Four Seasons of Fun
Sapphire Valley is the perfect mountain retreat for the outdoor enthusiast. With the only ski resort on the plateau and year-round social activities, Sapphire is a bustling community during all four seasons.
Originating as a mining town in the 1800s, Sapphire was so named because of the numerous sapphires found in the area. It is a jewel on the plateau.
Located less than 15 minutes from Cashiers, Sapphire Valley is a favorite for families who love its lake life, winter sports, variety of restaurants and festivals.
Living the Sapphire Life
From affordable homes to luxury estates to tracts of secluded land, Sapphire Valley o ff ers something for everyone.
Its flagship resort, Club Wyndham Resort at Fairfield Sapphire Valley, offers an array of amenities. The resort has even partnered with other area communities to share access to its activities, including golf, swimming, tennis and boating. The largest of its subdivisions is Holly Forest, which has 13 different sections dotting U.S. Highway 64 East.
Three stream-fed lakes are in Sapphire: Whisper, Hogback and Fairfield. All three offer recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing.
Surrounding these lake are private homes, condos, and townhomes managed by the Wyndham Corporation.
All Fore Golf
Sapphire offers several golfing opportunities at your doorstep. Sapphire National Golf Club features an 18-hole public course overlooked by Sapphire Mountain Brewing Company, a lively pub.
Private courses include Burlingame at Sapphire Lakes and the Country Club of Sapphire Valley.
Hiking & Waterfall Chasing
Enjoying time in nature is easy in Sapphire Valley. Hiking trails are abundant, with options for any fitness level. Some of the most popular day hikes include Rainbow Falls and the U.S. National Forestry’s Panthertown Valley.
With a 411-foot plunge, Upper Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. With a paved path to an overlook and plenty of space in which to enjoy a picnic, you and your family can make a day of the excursion.
Also near Sapphire and featuring three waterfalls is Gorges State Park, a 7,709-acre preserve with endless hiking trails.
Setting Sapphire apart from other local communities is the Sapphire Valley Ski Resort. Sapphire Valley residents and visitors alike can hit the slopes at the resort which offers skiing, snowboarding, tubing or zip-lining. It includes a 1,600-foot main run or a beginner’s, 350-foot “bunny” slope — perfect for children and newcomers to the sport. Skiers and snowboarders are welcome. A patient ski school welcomes anyone — from young children to senior first-timers.
Or, head to Frozen Falls Tube Park for a 500-foot run with a vertical drop of 60 feet. Attendants and an easy, “moving sidewalk get you and your tube to the top… and off you go! When it’s time to take a break, head to Four Seasons Grill, located within the rental lodge. A small clothing and accessory shop is also onsite. The resort places a premium on the surrounding amenities, such as a sizable recreation center that offers an indoor pool, hot tubs, saunas, fitness center, mini golf, an arcade, and more.
Arts, Crafts & Family Fun
Sapphire Valley plays host to a number of arts and crafts shows throughout the summer and fall months, when you can experience local music, food, handmade crafts, folk art, fine jewelry and friendship.
Sapphire has become well-known in recent years for its Outhouse Races, which take place each winter on the ski slopes. Onlookers cheer on drivers of the hilarious, campy homemade outhouses as they travel down the slopes. And don’t miss Yankee Doodle Dandy Day every July 4! It offers a day of fun with kids’ bounce toys, food, gem mining, snow cones, popcorn, drinks, pony rides, foot golf, zip-lining, and more. Bring the family and celebrate!
Sapphire Valley History
Sapphire’s countryside was once rich in sapphires. Legend has it that it received its name from a 50-pound bag of gems found in the valley.
Its development can be traced back to the Toxaway Company, which purchased thousands of acres of land through Jackson and Transylvania Counties to make way for a railroad linking Hendersonville to Toxaway. Recognizing the stunning beauty of the area, the Lake Toxaway Hotel Group began to develop Sapphire Valley into a resort destination, building five inns throughout the valley.
One of these, the Historic Fairfield Inn on Lake Fairfield, was completed in 1896 and was in use until it was damaged by fire in 1986.
When retired Georgia Pacific executive Gene Howerdd, Sr., a member of Augusta National, saw the verdant Sapphire Valley, bordered by rocky mountain vistas and laced with crystal trout streams, he knew he had found the perfect site for a level, cool, and breathtakingly beautiful golf course.
In 1954, the Howerdd Sr. family acquired approximately 8,500 acres of land sapphire. The property included the Fairfield Inn, a 200-acre lake (Fairfield) on the north side of U.S. Highway 64, and approximately 2,000 acres of land on the south side of the highway.
Mr. Howerdd selected George W. Cobb, the highly acclaimed Golf Course Architect, who had previously designed the 3-par golf course at Augusta National, to design a championship golf course on his 2,000 acre land tract. The Fairfield Inn was renamed Sapphire Valley Inn and, together with the golf course, was referred to as The Sapphire Valley Inn and Golf Course, which opened in 1956. Subsequently, the golf course became part of the prestigious Country Club of Sapphire Valley.