Native Azalea Festival
Nature isn't canceled. It's that simple.
While the world recovers from this challenging season, we invite you to join us for an outdoor adventure certain to ignite the spirit and renew the soul. Come explore the mountains of Graham County, North Carolina and take in the beauty of our annual Native Azalea bloom.
This year's festival will differ from year's past as we forgo all large gatherings (guided hikes, our downtown craft festival, and live music events) and choose instead to celebrate the real reason for the gathering by turning our focus to Mother Nature's beauty and creating memories with close friends and loved ones.
Here is a bit of information to consider as you plan to join us for a modified festival: Governor Roy Cooper's Safer at Home - Phase 2 - North Carolina Reopening Plan
While we can't wait to celebrate the Azaleas with you in a big way in 2021, we look forward to seeing your pictures and hearing your stories of how this 3rd Annual Native Azalea Festival can be just as memorable.
Be well and safe travels from all of us in #YourNaturalDestination
Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy the Azaleas this year while taking a step back from crowds:
Take a hike to view the Native Azaleas on Hooper Bald or Hucklberry knob along the Cherohala Skyway
Take a ride along the Cherohala Skyway by car, motorcycle, or bicycle for a view of the blooms from afar
Walk through the Stecoah Valley Center memorial garden and snap a few pictures of blooms
Post pictures of your favorite Azaleas in and around the region and tag #YourNaturalDestination for a chance to be featured on our social (Facebook / Instagram)
Explore the area around your cabin, lodge, campground, or inn for beautiful blooms tucked in amongst the rolling hills of lush, green forest
Graham County Travel and Tourism Office: 474 Rodney Orr Bypass, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Cherohala Skyway: 4793 Santeetlah Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Hooper Bald: 9.8 Miles on the left hand side from the Cherohala Skyway Entrance at 4793 Santeetlah Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Huckleberry Knob: 9.2 Miles on the right hand side from the Cherohala Skyway Entrance at 4793 Santeetlah Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Stecoah Valley Center: 121 School House Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Cheoah Ranger Station: 1070 Massey Branch Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771
Graham County, North Carolina
Graham County, North Carolina is home to a one-of-a kind variety of native flame azalea and the history and beauty of this extraordinary plant is certainly worth celebrating. The Hooper Bald Flame Azaleas have blossoms that can be as wide as 3 and 1/2 inches with the colors of the blossoms ranging from a scarlet red to a brilliant orange to a lemon yellow.
Robbinsville and Graham County are very fortunate to have several existing public gardens exhibiting native azaleas. Azaleas begin to bloom in our county as early as May and continue to bloom, depending on elevation, through the end of June.
The famed flame azaleas can be viewed on Hooper Bald along the Cherohala Skyway between Robbinsville and the Tennessee/North Carolina border in June.
The Azalea Society of America has been nurturing these azaleas for over twenty years on the top of Hooper Bald. Traditionally, during the festival, experienced guides and azalea experts will be available to answer questions and lead visitors through winding paths bordered by multicolored flame azaleas, rain or shine. (This service will unfortunately not be available during our 2020, 3rd Annual Native Azalea Festival - We hope to see you in 2021 for this addition)
Huckleberry Knob, also on the Cherohala Skyway, is another favorable habitat for the native azaleas. A lovely hike rewards visitors with beautiful vistas, opportunities for outstanding photos and a scattering of the same rare varieties of flame azalea that grow in abundance on Hooper Bald.
In nearby Stecoah, the Stecoah Valley Center features a memorial garden dedicated to a patron of this cultural center. At a much lower elevation, the azaleas are in full bloom in May and well worth the visit to the Center. The Center is housed in an old high school and includes a craft store featuring local artists’ work - a wonderful spot to stop for a unique souvenir when visiting the area during any season.
Blooming azaleas can be seen throughout the town and along highway 129 from May through June and helped to earn Robbinsville the title of “Azalea City” in June of 2018.
We hope you will plan your visit during this time and add a few extra days before and after to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.