General Information


General Information

County Seat
Burnsville, North Carolina

Yancey County has the highest average elevation of any county in North Carolina, including within its boundaries 5 of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi. Mt. Mitchell (highest point in eastern America) is 6,684 feet.

Yancey County is nestled in the diverse forests and lofty mountains of western North Carolina. The county shares its northwestern Appalachian Mountain Ridge with Tennessee. The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway outlines Yancey’s southeastern boundary. Burnsville is about 35 miles northeast of Asheville. Charlotte, the states largest metropolis lies about 125 miles southeast of the county. Johnson City, Tennessee lies about 50 miles to the west. The county’s major east-west thoroughfare is U.S. 19.

Summer mornings in the county can be humid, creating a dreamy haze across the Blue Ridge and Black Mountains. Summertime highs usually peak in the mid-80s, while evening temperatures dip to the comfortable 50s. Average annual rainfall is 59 inches. Children also delight in the winter snows which interrupt the school schedule from time to time (snows range from less than an inch to a foot or more).

Land area is 311 square miles or 200,704 acres.

One of the wonderful traditions of our county is the pride in fine quilters, basketmakers, and other traditional craftspeople, many other artists have settled here, including woodworkers, glassblowers, potters, metalsmiths, weavers, papermakers, painters, photograhers, and sculptors, many of whom have national and international reputations.
Nearly 400 full-time and 200 part-time craftspeople in Yancey County earn an annual composite of about $11.3 million. More artists per capita reside in the mountains of western North Carolina than in any other region in the U.S. You can find a wealth of authentic craft shops and intriguing galleries throughout the county.

The surrounding mountains, forests, rivers, and waterfalls provide ample opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities and spectacular views. Skiing, golfing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, tubing, camping, fishing, and hunting contribute to a delightful selection of adventures and fun.

Yancey County provides many essential services for its residents, including social services, public health and transportation, recreation, recycling, mapping projects, building inspections, and emergency response efforts. Equally important, Yancey County contributes at least 25 percent of the funding for its public schools. Each of the state’s 100 counties is governed by an elected board of commissioners, which manages essential business concerns and allocates funds for civic affairs. Yancey County’s Board of Commissioners is comprised of five elected officials serving two-year terms. The board hires a County Manager to direct general operations and to administer board policies. Other county offices include the Register of Deeds, County Board of Elections, and the Sheriff’s Department. Locally, North Carolina encompasses more than 500 incorporated municipalities, each with its own charter and the power to levy local taxes. An elected Mayor and a four-person Town Board govern the town of Burnsville.
See Government for more information.

Today, more than 100 churches provide a foundation of faith for the residents of Yancey County. Like much of North Carolina, the Baptist community has the largest congregation, yet an array of religions are represented throughout the region. Many of the county’s earliest churches and community cornerstones still mark the rural landscape. The pioneer churches often occupied a distinct, picturesque position on the grassy knolls and steep hillsides of the mountain region.

District schools and area colleges provide students with a solid education that guides them toward success in their respective careers. See Education for more information.