Visiting the Historic Tapoco Lodge Resort in Robbinsville NC

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Surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest in the Great Smoky Mountains, the Historic Tapoco Lodge Resort was the highlight of our visit to Robbinsville NC. 

With history dating back to the 1930s, the 120+ acre mountain resort is located on the Cheoah River, with 3 Lodge Suites, 6 Lodge Rooms, and 18 Cabin Rooms to choose from. 

We especially loved their pet-friendly cabins (including the 3-unit Mountain View Cabin and 2-unit Overlook Cabin), which allowed us to bring our two dogs along for the adventure.

But the best thing about the resort for us was its location, which offers easy access to the Cheoah Dam, Fontana Lake, the Tail of the Dragon driving route, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, and much more.

Read on for our guide to visiting the Historic Tapoco Lodge Resort in Robbinsville NC, including info on accommodations, amenities, and the Tapoco Lodge restaurants and hiking trails.

READ MORE: 10 Must-Visit Blue Ridge Mountain Resorts

Other Great Places to Stay Near Robbinsville NC

  1. Snowbird Mountain Lodge (all-inclusive mountain retreat w/stunning scenery)
  2. Folkestone Inn (charming mountain farmhouse B&B w/chef breakfast in Bryson City)
  3. Lakeview at Fontana Soaking Cabana Resort (USA Today‘s top Southern Mountain Lodges)
  4. Creekside Paradise B&B (pet-friendly w/hot tub and excellent breakfast)
  5. Mountain Chalet Getaway (pet-friendly 5bd/5ba home w/view & hot tub)
  6. The Lodge Nantahala River  (riverfront, pet friendly cabin near Bryson City)
  7. Mountain Haven Dragon’s Nest Cabin (new cabin close to Tail of the Dragon) 
Historic Tapoco Lodge entrance in Robbinsville NC
Historic Tapoco Lodge entrance

Historic Tapoco Lodge Resort Info

ADDRESS: 14981 Tapoco Rd, Robbinsville NC 28771

PHONE: 828-498-2800

ACCOMODATION OPTIONS: Tapoco Lodge accommodations include 3 Lodge Suites, 6 Lodge Rooms, and 18 Cabin Rooms, 5 of which are dog-friendly. 




From Downtown Robbinsville, head west on Snider Hill, then turn right at the 1st cross street onto Circle St. Keep left to stay on Circle St, then turn left onto Moose Branch Rd.

Take a quick right onto Knight St, go 0.3 miles, then turn left onto US-129 N/Tapoco Rd. 

Follow that for 14.7 miles, then turn left onto County Rd 1130. The entrance to the Historic Tapoco Lodge Resort will be on your left. 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things To Do in Robbinsville NC & Graham County

Tapoco Lodge History

The Tapoco Lodge has roots dating back to 1913, when the the Tallassee Power Company built the mountain town of Tapoco to provide housing for workers constructing hydroelectric dams at Cheoah and Fontana.

It all started with the construction of the cozy, yet spacious main lodge building in 1930. But it gradually expanded with the addition of numerous rustic cabins over the course of several decades.

By the 1940s and 50s they had added a guard house and the Tapoco Tin Can Theater, which served as a community center/dance hall, and hosted going away parties for local soldiers during World War II.

In the 1990s they added a tennis court and gazebos, and the entire historic property has been renovated, retaining its classic craftsmanship while offering all the modern amenities travelers expect. 

These include two Tapoco Lodge restaurants (fine dining in the Cheoah Dining Room, and the more casual Tapoco Tavern), the Mountain Spa, and riverside and creekside hiking trails and seating options. 

Since 2004 the Tapoco Lodge has been included on the National Register of Historic Places, making it one of 6 Robbinsville NC attractions on the list. 

READ MORE: The 20 Best North Carolina Mountain Towns to Visit

Historic Tapoco Lodge Cabins

There are 18 Tapoco Lodge Cabins available in 7 buildings spanning the 120+ acre property. Most of them are named after nearby attractions like the Cheoah River, Lake Santeetlah, and Chilhowee Mountain. 

The Overlook Cabin (which overlooks the river) and Mountain View Cabin are the only pet-friendly options available, so we recommend booking early if you want one of these 5 units. 

We stayed in Mountain View 3, which is near the middle of the property and offered easy access to the driveway behind the building. 

This cabin’s interior was small but cozy, with warm wooden walls and floors, Queen-sized bed, coffee maker, mini fridge, and microwave.

We loved the shaded porch, which was surrounded by rhododendron and other colorful NC wildflowers

The bathroom was spacious, with lots of counter space and piping hot water in the shower (which was much appreciated after long days hiking at the nearby lakes).

Our only complaints would be the small size of the room and the uneven stone stairs to the cabin. Suffice to say that if you have limited mobility, you’re better off staying in the main lodge. 

READ MORE: The 20 Best Lakes in North Carolina (Mountains, Coast & Beyond)

Tapoco Tavern on the Cheoah River at Tapoco Lodge in Robbinsville NC
Tapoco Tavern Patio on the Cheoah River

Tapoco Lodge Restaurants

Tapoco Lodge has a prime location just south of the Tail of the Dragon, which offers 318 curves in 11 miles along the North Carolina/Tennessee border near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

With its two on-site restaurants, the historic resort is an extremely popular stop for the motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts who come from all over America to drive the famously challenging route.

The Tapoco Tavern was absolutely hopping during our 3 days at the Robbinsville resort. They have a full bar serving local craft beers, wines, and specialty cocktails (including $12 Mimosa flights).

There’s also an amazing outdoor patio right on the Cheoah River, which makes a great spot to sample their brick oven pizzas and gastropub fare (try the Tavern Burger and Riverside Trout Sandwich). 

As of March 14, 2024, the Tavern will be open daily from 11AM to 8PM. From Memorial Day until the end of the peak season, they’ll extend their hours, remaining open until 9PM.

In our experience, couples enjoying a romantic getaway may prefer the more upscale vibe of the Cheoah Dining Room. They offer breakfast daily from 8AM to 11AM, and dinner on Sundays from 5PM to 8PM.

Their fine dining menu is a bit more pricy, but includes delightful dishes such as Pecan Crusted Trout, Rustic Chicken Marsala, Carolina Crusted Filet, and Clustered Crab Legs. 

READ MORE: The 10 Best North Carolina Mountain Resorts to Visit

Bear Creek Falls Trail at Historic Tapoco Lodge Resort in Robbinsville NC

Other Tapoco Lodge Resort Amenities

With its proximity to Lake Santeetlah, Cheoah Dam, the Cherohala Skyway, Tail of the Dragon, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there’s an impressive array of things to do near the Tapoco Lodge. 

But in our experience, the tranquil mountain resort is the kind of place where you could easily come for a 3-day weekend getaway without getting the urge to leave the property!

Here’s a glimpse of some of our favorite things to do at the Historic Tapoco Lodge Resort: 

Hiking Trails

Starting just below the Overlook Cabin, the Bear Creek Falls Trail is a 2-mile loop trail that takes hikers along the Cheoah River to small cascading waterfalls

This hiking trail is rated moderately difficult due to 374 feet of elevation gain, slippery sections with rocks and roots, and downed trees.

A good pair of hiking shoes and a walking stick or trekking poles are highly recommended, especially if the trail is wet from recent rains.

If you’re seeking a shorter stroll, the main driveway through the lodge has a more gentle incline and runs right alongside Yellow Hammer Creek, with several benches and hammocks set up along the way. 

Laurel Lounge

Located just off the Tapoco Lodge Lobby, the Laurel Lounge becomes a happening hotspot during Winter, when the Tapoco Tavern closes for the season. 

Open from noon to 6PM from Thursday through Sunday, the lounge has a full bar serving up craft beer and cider, wine, and cocktails such as the Tapoco Sunrise and Mountain Margarita.

They also have the popular hand-tossed pizzas made in the Tapoco Tavern’s brick ovens, including specialty pizzas and build-your-own options. 

Mountain Spa at Tapoco Lodge

Open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10AM to 6PM, the Mountain Spa at Tapoco Lodge offers an array of upscale treatments that are great for unwinding and de-stressing. 

Their 50-minute Essential Massage is a delightful indulgence that covers all of your body’s stress points, using organic, plant-based Malie spa products (which are created in Hawaii). 

An 80-minute Elevated Massage gives therapists more time to focus on high-tension areas such as feet, lower back, neck, and shoulders, penetrating chronic knots or tense muscles.

The 80-minute Essential Massage & Exfoliating Body Polish combo includes an exfoliating treatment using natural oils that strip away dirt and dead skin, leaving your body refreshed and rejuvenated. –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

The BRMTG was created by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, the award-winning team behind the world-renowned responsible travel website Green Global Travel. Born and raised in North Georgia, Editor-In-Chief Bret Love grew up hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his family. A professional writer/editor since 1995, he's covered travel and culture for 100+ publications, including American Way, Destination Marriott, Georgia Travel Guide, National Geographic, and Southbound. In 2010 he co-founded the award-winning website, Green Global Travel, which is ranked among the world's top travel blogs. Since launching BRMTG in 2020, he and Mary Gabbett have visited 50+ Blue Ridge Mountain towns together. Though she lived in NYC for 14 years, photographer/Business Manager Mary Gabbett's family has Georgia roots dating back 200+ years. Her great-grandfather was President of the Western Railroad of Alabama. Before moving to Atlanta in 1989, she fell in love with the North GA mountains, where her aunt owned a cabin. In 2010 she co-founded Green Global Travel, and has since traveled to more than 40 countries on six continents. Her photos have appeared in numerous travel publications (including National Geographic and Southbound) and various textbooks.