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Love Asheville Go Local Week

“Adventure Is Local” isn’t just a tagline — it’s a philosophy that guides the decisions that we make. A lot of things have changed since we opened Western North Carolina’s first outdoor gear shop, but our sense of community and commitment to enriching lives through outdoor connections remains the same. We’re proud to remain an independent, family-owned business. We’ve joined other local businesses, Asheville Grown Alliance, and Asheville Downtown Association for Love Asheville Go Local Week.

Learn the story of Asheville along the Urban Trail, rediscover your favorite restaurant or pub, and check out everything that’s new in Buncombe County’s living room. Take 10% OFF your entire purchase (including sale items!) when you show your ID with a Buncombe County address at our Downtown location on 53 Biltmore Avenue in Aloft Downtown Asheville the entire week of February 10-17. If you’ve got a Go Local Card, we’ll take 15% OFF! (We also sell the cards, so you can purchase one to support local independence and public education.)

Parking is free for the first hour in the Biltmore Deck, which is attached to our building. Lots of fun is planned to rekindle your love for Downtown Asheville including the annual Mardi Gras Parade, live music and art, and special deals at restaurants and retail shops. Check out the list online.

We hope to see lots of friends and neighbors supporting local, independent businesses in Downtown Asheville!

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Paddling the French Broad Paddle Trail

The French Broad Paddle Trail is a series of campsites along the French Broad River connecting over 140 miles of river. It was created by the Western North Carolina Alliance, a non-profit in Asheville that houses the French Broad Riverkeeper, who works to protect and promote the quality of the French Broad River and its tributaries. The paddle trail begins in Rosman, NC, taking paddlers over flat and whitewater. It passes through an incredibly beautiful geographical region of the Southeast.

What Makes It Great

The Cherokee used to call it the “Long Man,” and its tributaries, “Chattering Children.” Later, European settlers deemed it the “French Broad.” The world’s third oldest river has a majestic and ancient appeal. Flat water and whitewater paddlers alike will love the adventure the French Broad Paddle Trail provides. You can now paddle over 140 miles of the river from Rosman in North Carolina to Douglas Lake in Tennessee, staying at campsites all along the way.

The river begins in an area of rolling, shaded farmland, where the North and West Forks come together. As the river plunges through Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests, it eventually opens up to reveal mountains rising out of the water’s edge. The river is perfect for all skill levels, with the first 75 miles consisting of mainly flat water paddling and the rest offering a mix of class I, II, and III rapids. You can easily spend one night or even several weeks exploring one of the world’s oldest rivers.

Starting in Rosman, the French Broad runs northwest through the funky and quaint Western North Carolinian towns of Brevard, Asheville, Woodfin. Weaverville, Marshall, and Hot Springs, as well as Del Rio and Newport in Tennessee. What’s great about this part of the country is the small town feel with an eclectic charm of mountain culture.

Who is Going to Love It

History and nature buffs. Some sections of the French Broad River make you feel like you’re in a prehistoric time. Other times, you’ll see a bald eagle and feel like singing the Star Spangled Banner. Still other times, you’ll float through a town and wonder how that place has been shaped by the river…and vice versa.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Visit French Broad River Paddle’s website for all your logistical needs. At the website you can make a reservation, look at a map, find access points, or read about the campsites. Campsites are $25/night, with no limit on the number of your entourage. Plan your trip ahead of time and know your river. There are three dams on the French Broad, and we discourage portaging all of them. These portages are very time-consuming and oftentimes dangerous. Try to plan your trip where you take out before these dams. Local Asheville outfitters Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker.

The French Broad Paddle Trail is open 365 days a year. Campsites are strategically placed, so that paddlers can reach their sites within a single day. The longest distance between sites is 15 miles. The campsites are paddle-in only, meaning you’ll be far away from car-camping glampers. Remember these campsites are paddle-in sites, so don’t leave a bunch of litter after your stay. It makes it very difficult for volunteers and French Broad River Paddle employees to clean up when they’re already carrying lawn mowers and weed-eaters to do maintenance. So, practice leave-no-trace principles wherever you go, and have a great paddle.

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Featured image provided by anoldent

Hiking Skinny Dip Falls

The waters of Yellowstone Prong spring from the peaks of the Great Balsam Mountains and gather themselves in Graveyard Fields. Born from springs above 6,000 feet and purified through the 5,000 foot meadow, these waters run crisp and clean. The perpetually cool waters flow peacefully through the hanging valley before plunging down a raucous ravine which leads to the Prong’s confluence with the East Fork of the Pigeon River.

What Makes It Great

From the mouth of Graveyard Fields the Yellowstone Prong cascades over the mighty Second Falls and then the secluded Yellowstone Falls. A short distance downstream the Prong makes its most risqué drop over Skinny Dip Falls. At this popular swimming hole a series of cascades and plunge pools line the banks of a heavenly ravine. A short, half-mile walk from the Blue Ridge Parkway, leads to Skinny Dip falls where you can cool your body and refresh your soul in the wild waters of Appalachia.

Access to Skinny Dip Falls can be found right off the Parkway from the Looking Glass Rock overlook. Across the Parkway, from the overlook, a blazed spur trail leads into the woods. After taking this trail and entering the woods you will notice a “trail tree,” which was formed as a trail marker by indigenous tribes. Perhaps they also enjoyed taking a dip, skinny style, in the Yellowstone Prong? After passing the ornate tree – some say the face of a dragon can be seen in its gnarled bark – hikers will come to an intersection with the Mountains-To-Sea Trail. Veer left at this intersection and follow the rocky trail until reaching the swimming area. When you reach a wooden staircase leading to a bridge spanning the creek, you have arrived!

Enjoy the series of plunge pools, but please keep your clothing on if there’s a crowd. The falls are Skinny Dip by name only, not by nature during busy hours. A grouping of Boulders along the right side of the upper pool provides a platform to jump into the 6’ deep water. Use caution and make sure to hit your mark if you decide to take the leap off of the 8’-10’ rocks. The lower pools of Skinny Dip Falls are serenely beautiful and offer wading and lounging opportunities on their sun-soaked rocks.

Who is Going to Love It

Thanks to such easy access Skinny Dip Falls has become a highly popular area for families and adventurers. On warm summer days you are likely to share the water with a crowd. Fear not though, there are plenty of pools to spread the watery wealth. This swimming hole is in the vicinity of some incredible hiking trails. The Art Loeb, Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Black Balsam Knob, and Shining Rock are all within striking distance. Take a hike, then cap off your adventurous day by soothing your aching muscles in the waters of Skinny Dip Falls!

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Asheville, catch the Blue Ridge Parkway. Head south on the Parkway towards the Looking Glass Rock Overlook, located by mile marker 417. Parking here is free but you may want to get there early on pretty summer days to find a spot. Dogs are welcomed, but should be kept on a leash until they are ready for a swim.

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Featured image provided by Jenn Deane

7 Romantic Excursions in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Skiing at Cataloochee Mountain.Lovely evening light settles over the ski slopes.
Timo Newton-Syms

1. Share Some Powder

Love birds by day, powder hounds by night: Hit the slopes of one of Western North Carolina’s ski resorts after dark for an out-of-the-ordinary romantic excursion. Most ski resorts offer both twilight (usually 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and night (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) passes for discovery of the distinct pleasures of skiing and snowboarding after sundown. Although the main trails are brightly lit, the real fun begins when you and your sweetie duck into the trees and find the powder stashes that are illuminated only by starlight.

2. Picnic on the Parkway

Kissing alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway.
A romantic moment alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Melina Coogan

A picnic on the Blue Ridge Parkway requires very little planning, which makes it a perfect spur-of-the-moment romantic outing. Simply choose which phenomenal view you’d like to share (we recommend Looking Glass Rock Overlook at Milepost 417, which also happens to be the trailhead for Skinny Dip Falls) or cruise the parkway and take your pick of breathtakingly beautiful overlooks.

3. Camp Out at Crabtree Falls

Take a tiny vacation to the Crabtree Falls & Meadows Recreation Area, home of the gorgeous, 70-foot Crabtree Falls, one of the most photogenic landscapes near Asheville. Spend the night in one of the small, rustic cabins at the Crabtree Falls Campground. Then, make the easy, three mile out-and-back hike to the falls first thing in the morning. Bring a thermos of coffee to share with your sweetheart and watch as the first rays of sun penetrate the forest and illuminate the gauzy veil of water. If you’re an early riser, you may have that marvelous sight all to yourself.

4. Watch the Sunset from Linville Gorge

Sunset at the Linville Gorge.
Sunset from Hawksbill Mountain in the Linville Gorge.
JenjazzyGeek

With all the artistic allure of sunrise, but without the painful wake-up time, sunset is time of reflection, serenity, and romance. As the sun sinks and the sky erupts in colors, the world grows cold very quickly. Make sure and throw a blanket in your backpack so you can wrap it around the both of you, and pack a thermos of hot tea to share.

A dramatic spot to witness the closing of day is from the summit of Hawksbill Mountain in the Linville Gorge Wilderness. Some 2,000 feet above the canyon floor, perch at the edge of the rock outcrop, and take in the view that stretches across the gorge to Table Rock and Grandfather Mountain. Remember to pack a couple of headlamps for the 1.5 mile descent back to the car.

5. Take in the Stars at Graveyard Fields

A starry night in the mountains.
The cosmos on a clear night, putting on the most romantic performance in the universe.
Anunturi Gratuite

If you’re truly looking to impress, treat your certain someone to the best stargazing in all of North Carolina. Graveyard Fields, a high valley in the heart of the Great Balsam Range, is best known for its hiking trails that meander through mountain laurels, blueberry thickets, and rhododendrons and provide the perfect overlook for two waterfalls that tumble down the Yellowstone Prong. In the evening, however, after most of the visitors have packed up and headed home, the settling darkness unveils a whole new realm of natural beauty above the quiet meadow.

Folded away in the Blue Ridge and far from the city lights of Asheville and Hendersonville, the sky above Graveyard Fields is one of the best places in the Southeast to view the Milky Way. And while this may be a lofty claim, that diamond-white spray of stars is arguably the most romantic spectacle in all of the visible cosmos.

6. Ride the Point Lookout Greenway Bike Trail

If you want to keep it casual with a brand new love interest, take a fun and flirty ride on the Point Lookout Greenway Bike Trail. This paved greenway, surrounded by Pisgah National Forest, makes for a pleasant eight mile out-and-back ride (including the half-mile dash from the parking area at the picnic area near Old Fort). If you choose to cruise together on a tandem bike, be warned that the trail gains 900 feet of elevation in 3.6 miles, so get ready for some teamwork.

7. Escape for the Weekend

On the front porch at a Smoky Mountain Getaways cabin.
On the front porch at a Smoky Mountain Getaways cabin.
Courtesy of Smoky Mountain Getaways

Just because you’re a permanent resident of the Blue Ridge Mountains doesn’t mean you can’t play tourist from time to time. Surprise your partner by a one-of-a-kind cabin or yurt and sweeping him or her away from the ubiquitous demands real life. Hide away at a rustic riverside cabin or indulge in the luxuries of a fancy mountainside cottage. A weekend of fresh views, hot-tub soaks, and some new perspective on a familiar landscape will do you both a world of good. Sometimes, even the most steadfast relationships need a little change of scenery.

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Featured image provided by Caleb Ekeroth

Hiking Doughton Park

Doughton Park, located between milepost 238 and 246, is the largest recreation area along the 469 mile of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It also happens to be one of the most spectacular locations to soak up fall color changes in area.

It’s easy enough to stop at a lookout along the BRP and get the view you came for at Doughton — the scenic highway follows the ridge at the top of the park, putting you in a perfect position to peruse the panorama. But to get fully immersed in the landscape, walking some of the 30 miles of trails is the way to go.

The trail system at Doughton is pretty simple. The longest trek runs for about 16.5 miles and creates a ring around the entire park. If time allows, this is the best way to experience all the amazing views the park has to offer.

To make the walk a little easier and more in line with a day-hike time budget, use the trails that cut through the center of the park. The Grassy Gap fire road links to the Bluff Ridge primitive trail. Bluff Ridge is 2.8 miles of nearly straight uphill climbing, terminating on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A shelter sits right near the end of the trail and is a great place for lunch with a view.

While hiking is the main attraction, Doughton Park also offers some other amenities. The campground holds more than 60 tent sites and 25 RV sites. Rainbow and brook trout can be found swimming in Basin Cove Creek, just waiting for skilled anglers. And cross country skiing is allowed when the park is accessible in winter (even when other parts of the BRP are closed).

Back in the day, the late 1800s that is, the area was home to the bustling Basin Cove community. In 1916, however, a flood claimed most of the structures in the area. Two notable survivors are the Brinegar Cabin (circa 1885) and the Caudill Family Homestead. Both are accessible by trail and offer a glimpse into how this very tough breed of settlers once spent their days.

Luckily, you don’t have to work nearly has hard as the Caudill’s to get your dinner. Once you’ve finished stuffing your eyes with panoramic scenery, it’s time to stuff your belly with some classic Carolina feed. Featured on BBQ with Bobby Flay, the Brushy Mountain Smokehouse and Creamery is the perfect place to help you balance out all the calories you burned at Doughton. Pulled pork is the star of the show, but this North Wilkesboro eatery also offers ribs, chicken, country ham, fish, and a whole pile of other choices including their signature side dish, Brushy Mountain Caviar.

Saving room for desert is a requirement. As the name suggests, Brushy Mountain makes their own ice-cream which is then generously applied to shakes, sundaes, and cakes.

If you want a peak at peak Blue Ridge leaf season from the top of a peak, then Doughton Park in late October and early November is where you need to be.

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Featured image provided by Rob Glover

Visiting Hot Springs

On any given summer weekend in Hot Springs, North Carolina, pack-laden hikers and paddlers in wetsuits can be seen traversing the sidewalks of this tiny, no-traffic-light Appalachian Trail town, population 575. Acoustic music drifts from the open doors of taverns and the occasional train whistle echoes through the valley.

Surrounded by Pisgah National Forest, Hot Springs is only about 25 miles (40 minutes) from Asheville, but it feels a world away. Adrenaline may be pumping on the Class III rapids of the French Broad River which runs through the center of town, but on the main drag, Bridge Street, the pace is nothing but slow Southern town, with a certain mountain charm that has to be experienced to be understood.

Looking down at Hot Springs from Lover's Leap
Looking down at Hot Springs from Lover’s Leap
Joanne O’Sullivan

And it’s no surprise that people have been experiencing this place for over a century. The mineral springs, for which the town is named, first brought tourists here in the 1880s, but it’s the Appalachian Trail, which literally runs down the main street here, that has given Hot Springs a reputation as an outdoor destination.

As a home base for exploring the river, the national forest, or the many nearby trails, Hot Springs has everything you need. Here are the essentials for a Hot Springs visit:

Gear Up 

Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker have been supplying AT thru hikers and daytime visitors with provisions since 1964. Not only do they have gear, food, maps and all other kinds of supplies hikers might need, they also have a world of knowledge and local expertise.

Fuel Up 

Considering the size of the town, there are an impressive number of places to eat in Hot Springs. The Spring Creek Tavern describes itself as ‘hiker friendly,’ (which means they don’t mind if you smell like sweat and dirty socks), and with 12 beers on tap as well as excellent pub standards like burgers and wraps, it’s a great place to refuel. The covered deck next to the creek has prime seating and is usually full on weekend nights. Just next door, Still Mountain Restaurant and Tavern has more of a bar-pub feel and menu, and they often have musical acts playing into the night on their outdoor patio.

If you really clean up well, Mountain Magnolia Inn is primarily a romantic B &B, but it’s also an upscale restaurant with amazing views and is open to the public.

Get Out There 

The French Broad River next to Hot Springs
The French Broad River next to Hot Springs
David Wilson

There are about a dozen rafting concessions near Hot Springs, including an outpost of the Blue Heron Whitewater and Hot Springs Rafting Co. Each outfitter offers something a little different. Some offer kayaks, canoes, and funyaks. Some offer tubes, with guided and self-guided trips depending on the area of the river (the French Broad near Hot Springs has everything from Class I to Class IV). Of course, you can bring your own gear, too.

If you’re seeking a hike, the Appalachian Trail runs down the sidewalk in Hot Springs then back into Pisgah National Forest, but there are plenty of other local trails, depending on what you’re interested in. The local library has plenty of information. One of the most popular hikes in Western North Carolina is just 20 minutes from town at Max Patch, a Southern Appalachian bald with 360-degree views and great picnic opportunities.

Wind Down

After a long day on the trail or fighting the rapids, the outdoor mineral baths at Hot Springs Resort and Spa might be just what you’re looking for. The tubs are spaced far enough apart to allow for privacy, and the optional spa services menu includes everything from integrative massage to hot stone and mud bath therapies. The resort also has tent and RV camping sites along the river, plus cabins.

If you’d rather unwind with a drink, Iron Horse Station might be more your speed. The restaurant and tavern offer a varied menu, wine, beer, and acoustic music. It’s located in a historic building across from the railroad track and there are upscale hotel rooms located upstairs.

Bunk Down

Hot Springs Cabin
Hot Springs Cabin
David Wilson

In addition to the other lodging options mentioned, there are a number of local campgrounds. Appalachian Trail hikers favor the Sunnybank Inn, operated by Elmer Hall, a man who has hosted hikers for over 30 years. If you’ll be heading toward Max Patch and want a more private retreat, try Kana’Ti Lodge, a small eco-lodge with spectacular surroundings.

If you’re looking for a perfect outdoor weekend getaway in the southeast, Hot Springs should definitely be at the top of your list. 

 

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Featured image provided by David Wilson

7 Winter Adventures in North Carolina Other Than Downhill Skiing (and Where to Do Them)

Why waste the winter months hibernating indoors? Snow, ice, and frosty temperatures provide plenty of fodder for outdoor adventure from moderate to extreme. When winter weather rolls into the Southeast, North Carolina’s wild spaces are briefly and beautifully transformed, with much more to offer beyond black diamond downhill runs.

1. Snowshoeing

Requiring far less finesse than downhill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing is ideal for ski school dropouts — and sturdily-built snowshoes can go places skis can’t. In the High Country just north of Boone, Elk Knob State Park consistently gets a more-than-generous dusting of snow. Even better, the park remains open throughout the winter, Elk Knob’s trails are prime for exploring by snowshoe after a coating of fresh powder.

In Beech Mountain, the loftiest town in the eastern United States (sitting at 5,506 feet), visitors can explore 30 miles of maintained trails, and snowshoe rentals are available at the Beech Mountain Resort. Novices can warm up on the recreation center’s 1/3-mile loop, while pros can head for the 8 miles of alpine tracks at the Emerald Outback, the town’s picturesque trail park. Tentative snowshoe converts can ease into the sport with a guided tour at Sugar Mountain Resort outside Banner Elk.

2. Winter Hiking

Explore Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Christopher Sims

Head for North Carolina’s most popular trails when temperatures plunge, and less hearty hikers have gone home to roost for the winter. Waterfalls are among the state’s most popular hiking destinations, and in winter, most cascades are equally stunning, transformed into gravity-defying ice sculptures. Outside Brevard, head for Moore Cove Falls, in the Pisgah National Forest, accessible after a brief 0.7-mile hike. Or strike for the state’s most popular flume, Linville Falls. You can hike there via the trails that begin along the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 316). Even when the parkway is closed for winter weather, the falls are still accessible courtesy of trailhead located off NC 183 (on Wiseman’s’ View Road, NC 1238), outside the town of Linville Falls.

Or you can set out for one of the state’s most popular peaks, Max Patch, without the fall and summer crowds. An iconic southern Appalachian bald outside the town of Hot Springs, the 4,629-foot Max Patch is crowned with more than 300 acres of airy alpine meadows. The view-laden summit is accessible via a number of approaches, including the Appalachian Trail, but the most direct route is the 2.6-mile loop beginning at the parking area on Max Patch Road (SR 1182).

 

3. Rock Climbing

Some crags are better in winter, including some of North Carolina’s premier routes, which are best tackled after autumn’s crisp chill arrives. Slopes too toasty in spring and summer become climbable. Rising dramatically above a thickly wooded expanse of the Pisgah National Forest, Looking Glass Rock, just a few miles outside Brevard, is one of the largest monoliths in the country, providing unparalleled climbing opportunities. The massive granite dome is best climbed in fall and winter. For bouldering aficionados, Looking Glass also has plenty of problems, primarily collected along the base of the North Side of the monolith, accessible along the North Side Trail.

Southeast of Asheville in Chimney Rock State Park, the southern cliffs of Rumbling Bald make for another ideal winter climb, and the Rumbling Bald Trail also meanders past three boulder fields loaded with nearly a thousand problems.

 

 

4. Canopy Tours

North Carolina’s stunning landscapes become even more spectacular when viewed from above, and for outdoor-lovers immune to frosty temperatures, canopy tours aren’t just limited to spring or summer. Soar above the snow-frosted landscape in the North Carolina High Country with the two-hour Snowbird Tour at Hawksnest outside the town of Banner Elk. Or get a bird’s eye view of southern Appalachia with a winter zipline adventure at Navitat or Treetops Adventure Park in Asheville.

5. Ice Climbing

North Carolina is one of only two states where Fox Mountain Guides offers ice-climbing.

During icy winters, the land of waterfalls becomes a frozen wonderland, making North Carolina of the best ice climbing destinations in the south. For novices, Fox Mountain Guides operates in Pisgah National Forest and offers expert-led trips. North Carolina is the only state aside from New Hampshire where the climbing school offers ice-scaling expeditions.

For experts, when wintery conditions prevail along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the ice-glazed bluffs and crags of Doughton Park (milepost 240), provide an abundance of climbing options, including tackling the rock ledges framing the iconic roadway (climbing is permitted when the parkway is closed to vehicles). In the Nantahala National Forest, just outside Cashiers, the soaring cliff faces of Whiteside Mountain appear glazed with ice year-round. However, when the cliffs truly are iced over, Whiteside is transformed into one of the East’s top destinations for unflappable, peak-bagging pros — with options like Starshine, an iconic 200-foot route.

6. Cross-Country Skiing

While snowy forecasts may keep drivers off roadways, predictions of wintery weather will have cross-country skiers chomping at the bit. When snow and ice render North Carolina’s most stunning roadway — the Blue Ridge Parkway — inaccessible for vehicles, the thoroughfare is transformed into an extensive Nordic track for cross-country skiers. The High Country section of the parkway skirting Grandfather Mountain between Blowing Rock and Linville is beloved by local Nordic enthusiasts. Near the parkway’s southern terminus, the stretch of roadway around Soco Gap can also become skiable, loaded with close-ups of the frosty peaks of the Great Smoky and Plott Balsam mountains. Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 292.7), the more than 20 miles of carriage-roads lacing the 3,500-acre Moses Cone Memorial Park morph into Nordic wonderland with a blanketing of snow.

7. Backpacking

The Appalachian Trail crosses the top of Max Patch Mountain, offering views of the Appalachian Mountains.
Jason A.G.

Winter camping makes for a singular outdoor adventure. Familiar landscapes can take on a different dimension—and present new challenges. Tackle a bite-sized thru hike in western North Carolina on the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail, rambling through the Shining Rock Wilderness and over some of the loftiest peaks in the Black Balsam mountains. The trail can be broken up into shorter sections for backpackers wanting to cut their teeth with a quick winter overnight.

For ambitious backcountry snow-bunnies, the Bartram Trail, named for 18th century naturalist William Bartram, winds through North Carolina and Georgia for 100-miles, mingling with the Appalachian Trail several times. The western North Carolina stretch rambles through pristine expanses of the Nantahala National Forest, culminating at the summit of 5,062-foot Cheoah Bald.

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Featured image provided by Adam Fagen

503 Coats for Eblen Charities

Even after 54 years, the spirit of the mountains we call home continues to amaze. We issued a challenge to collect 300 coats during our annual Bundle Up for Good coat drive for Eblen Charities. You helped us blow past that goal by donating 503 quality coats for those in our community who need them most, just as the lowest temperatures of winter hit.

During November and December, we joined with Frugal Backpacker and our customers to collect coats, hats, and gloves for the third year in row. Thanks for showing us the great things that can happen when we all join forces to strengthen our community!

We’re local and we like to support local groups doing awesome things to make our little corner of the world a better place. Call it civic pride or mountain spirit, but we think it’s the right thing to do. When you choose an independent, small business like ours, you not only enjoy a more personal experience, you’re helping build community, strengthen our local economy, create jobs, and shape Western North Carolina’s character. In 2017, we were able to support more than 60 organizations with over $70,000 in cash and in-kind donations.

If you didn’t get a chance to drop off any items, you can support Eblen Charities with a donation or as a volunteer.

Eblen Charities is a non-profit organization whose outreach extends throughout the counties of Western North Carolina and through its numerous programs has helped thousands upon thousand of families each year with medical and emergency assistance through more than 70 programs yearly throughout the region.

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Crew Picks: Top Gifts for Women

When she’s not hiking with her dog, Opie or living the hammock life, you’ll find DBO Crew Member Erin at our Downtown store. She loves gearing locals and visitors up for a day in the woods or a night on the town, and sharing her favorite places to get outdoors. Her advice for making the most out of the outdoors is simple: “Always be prepared, engage with nature while respecting it, and remember to have fun!” Below are her favorite gifts for adventure-minded women.

Farm to Feet Socks$18.00 – $26.00

US raised merino wool socks keep your feet temperature-regulated and comfortable beneath both casual and technical shoes.

Suncloud Motorway Sunglasses$59.99

With a vintage look and polarized lenses, you’ll stay on trend and keep your eyes safe from harmful UV rays.

Black Diamond Iota Headlamp$39.95

he Iota Headlamp emits 150 lumens on its max setting with a rechargeable battery. It’s perfect for anything from early morning trail runs to night-time camp-outs.

Patagonia Re-Tool Headband $25.00

51% recycled polyester fleece helps hair stay out of your vision while keeping ears and forehead warm. It’s great to have a cute winter accessory that’s also environmentally responsible!

Kavu Rope Bag$50.00

With fun patterns and practical pockets, the Rope Pack makes a great accessory for casual hikes or shopping downtown.

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Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

Intro

 “Come Ski the Wolf.” Wolf Ridge Resort offers this enticing invitation. How could a skier or snowboarder turn down an invitation that sounds so cool? The greatest thing about coming on up to Ski the Wolf? It only involves a 35 minute scenic drive from Asheville!

What Makes It Great

Wolf Ridge Resorts stands five miles off of I-26 on a scenic highway. The Wolf is a favorite of locals looking for a quick trip to the ski slopes. The Wolf operates on 62 acres of enjoyable ski terrain that is covered in an average of 60-80 inches of snow per year. Skiers and snowboarders will enjoy Wolf Ridge’s recent terrain makeover which includes updates to the park and widened trails which provide better access to the lodge. Wolf Ridge’s Lower Lodge serves as a full service ski station for visitors, offering tickets, rental equipment, dining, and a gift shop. Wolf Ridge Resort has a variety of year-round accommodations available that provide a wonderful base camp.

Wolf Ridge is a family oriented resort. They help “share the stoke” with kids and beginners through their PSIA/AASI accredited Snow Sports School and their “magic carpet” serviced tube run.

  • Number if Slopes: 15
  • 40% Beginner
  • 40% Intermediate
  • 20% Advanced
  • Annual snow average 60-80 inches
  • Annual snow record: 148 inches

Download the Wolf Ridge Trail Map for an in-depth look at their terrain.

Who is Going to Love It

While it’s a primarily geared towards beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, there are also deals for everyone!

  • 2 For Tuesday: Buy 1 Lift Ticket, Get 1 Free
  • Women’s Wednesday: ½ price lift tickets for all ladies
  • Thursday College Night: $15 lift tickets with student ID
  • Active Military: $15 off lift tickets with ID

Wolf Ridge is also open for night skiing.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Wolf Ridge is the closest ski resort to downtown Asheville. A 35 minute scenic drive up I-26 will bring you to the base of Wolf Ridge Resort.

Tickets are reasonably priced and start at $40 for adults. Visit Wolf Ridge’s website to purchase lift tickets in advance.

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Featured image provided by Photo Courtesy of Wolf Ridge Resort

Events

Asheville Outdoor Show 2018

Stay tuned for BIG changes to this one-of-a-kind community driven event celebrating all things outdoors! There will still be plenty of local gear makers and national innovators showcasing the latest trends in outdoor recreation, but you’ll find far more diverse offerings of interactive demos, educational workshops, and informative speakers.

Check out pictures from last year!

RSVP ON FACEBOOK

Kids are welcome at this free public event. There’s even an awesome Family Adventure Zone!

Campapalooza 2018

The Gist
Spring camping season gets an early start with a preview of 2018’s best reviewed gear from international innovators as well as local favorites. Free hourly workshops on topics from festival camping to choosing the right backpack for a thru hike to getting started to hiking are joined by giveaways and the presentation of grants to local environmental nonprofits.

RSVP on Facebook

Who’s Going to Be There

  • Adventure Medical
  • Buff
  • Chaco
  • CLIF Bar
  • Columbia
  • Deuter
  • Exped
  • Good To-Go Gourmet
  • Gregory
  • Hydropack
  • KEEN
  • Know Allergies
  • La Sportiva
  • Leki
  • Lole
  • Marmot
  • Mountain Khakis
  • MSR
  • Mystery Ranch
  • Nemo Equipment
  • Oboz
  • Osprey
  • Pack Towel
  • Platypus
  • Salewa
  • Seal Line
  • Sherpa Adventure Gear
  • Smartwool
  • Snow Peak
  • Stanley
  • Sylvansport
  • The Landmark Project
  • Thermarest
  • Travel Chair
  • Vasque
  • Western Mountaineering

Hikes, Workshops, Trail Runs, and More

  • Announced soon!

Discounts, Special Buys, Giveaways, + Raffles

  • Announced soon!

Why We’re Doing It
In 1964, we opened the first outdoor gear shop in Western North Carolina: a 900 sq. ft. garage full of factory seconds. Over the years, Diamond Brand Outdoors has grown to include much more than camping products, but our dedication to quality brands, high service, and community partnership continues to echo through our retail stores. You’ve been great friends and neighbors, voting us Best of the Blue Ridge and Best of WNC multiple times and making us the first stop for adventure for generations.

The best part: the fun, discounts, and education are free and open to the public. There’s no membership required! Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome.

American Red Cross Blood Drive

We’ve joined with the American Red Cross to host a St. Patrick’s Day blood drive. This is a great opportunity for your hiking or trail run club, workplace, or friends. Everyone who donates will receive 20% off any item at Diamond Brand Outdoors.

You can schedule an appointment online. Just click here and use the code DIAMOND to find our local blood drive.

You don’t need a special reason to give blood. You just need your own reason.

  • Some give blood because they were asked by a friend.
  • Some know that a family member or a friend might need blood some day.
  • Some believe it is the right thing we do.

Whatever your reason, the need is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable blood supply. And  you’ll feel good knowing you’ve helped change a life.

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State of Paddling 2018

Every year, more and more paddlers are discovering the ease and fun of hitting the water. Increased interest has led to innovation in technology, materials, and mindset within the kayaking world.

Join industry leader Steve Jordan from Liquidlogic Kayaks, Native Watercraft, and Hurricane Kayaks to hear trends and predictions for 2018 in whitewater, recreational, and fishing kayaks. There will be ample time for Q and A, as well as a chance to check out 2018’s new fleet of kayaks and chat with our paddling experts.

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Kids and well-behaved pets are welcome at this free presentation. Enjoy complimentary coffee, juice, and bagels, too!