Visiting Hot Springs, North Carolina
A Day Away by Mike Steely
I’ll bet you didn’t know that the French Broad River, which joins the Holston River in Knoxville to become the Tennessee River, gets some of its water from a very strange source.
In the mountains of North Carolina, water heated far beneath the earth’s surface to 100 degrees bubbles up as hot springs and flows into Spring Creek and into the French Broad. The location of the warm water has long been a noted historic spot by Native Americans and early travelers and settlers.
Today the small Appalachian Trail community’s big attraction is the Hot Springs Resort and Spa which has 100 acres and hot tubs along the creek supplied by the warm natural mineral waters.
From Knoxville, the easiest way to get to Hot Springs, N.C., is by Interstate 40 to Newport and then Highway 321 to the city and east on Highway 25. You’ll leave extreme East Tennessee near Paint Rock and enter North Carolina. That will take you through the small town of Del Rio and on through the mountains to Hot Springs, about a two- or three-hour drive from Knoxville, skirting the French Broad at times. The route was a noted livestock trail during early settlement.
The Hot Springs Campground, with basic and full RV hookups, is located across from the Hot Springs Spa and Resort. The Spa offers several lodging choices from luxury suites with jetted tubs and a deluxe cabin, all with jetted hot tubs.
Nearby are other companies offering various lodging and recreation options.
The area has a history of resorts and hotels catering to tourists wanting to enjoy the springs’ reported therapeutic properties.
Several hiking trails around Hot Springs are popular and can lead to amazing overlooks. In the small town are various shops and the Hot Springs Visitor Center. It is located on Bridge Street and is open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily and has information about the Appalachian Trail and exhibits about the interesting town history.
You can find much more information on the internet at HotSpringsNC.org or call (828) 622-9932.
Returning you could follow Highway 25 to Asheville and come back by Interstate 40 or follow Highway 209 south to eventually reach the interstate at Fines Creek.