” into nature at its best and allows you to really have the feel of this beautiful region. This is so much more than what you’ll find at the motel up on the highway.
The management and friendly staff go out of their way to make sure you are completely taken care of. We have nothing but fond memories of our incredibly rewarding trip. You should make your plans to visit soon!
The Location of the Yurts
Falling Waters Nantahala, Wildwater Nantahala & Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours are located on Hwy 74 West, 12 miles southwest of Bryson City, North Carolina. It is recommended to use Hwy 74/23 rather than Hwy 19 due to time and better roads.
The address of the Falling Waters Nantahala Resort is:
10345 US Hwy. 74 West
Bryson City, NC 28713
How to Rent a Yurt
To find more information about the yurts, to see pictures and rent a yurt, simply go to the Falling Waters Nantahala Resort website and
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