Jackson County is located in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains, just 50 miles from Asheville, 111 miles from Knoxville, and 50 miles from Gatlinburg. Elevations range from 2,000 feet to more than 6,000 feet. The Tuckasegee River, a popular trout-fishing spot, flows 40 miles throughout Jackson County.
Sylva’s history rose with the construction of the Western North Carolina Railroad in the 1880s. The railroad’s route through Sylva made it a prime location for the county seat. Today, the Historic Jackson County Courthouse, located on a hill overlooking Sylva’s Main Street, is reputed to be the most photographed in the country.
Dillsboro, just west of Sylva, has an interesting array of businesses within its five square blocks of century-old stores, restaurants, galleries and inns. The founder Thomas Dills’ home still stands, as do many of the shops that first opened their doors in the 1800s.
Other nearby communities include Cullowhee – home to Western Carolina University (WCU) and Mountain Heritage Day held the last Saturday in September – and Cashiers, located on the highest plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains.