Blue Ridge Parkway
Alpine Inn is located on Highway 226-A in Little Switzerland, North Carolina, one mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 334. The Parkway runs 469 miles in North Carolina and Virginia, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Park. This section of the Parkway between Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain is home to high mountains, steep waterfalls, amazing hikes and great picnics.
Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 334 • Alpine Inn is one mile on Hwy 226-A
Little Switzerland has restaurants and shops. Located about three-quarters of a mile from the Alpine Inn. The Mitchell County town of Spruce Pine is 10-15 minutes away, and Marion in McDowell County is about 20-25 minutes.
Little Switzerland Tunnel is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 333. The road and tunnels were mostly built during the CCC era of the 1930s.
Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 333.1
At 6,684 feet high, Mount Mitchell State Park is home to the highest mountain East of the Mississippi River. The summit of the mountain is about 45 minutes from the Alpine Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway (accessed at milepost 355.4). There’s a paved walkway from the parking area to the observation platform. Restaurant, interpretive museum, concessions, souvenirs, picnic shelters, and hiking trails. Free admission.
The porch at Mount Mitchell State Park restaurant (right) offers a great view of the high peak in the distance and several other mountains over 6,000 feet high. The restaurant is open seven days a week May through October.
The park restaurant features an open room with hardwood floors and large windows overlooking the mountains. It’s casual dining with a wide variety of entrees, sandwiches, salads, and more. They also sell Mount Mitchell t-shirts, hats and souvenirs. An observation lounge with historical pictures and paintings is located next to the restaurant in the same building.
The Altapass Orchard is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 331 about 20 minutes from Alpine Inn. The orchard has a gift shop with souvenirs, toys, ice cream and all things apple. They often feature live music and mountain dancing.
Grandfather Mountain, the 5,800-foot peak seen in the distance, is about a 45-min ride from the Alpine Inn. Grandfather has two different parks — the private park that charges an entrance fee and has a wildlife habitat, restaurant, gift shop, Mile High Swinging Bridge and other fun things to do, including the Scottish Highland Games held each summer — and the state park that features back-country trails. Located near milepost 305 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.