Take a Hike

The Lodge is located adjacent to the Appalachian Trail at the base of Deer Park Mountain.  There are a number of hikes you can begin from the Lodge. Lover’s Leap Trail is the most popular with the walk along the French Broad River and can be viewed from the upstairs guest rooms.  It includes hiking up the mountain’s edge with switchbacks taking you to great views of the river and valley below.  You may also want to consider the Pump Gap Trail, the Laurel River Trail and Betty Place, to name a few.  The Laurel River Trail and Betty Place require a 5 to 10 minute drive.

See USA Today article about hiking in Hot Springs.

Experience an Outdoor Adventure

We have great whitewater rafting a 5-minute walk from the Lodge. Horseback riding is a 20-minute drive and affords an opportunity to visit a garnet mine and have some beautiful scenic mountain views in the process. Forty minutes away is Navitat, a zipline course in the trees on 50 acres of wooded land.

Appreciate Area Crafts

Artisun Gallery is 10-15 minute walk from the Lodge on foot and features the work of 50 area artists and craftspeople. You can also enjoy a latte or your favorite coffee beverage or a selection of wines by the bottle or the glass.  They also have the area’s best ice cream!

Dining in Hot Springs

If your retreat affords you the opportunity or if you are a lodging guest, Hot Springs has a lovely variety of eating establishments to suit just about anyone’s palate.

Mountain Magnolia Inn:  An unforgettable casual fine dining experience with superb views from the front dining porch area and excellent American cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Chris Brown featuring local, organic ingredients when possible.

Smoky Mountain Diner:  Lively, locally owned diner featuring daily specials, hiker specials and true local flavor.  It is the longest running food establishment still operating in town.

Iron Horse Station:  Large pub atmosphere with nightly specials – American Pub cuisine.  Frequently features live music with local artists and one night a week there is an open mic night.

Spring Creek Tavern:  Small tavern located right on Spring Creek featuring a variety of local breweries.  Features sandwiches and salads and also frequently has live music.

Learn about the history of Hot Springs

Visit the Welcome Center on Bridge Street in the heart of downtown to view historic photos and learn about the original Hot Springs property which housed the Mountain Park Hotel, the German Interment Camp, the Drover’s Trail and Bumcombe Turnpike.  Click here to learn the history of Laughing Heart Lodge.

Have a Picnic Lunch at Max Patch

This 5,000-foot bald mountain with incredible long-range views is known throughout the region and is a great ½ day trip. There is a scenic ride to the trailhead and some good hiking when you arrive as well. For those not into hiking, this is a walkable trip to the top which takes about 20-25 minutes.  Max Patch is about a 45 minute drive from the Lodge.

Visit Trust

Highway 209 south out of Town is a Scenic Highway and heads to nearby Trust. There’s a General Store in Trust which is worth a stop. Just around the corner on Hwy. 63 sits the Chapel of Hope on a mountain stream.  It is open 24/7 year round.

Visit an Old Time Hardware Store

Keith Gentry is a 2nd generation operator of Gentry Hardware. He is a great guy and will take whatever time it takes to assist you in finding what you are looking for. His store offers a variety of not only traditional hardware items along with many gift items. If you don’t need any of these, he’s got Moon Pies.

Laughing Heart Lodge

A Place for Lodging, Retreats and Healing