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Haywood County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Haywood County
Haywood County Courthouse, built c. 1932
Haywood County Courthouse, built c. 1932
Official seal of Haywood County
Map of North Carolina highlighting Haywood County
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  North Carolina
Founded 1808
Named for John Haywood
Seat Waynesville
Largest town Waynesville
 • Total 555 sq mi (1,440 km2)
 • Land 554 sq mi (1,430 km2)
 • Water 0.9 sq mi (2 km2)  0.2%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 107/sq mi (41/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 11th

Haywood County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 59,036. The county seat and its largest city is Waynesville. Haywood County is part of the Asheville, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The county was formed by European Americans in 1808 from the western part of Buncombe County. It was named for John Haywood, who served as the North Carolina State Treasurer from 1787 to 1827.

In 1828 the western part of Haywood County became Macon County. In 1851 parts of Haywood and Macon counties were combined to form Jackson County.

The last shot of the Civil War east of the Mississippi was fired in Waynesville on May 9, 1865, when elements of the Thomas Legion (Confederate) skirmished with the 2nd NC Mounted (Union). A monument is situated on Sulphur Springs Road in Waynesville.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 555 square miles (1,440 km2), of which 554 square miles (1,430 km2) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) (0.2%) is water.

The Pigeon River originates in Haywood County. It is the only county in North Carolina that all water flows out while none flows in.

Haywood County is situated amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains and contains parts of several major subranges of the Blue Ridge, namely the Great Smoky Mountains in the west and the Plott Balsams and Great Balsam Mountains in the south. Notable peaks in the county include Cold Mountain, at 6,030 feet (1,840 m), Mount Sterling, at 5,835 feet (1,779 m), and Richland Balsam, at 6,410 feet (1,950 m) in elevation. Mt. Guyot, the county's highest point at 6,621 feet (2,018 m), is the 4th highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Black Balsam Knob, in the Great Balsam Mountains in the southeastern section of the county, is the highest grassy bald in the entire Appalachian range. Haywood County is believed to be the highest county (by mean elevation) east of the Mississippi River, with a mean elevation of 3600 feet (1095m).

A portion of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in the northwestern section of the county, north of Maggie Valley. Along with several mountains rising to over 6,000 feet (1,800 m) in elevation, the Haywood area of the Smokies includes Cataloochee, which is home to a large campground and several historical structures dating to the 19th and early 20th centuries. Other protected areas include substantial sections of the Pisgah National Forest in the far northeastern and southern parts of the county.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 2,780
1820 4,073 46.5%
1830 4,578 12.4%
1840 4,975 8.7%
1850 7,074 42.2%
1860 5,801 −18.0%
1870 7,921 36.5%
1880 10,271 29.7%
1890 13,346 29.9%
1900 16,222 21.5%
1910 21,020 29.6%
1920 23,496 11.8%
1930 28,273 20.3%
1940 34,804 23.1%
1950 37,631 8.1%
1960 39,711 5.5%
1970 41,710 5.0%
1980 46,495 11.5%
1990 46,942 1.0%
2000 54,033 15.1%
2010 59,036 9.3%
2020 62,089 5.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Haywood County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 55,685 89.69%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 656 1.06%
Native American 308 0.5%
Asian 360 0.58%
Pacific Islander 1 0.0%
Other/Mixed 2,250 3.62%
Hispanic or Latino 2,829 4.56%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 62,089 people, 26,653 households, and 17,170 families residing in the county.


Major highways and roads

  • I-40
  • US 19
  • US 23
  • US 74
  • US 276
  • NC 110
  • NC 209
  • NC 215


The Blue Ridge Southern Railroad operates a portion a line through Haywood County, providing a rail connection with the rest of the country. The Blue Ridge Southern Railroad's main classification yard is located in Canton, which directly serves Evergreen Packaging (owned by International Paper) and originates several local runs.


Map of Haywood County North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Haywood County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels


Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities


  • Beaverdam
  • Bethel
  • Cataloochee
  • Cecil
  • Clyde
  • Crabtree
  • Cruso
  • East Fork
  • Fines Creek
  • Iron Duff
  • Ivy Hill
  • Jonathan Creek
  • Pigeon
  • Waynesville
  • White Oak

In popular culture

Cold Mountain, in southeast Haywood County within the Pisgah National Forest, became popularly known when featured as the title and setting of the 1997 historical novel Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. He explored the later stages of the American Civil War in the area and a Confederate soldier's effort to return home. The novel was adapted as a major motion picture, released by Miramax Films in 2003 and starring Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, and Renée Zellweger.


Haywood County Schools has 15 schools ranging from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade. Those are separated into three high schools, three middle schools, and nine elementary schools.

Tuscola-Pisgah rivalry

The two major high schools in the Haywood County Schools System, the Tuscola High School Mountaineers of Waynesville and Pisgah High School Black Bears of Canton participate in one of the fiercest high school rivalries in the Nation, as cited by the Great American Rivalry Series. The two high school football teams battle it out for the Haywood County Championship each fall, drawing up to 15,000 fans. Pisgah now leads the series at 30-26-1. The Pisgah Bears have won the last 8 meetings.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Haywood (Carolina del Norte) para niños

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