Spend your vacation in a relaxing small community with breathtaking views of majestic mountains and the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Chatuge. The resort town of Hayesville has Old World Charm to keep you coming back year round.
The heart of Hayesville is the little square in downtown with many activities such as craft shows, evening farmers market, weekend Concerts, and Festivals with live entertainment.
The old red brick courthouse was built in 1888 and features a three-story square tower that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Other historic sites include Spikebuck Mound, which is located to the north of town on the Hiwassee River located behind the Veterans Recreational Park off Anderson Street. Atop the mound sat the Quanassee townhouse, a large public building that served as town hall and council house. At the base of the mound, there was a public plaza for ceremonies. Small homesteads surrounded the plaza as visitors can walk a mile & a half path showing where Indians resided.
In downtown Hayesville is the Quanassee Path Cherokee Homestead Exhibit which is an authentic reconstruction of a Cherokee Summer & Winter home. Other structures display a food storage crib, shelters, heritage include clan masks, murals and quotes in the Cherokee language.
Cherokee Indians once widely inhabited the area until Scotch-Irish and English settlers arrived in the late-eighteenth century. General Winfield Scott was commissioned in 1837 to gather all the Native Americans throughout the region and detain them. A stockade, called Fort Hembree, was constructed about a mile southwest of what is now Hayesville, and the Cherokee were there held until the Trail of Tears began in 1838.
In 1839 the Western part of Macon County became Cherokee County and in 1861 Clay County formed and was named in honor of Kentucky statesman, Henry Clay a legendary U.S. Senator. Thirty years after the county’s establishment, Hayesville was incorporated in 1913 as the county seat. The town is named after George W. Hayes, a district representative in the North Carolina who worked for Clay County’s establishment.
The old Clay County jail was constructed in 1912 and is presently the Clay County Historical and Arts Museum. The museum is dedicated to the memory of Dr. John Killian, a beloved turn of the century doctor in Clay County. Changing exhibitsdisplay early history of Cherokee & Clay County.
There are many townships including Brasstown, Warne, Fires Creek, Shooting Creek, Elf, and Tusquittee. The Nantahala National Forest, covers over 14,000 acres of the county, as well as the Hiwassee River, which is known for trout fishing. It is popular for many outdoor enthusiast including hikers and photography buffs.
Tourists also enjoy visiting the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, founded in 1925. For more than eighty years classes are based on the original crafts of the Southern Appalachian culture including basket weaving, sculpture, gardening, quilting, woodturning, weaving, plus many other arts. The Keith House – built in 1929 is the hub of the Folk School, it features students artwork, holds concerts & dances throughout the year.
Fires Creek recreational area has beautiful waterfalls and is perfect for horseback riding. Many hiking trails that run through the Nantahala National Forest just outside the town limits. One of the longest is the Rim Trail that starts near Leatherwood Falls and takes in the Big Peachtree and Weatherman Balds. Other popular hiking and recreational areas include Jack Rabbit Mountain, Chunky Gal Mountain, Yellow Mountain, the Pinnacle, and Standing Indian Mountain.
About 3,700 acres of the 7000 acre waters of Lake Chatuge are located in Clay County and include 128 miles of shoreline. This pristine lake is ideal for swimming, boating, camping and fishing. Jackrabbit Campground, part of the Natahala National Forest is located on the shores of Lake Chatuge and offers campsites, hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and swimming on the beach. Other outdoor recreational activities include golfing with two 18 hole courses, overnight RV camping and nearby hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
In October, as the spectacular fall scenery displays it’s vivid colors, Clay County is home to the Punkin’ Chunkin Festival. This annual competition features a variety of pumpkins that are catapulted into the sky by various machines like Air Cannon’s, Trebuchet, and Torsion to see who can get the pumpkin to the furthest distance. This highly entertaining event also includes airplane rides, zip line, rock wall climbing, mechanical bull riding, live music, a variety of home cooked foods, arts and crafts.
Visitors are welcome to stay in any of the lodging facilities or rentals that are just minutes away from shopping in quaint antique stores and specialty stores. Eat in one of the many restaurants from fine dining to old-fashioned country cooking.
Just 2 hours from Atlanta, Asheville and Chattanooga, make it convenient for visitors to stay … because wherever you’re from… Clay County will make you feel “right at home”!
Visit the Clay County Chamber of Commerce for more information. 388 Business Hwy. 64, Hayesville, N.C. 28904 www.ncmtnchamber.com.