The Blowing Rock: More Than a Namesake

‘The only place where snow falls upside down’

Visitors at the Blowing Rock have the opportunity to view the High Country at 4,000 feet above sea level.

Dating back to 1933, the Blowing Rock is North Carolina’s oldest tourist attraction. It is a massive cliff 4,000 feet above sea level, overhanging Johns River Gorge 3,000 feet below.

During the formation of the Blue Ridge Mountains, strong pressure in the rocks of the earth’s crust produced many features, which we now see at the Blowing Rock.

It received its name because the rocky walls of the gorge form a force that enables the northwest wind to sweep through with such energy that it returns light objects thrown over the void.

The current of air flowing upward from the rock prompted the “Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not” cartoon about “the only place in the world where snow falls upside down.” 

Visible from the Blowing Rock are Hawksbill Mountain, Table Rock, Grandfather Mountain (the highest peak in the Blue Ridge chain) and Mount Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi).

The legend of the Blowing Rock says that a Chickasaw chieftain, fearful of a white man’s admiration for his lovely daughter, journeyed far from the plains to bring her to the Blowing Rock. One day, the girl, daydreaming on the cliff, saw a Cherokee brave wandering in the wilderness far below and playfully shot an arrow in his direction. The flirtation worked, because soon he appeared before her hut, courting her with songs of his land, and they became lovers.

One day, a strange reddening of the sky brought the brave and the girl to the Blowing Rock. To him, it was a sign of trouble, commanding his return to his tribe in the plains. With the girl’s requests not to leave her, the brave, torn by conflict of duty and heart, leapt from the rock into the wilderness far below. The heartbroken girl prayed daily to the Great Spirit until one evening with a reddening sky, a gust of wind blew her lover back onto the rock and into her arms. From that day, an everlasting wind has blown up onto the rock from the valley below. For people of the past, this was explanation enough for the Blowing Rock’s mysterious winds that cause even the snow to fall upside down.

The Blowing Rock is open all year, weather permitting, in Blowing Rock. From May through October, it is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. General admission is $7 for adults, $2 for children ages 4 to 11 and free for kids 3 and younger.

The Blowing Rock is located on U.S. 321, near the Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock. For more information, call (828) 295-7111, or visit

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The rock formation known as The Blowing Rock has been attracting visitors to the area for more than a century, and you could make the claim that the village of Blowing Rock that bears its name would not exist if not for the iconic landmark.

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