Project 543 tells the story of unique spots across North Carolina that hopefully will become some of your favorite places. Why 543? Because that’s the number of miles from Manteo, on the coast, to Murphy, in the mountains, and is traditionally considered to be the width of our state. The entries in this project are in no particular order, and VisitNC will add to them each week. With four national forests, three mountain ranges, 252 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, nearly 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail and more than half of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina’s mountain scenery is as endless as it is inspirational. From unusual sights to Eastern America’s highest peaks and deepest gorges, the state offers many amazing views.

Shadow of the Bear is one of the most unusual mountain vistas anywhere. It only appears for two weeks in late October just outside of Cashiers in Jackson County. Visitors should be aware that the best place to see the Shadow of the Bear is on a busy highway that cannot accommodate a large amount of viewers. The bear also appears in mid-February but only for a brief time. Be sure to view one of the rarest natural phenomenon's east of the Mississippi!

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