Posts

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.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Featured image provided by Photo Courtesy of Wolf Ridge Resort

7 Great Disc Golf Courses Near Asheville

Asheville continues to rank high on travel lists for outstanding food, beer, and popular outdoor activities such as hiking and biking, but hidden behind all of the hype are some of the best disc golf courses in the North Carolina. The goal of disc golf is the same as traditional golf: get the disc from the tee to the hole in the fewest strokes possible; however, instead of clubs, balls, and a decent chunk of cash, all you need is your arm and a disc to have a good time. Check out this list of the Asheville area’s top disc golf courses, all within a half hour drive or less.

Western North Carolina’s subtropical climate and moderate seasonality, these courses are accessible during most of the year. Barren trees may allow a better view of cages in the winter, but make sure you’re always prepared for the trail with the proper footwear. Stop by any Diamond Brand Outdoors location for a large selection of KEEN hiking shoes, boots, and sandals to ensure your time on the course is as enjoyable as possible.

Richmond Hill Disc Golf Course

Richmond Hill Disc Golf Course is an 18-hole course working its way through Richmond Hill Park just north of downtown Asheville. The course is hilly and heavily wooded (watch out for poison oak and poison ivy), making it one of the most challenging place to play in the country. However, it is one of the closer courses to downtown and has a dedicated community of golfers.

280 Richmond Hill Dr, Asheville, NC 28806

Black Mountain Disc Golf Course

Black Mountain Disc Golf Course is an 18-hole course just outside of this beautiful mountain village in Veterans Park. The course has short — yet difficult — holes that wind their way through moderate hills with scattered trees. Despite the difficulty of the course, it is one worth making a trip to for its beauty and the views of the surrounding area.

10 Veterans Park Dr, Black Mountain, NC 28711

Waynesville Disc Golf Course

Waynesville Disc Golf Course sits just outside of downtown Canton at the Waynesville Recreation Center. For the most part, it’s a wide open course comprised of long tee throws and beautiful views of the nearby mountains. A course map can be found in the recreation center office and main kiosk.

550 Vance St, Waynesville, NC 28786

Crookston Disc Golf Course

Crookston Golf Course is an incredibly accessible and flat 9-hole course in Fletcher Community Park for those days when you want to play a quick round after work or just don’t feel like walking a hilly course. Crookston is also a very good place for the beginner due to its numerous open and straightforward holes. Keep in mind, though, this is a flat course and it can often be a bit marshy after heavy rains.

85 Howard Gap Rd, Fletcher, NC 28732

Lake Julian Disc Golf Course

Lake Julian Disc Golf Course lies along the shores of South Asheville’s Lake Julian and now hosts a full 18-hole course following its August 2017 expansion. This course is relatively flat compared to the other courses in the area and has everything from water-front holes to holes that weave their way through the woods (again…watch out for poison oak and poison ivy).

406 Overlook Road Ext, Arden, NC 28704

UNCA Disc Golf Course

UNC Asheville has established a 6-hole disc golf course for both students and the community to test out. The course is primarily hilly and wooded with a few holes in the open. Due to the course’s location on UNCA’s property and its limited holes, it is very accessible and a doesn’t take too much time to walk!

2500 University Heights, Asheville, NC 28804

Sandhill Nature Trail Disc Golf Course

Sandhill Disc Golf Course is part of Buncombe County Sports Park and hosts a full 18-holes that make their way through a hilly and wooded area. This course is not far from downtown and incredibly accessible due to Buncombe County Sports Park’s parking and facilities. However, remember to throw wisely because this park has so many facilities and there will be other people around.

58 Apac Dr, Candler, NC 28715

Whether you’ve never stepped on a disc golf course or you’re a seasoned professional, we hope that this short list of our favorite courses here at Frugal show you more of what Asheville has to offer and, ultimately, allow you Adventure is Local to spend less, and play more!

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Featured images provided by KEEN, Official Sponsor of Your Next Adventure.

Lake Julian image courtesy of The Night Canopy.

Lake Julian Festival of Lights

Time spent with family creating lasting memories is what the holiday season is all about. Lake Julian’s 17th annual Festival of Lights is a local favorite with games, crafts, s’mores, and an impressive collections of 50 animated light displays. Drive through tickets are $10 per passenger vehicle at the gate, but stop in any Diamond Brand Outdoors location or Frugal Backpacker to purchase advance tickets for just $7 per vehicle (excludes large vans, motor coaches, and buses). The park is open nightly from 6:00-9:00 p.m. through December 23.

Your ticket purchase also helps the community. 20% of proceeds are donated to Buncombe County Special Olympics, while the remaining income is reinvested by Buncombe County Recreation Services to enhance the Festival of Lights for the following year. Be sure to add this magical journey to your holiday bucket list. Watch the lights twinkle over the lake and turn on your favorite yuletide tunes!

More about Lake Julian (from Romantic Asheville)
Lake Julian Park is a family recreational facility located on the banks of 300 acre Lake Julian in Arden. The park offers picnicking, boating, fishing, a playground, outdoor games, and special events. Lake Julian has an abundance of bass, catfish, brim, crappie, and imported Tilapia. Because Lake Julian is used as a cooling agent for Progress Energy the lake is “thermal.” Some of the best fishing occurs from October through March. Six picnic shelters are available for rent at Lake Julian Park. In addition to the shelters, many tables and grills are available at no charge on a first-come first-served basis.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feature image provided by Buncombe County Recreation Services

Friendsgiving Coupons

The holidays are all about showing more love to friends and family (and even people you don’t know). We’re getting into the spirit by giving our friends — that’s you — early access to Thanksgiving savings. Through November 22, save 30% on apparel, footwear, and gear items of your choice. Just swing by and show us the coupons below.

If you’d like to receive special offers like these by email, just sign up for our newsletter. You can also score 20% off any item when you donate a gently-used coat before December 24.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

One category discount per customer (men’s clothing, women’s clothing, pack or sleeping bag, and footwear). Coupons may not be combined with any other offers. Valid on regular priced items only and some exclusions may apply. No rainchecks. Patagonia and Kuhl discounted a maximum of 20% off MSRP. Socks and footwear accessories excluded.

Big Creek Campground

Intro

When we take the time to relax beside the roaring waters of an Appalachian stream, something incredible happens to our psyche. The roaring thunder of the water drowns out all the worries and doubts you carried from “real life.” The continual flow of a mountain stream ignites an innate sense of oneness with our surroundings and reminds us that time marches on.

What Makes It Great

On the Northern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a stream rambles in perpetuity from the balsam covered mountains above until reaching its confluence with the mighty Pigeon River below. The headwaters of this stream are born from some of the highest peaks in the park: Mt. Sterling, Big Cataloochee and Mt. Guyot. As the tributary waters rush down these steep slopes, they are purified by the lush flora of the Smokies before combining their efforts into what is known as Big Creek.

The Big Creek Campground is peacefully located right beside the cool, rushing waters of Big Creek. A total of 12 spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground has easily-accessible and well-maintained restrooms that also provide drinking water. All of the sites at Big Creek Campground are considered walk-in, meaning you will have to leave your car in the parking lot and walk a short distance to a tent-only campsite. Each site is conveniently outfitted with a leveled tent pad, charcoal grill, and picnic table. The sites are strikingly beautiful and surprisingly serene considering Big Creek’s popularity.

The true beauty of the Big Creek Campground lies in its location. From the campground parking lot, visitors have easy access to one of the area’s most popular swimming destinations, Midnight Hole, via a 1.5-mile hike up the gently graded Big Creek Trail. Baxter Creek Trail also starts from the parking area and leads to stunning views from the fire tower atop Mt.Sterling. Also within striking distance from the campground is the Chestnut Branch Trail which climbs to the famous lookout tower atop Mt. Cammerer. The bold can take their kayaks down Big Creek and families can enjoy a guided rafting trip on the nearby Pigeon River.

Who is Going to Love It

Adventurers love the location of Big Creek’s Campground for its access to hiking, fishing, and flowing whitewater. However, you don’t have to embark on an epic adventure to enjoy the serenity of this area. Families love the placid picnic settings and creekside accommodations the campground has to offer.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To reach the Big Creek Campground from Asheville, travel west on Interstate 40 to the North Carolina/Tennessee state line and take the exit 451 for Waterville. Take a left and cross over the Pigeon River via a bridge shared by the Appalachian Trail. Continue on this road until you reach a four-way stop. Go straight through this intersection and follow the signs for Big Creek Campground. Big Creek Ranger Station is located a quarter of a mile past this intersection on the right. Stop here to get more information on the area and a detailed map for a requested $1 donation.

Continue up the road for 1 mile until you reach the parking lot for the Big Creek Campground.

The Campground is open May-October and sites are $14 per night.

Featured image provided by Patrick Mueller

Hiking Max Patch

Intro

The Appalachian Trail follows the crest of the Appalachians along the North Carolina and Tennessee state line. In between the soaring mountains of the Great Smokies and the rolling hills of Hot Springs, the AT passes over the grassy bald known as Max Patch. The man-made meadow on top of the mountain was once home to large herds of grazing cattle. Today, the luscious green summit is home to one of the most acclaimed view-points in the Southeast and the herds have switched from bovine beasts to outdoor enthusiasts. A variety of trails can be used to access Max Patch. The most popular and pedestrian of the choices leads hikers to the grassy summit on a short, half -mile climb to the top.

What Makes It Great

At 4,600 feet, Max Patch is not a particularly high mountain, yet the views from the top are highly acclaimed. The view’s infamy comes from its grass covered summit stage, which offers long range views in every direction. The view is framed to the southwest by the northern giants of the National Park: Mt. Guyot, Mt. Sterling and Big Cataloochee. The Plott and Great Balsam Ranges paint the southeastern skyline while the towering crest of the Black Mountains stands guard to the east and the Roans to the north. The Patch is surrounded by picturesque rolling hills and mountains leading up to these mighty ridge lines in three directions. To the west, however, an uninterrupted view over the lush expanse of Tennessee allows for a famously stunning sunset view.

Several trail options line the sides and summit of Max Path. From the parking lot, visitors can take the direct route to the summit for a 1-mile round trip or the 2.4 miles loop which circumnavigates The PatchThose looking for a prolonged jaunt through the woods can follow the AT north or south as far as their hearts desire.

Who is Going to Love It

Photographers will find life-list photo opportunities atop Max Patch thanks to its ideal location on the western edge of the Appalachians. Bring your tripod along and set up for spectacular stellar and sunset shots. (Looking for more photogenic landscapes?) Romantics can take full advantage of Max Patch’s beauty by packing a blanket and picnic lunch to the easy access summit. Cap off your romantic evening as you return towards Asheville by taking a dip in the dreamy waters of nearby Hot Springs Resort. Anglers, bring your gear and cast a line in the Forest Service pond just past the parking area. The brave even venture to The Patch in winter for skiing and sledding amongst the sublime scenery.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

A trio of route options leads to Max Patch from Asheville. If you choose to tackle these routes in winter, come prepared with an emergency kit and snow-worthy vehicle. There is no access fee for the trailhead. Camping is allowed in nearby areas, but is prohibited on the summit itself. Venture just past the summit for the prime locations. Bring your fury friend along for this outing: the area is dog friendly and they will thoroughly enjoy the grassy summit!

Featured image provided by Jake Wheeler

What You Need to Know About Attending the Asheville Outdoor Show

The Asheville Outdoor Show makes its annual appearance on September 17 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Salvage Station. Since we’re at a new spot, we figured you might have some questions. We’ve got answers.

Location

Salvage Station is located at 466 Riverside Drive in Asheville’s River Arts District, in between Downtown and West Asheville.

Parking

There is limited parking at Salvage Station. PLEASE plan to carpool, bike, walk, or take an Uber or Lyft.

Who To Expect

We’ve invited a mix of local gear makers, national innovators, and nonprofit organizations. Check out the full list!

Family Friendly

Bring the kids to the KEEN Family Adventure Zone for face painting, sidewalk chalk, and Camp Cedar Cliff‘s AH-MAZIN’ Climbing Wall.

Giveaways + Raffle

The first 1,000 folks through the door will receive exclusive discounts at Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker including a $10 gear card to each store! Other booths will have stickers, keychains, and other fine schwag to collect. Everyone will have a shot at winning a handsome reward in the form of our raffle packages.

Contests

Stop by the Asheville Trails and Trailful tents for your shot at taking the top spot in a contest to pack a backpack the quickest. Marmot will also have contests that test your speed when it comes to pitching a tent and getting in and out of a sleeping bag.

Food and Drink

The venue has a full menu featuring eclectic Southern and Appalachian inspired choices and food trucks, as well as a full bar. Outside food and drink is not allowed.

Music

Local legends The Blue Dragons will be bringing positive vibes to the Osprey Outdoor Stage throughout the day.

Yoga

prAna is hosting 20-minute riverside yoga sessions at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30. Just bring your own mat!

Pets

From Salvage Station’s website: “Service animals only. We have a large number of natural wildlife animals around our site that we are trying to be respectful of in the coming years. Also, we plan to have several high volume events that would not be conducive to having large groups of animals here. We apologize for the inconvenience in advance.”

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

10 Family-Friendly Summer Adventures Around Asheville

Summer days are long and should be filled from sunup to sundown with adventures and enriching outdoor activities. Now is the season for children to get their hands dirty, to chase frogs and climb trees, to hear songbirds and eat freshly picked berries. Asheville and the surrounding mountains are brimming with family-friendly summer adventures that will keep the little ones engaged, entertained, and asking for more. Here are our top 10 picks for an active excursions filled with rivers, sunshine, and delight.

1. Explore the Botanical Gardens

With free admission, plenty of parking, and stroller-friendly trails, Asheville Botanical Gardens may be the easiest and most convenient way to introduce your children to the beauty and diversity of Asheville’s great outdoors. The gardens include over 600 species of trees, wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and sedges that are native to the Southern Appalachian mountains, including many that are rare and endangered. Guided tours are available or simply let the little ones splash in the creeks, dash through the meadows and explore the wildflower coves.

2. Go Star Gazing

Explore the night sky with the help of Star Watch Night Vision Tours.
Explore the night sky.
Christian Reusch

Here’s a compelling reason to keep the kids up past their bedtime. Plan a family stargazing session and prepare for one of the most memorable evenings of the summer. Getting started is easy and inexpensive.

3. Fly Through the Trees

Asheville Treetops Adventure Park offers kids off-the-ground thrills.
Asheville Treetops Adventure Park offers kids off-the-ground thrills.
Loco Ropes

Climb, jump, swing, fly, and rappel through the woods at Asheville Treetops Adventure Park, a wild and elaborate outdoor jungle gym just five minutes outside of town. Where else could you kayak through the canopy or snowboard through the sky? The park features five separate adventures trails, each with their own set of obstacles that will appeal to a wide variety of ages, experiences and comfort levels. Kids are guaranteed to have a blast and discover the adventurous side of physical fitness, all the while being kept safe and secure with the latest “smart belay” technology. This will be one of the most fun and active afternoons you’ll have all summer — just don’t be surprised when they ask to go back the next day.

4. Meet the Butterflies

The Hop'n Blueberry Farm features a butterfly house that kids love.
The Hop’n Blueberry Farm features a butterfly house that kids love.
Nick Page

The Hop’n Blueberry Farm  is a water-and-sun powered sustainable family farm located outside of Black Mountain, North Carolina. The farm’s unique array of specialties range from medicinal herbs and hops to butterflies and blueberries. Take a hands-on tour of this innovative Blue Ridge establishment, which dates back for seven generations, and learn about sustainability, permaculture, and pollination. Children will love the butterfly house, where you can reach out and have a friendly monarch land on your hand. During the summer months, you can observe every stage of these beautiful creature’s lives: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult. You can even purchase all things butterfly to bring home, including nets, butterfly grow kids and plant seeds.

5. Beat the Heat at Splashville

Splashville is a great way to beat the heat in downtown Asheville.
Splashville is a great way to beat the heat in downtown Asheville.
StacyVann

Splashville, a brand new interactive water fountain in Pack Square, is by far the coolest way to beat the heat in downtown Asheville. Children never seem to tire of chasing the jets of water that leap out of a tiled surface in this bustling and historical section of the city. Their shrieks and laughter mingles with live music of street performers and the chatter of shoppers, museum-goers and patrons dining outside of the many restaurants that surround the square. For an extra-special summer afternoon, treat the kids to an ice cream from nearby French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

6. Slide down Sliding Rock

Kids and adults will both be thrilled by this 60-foot natural waterslide.
Kids and adults will both be thrilled by this 60-foot natural waterslide.
William Whyte

Sliding Rock is a popular natural water park located 8 miles outside of Brevard, North Carolina. Children of all ages love the thrill of this exhilarating summer adventure, which includes lifeguard supervision during the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day. After you slide down a 60 foot face of smooth, steep rock, fueled by 11,000 gallons of water, and land with a splash in a deep, icy pool at the bottom, you’ll only have one thought: “I have to do that again!”

7. Visit the WNC Nature Center

This 42-acre wildlife park has plenty of critters and interactive exhibits to enjoy.
This 42-acre wildlife park has plenty of critters and interactive exhibits to enjoy.
anoldent

This 42-acre wildlife park and sanctuary is home to more than 60 native species of animals, including bobcats, black bear, red wolves and cougars. The Western North Carolina Nature Center provides a refuge for animals that have been imprinted, injured, orphaned, or otherwise rendered unable to survive on their own. Children of all ages will enjoy the interactive exhibits, such as touching reptiles, identifying songbirds, and observing the animals’ daily feeding. A highlight of your visit will be Otter Falls, a newly designed collection of pools and waterfalls chock-full of curious, playful river otters.

8. Have an Orchard Adventure

The Appalachian Heritage Center features live music, barn dances, mountain art and other cultural programs in addition to apple picking.
The Appalachian Heritage Center features live music, barn dances, mountain art and other cultural programs in addition to apple picking.
jchapiewsky

If you’re looking to take the family on a daytrip, The Orchard at Altapass  should be on the top of your list. Located 55 miles north of Asheville off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this 105 year old orchard has been converted into an Appalachian Heritage Center, and features live music, barn dances, mountain art and other cultural programs in addition to apple picking. Children can listen to stories of the land’s remarkable history as they enjoy an orchard wagon ride, play an old fashioned game of checkers in the kids corner, hike on the nature trails, or participate in any number of hands-on art programs. Take home a jar of local jam to remember your idyllic day in the countryside.

9. Go Whitewater Rafting

The Nantahala Outdoors Center is the longest continually operated outfitter on the French Broad River.
The Nantahala Outdoors Center is the longest continually operated outfitter on the French Broad River.
Donald Judge

The French Broad River — the third oldest river in the world — is the perfect place to introduce your children to the world of whitewater rafting. A river trip is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the outdoors on a hot summer day. The Nantahala Outdoors Center is the longest continually operated outfitter on the French Broad, and will provide your family with a safe and thrilling day of class II and III rapids while keeping you entertained with stories of the river’s dynamic history. The full-day trip even includes a plunge down a class VI drop, something your family will be telling stories about for years. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as kingfishers, bald eagles, and even black bears as you glide through a remote section of the Pisgah National Forest.

10. Go For a Hike

The Pink Beds Loop Hike is about 5 miles in total, mostly flat, and surrounded by water,
The Pink Beds Loop Hike is about 5 miles in total, mostly flat, and surrounded by water,
Bad Kleinkirchheim

Pink Beds Loop Hike is a great trail for sturdy young adventurers who already have a bit of experience on nature trails. The hike is 5 miles in total, but mostly flat and surrounded by water, including creeks to cross, streams to splash in, mountain bogs to explore and beaver dams to observe. A series of bridges, boardwalks and foot-logs keep the hike fun and dynamic, and an optional waterfall offers an additional reward. The abundance of pristine water and bogland creates a rich habitat for aquatic species and endangered plants, so keep a sharp eye out for critters.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Originally written by RootsRated.

Featured image provided by Jessica Reeder

Top 5 Swimming Holes Near Asheville

The West coast may have hot springs and glacier-fed lakes, but here in the sultry Southeast we have our swimming holes — and we’re damn proud of them. Just listen to the Top 40 Country Countdown: people are always jumping into water, fishing in the holler, lying by the creek, and getting into trouble down by the river. A summer spent fully immersed in mountain-fed pools would be a fine summer indeed. Here are five of the coolest and coldest swimming holes within two hours of Asheville.

1. Sliding Rock

Jenn Deane

Just eight miles outside of Brevard, Sliding Rock  is Mother Nature’s answer to the slip n’ slide. You will shoot sixty feet down a perfectly smooth rock face, fueled by more than 11,000 gallons of cascading water, into a pool that is six feet deep and shockingly cold. This could be the perfect conclusion to a long day of mountain biking in the Pisgah National Forest.

As one might expect, this natural water park is extremely popular during the scorching Appalachian summers. A lifeguard is on duty between Memorial Day and Labor day, between the hours of 10am-6pm. If big crowds and long lines are not your cup of sweet iced tea, then make sure to visit Sliding Rock outside of these hours.

There is a $2 charge during lifeguard hours; bathrooms and showers available onsite.

2. Skinny Dip Falls

Jenn Deane

This may come as a disappointment for some and a relief to others, but Skinny Dip Falls is not actually a clothing-optional swimming hole. This rugged and serene pool is located at the headwaters of the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River. Waterfalls, jumping-off rocks, a deep plunge pool, and shallow areas for wading make it a very popular swimming spot. If you’re determined to go au naturel , there are plenty of secluded spots to be found by exploring upstream.

Located just a half mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Mountains-to-Sea-Trail, Skinny Dip Falls is a great place to cool down after hiking in nearby Graveyard Fields, Black Balsam Knob, or the Shining Rock Wilderness.

A blazed spur trailhead is located at Milepost 417 near the Looking Glass Rock Overlook. 

3. Compression/Twisted Falls

Ry Glover

Some of the best cliff jumping in the Southeast can be found in Cherokee National Forest, not quite two hours outside of Asheville. A series of curving back roads and a steep, mile-long hike will lead you to the base of Compression Falls—also known as Twisted or Twisting Falls—a 40 foot curtain of cascading water on the beautiful Elk River.

Although this area is becoming increasingly popular, its remote setting and steep access trail keeps the massive summer crowds at bay. A wide pool beneath the falls is ideal for swimming and sun bathing, and there are plenty of cliffs and jumping rocks to keep you entertained. Thrill seekers can find quite the adrenaline rush (not to mention photo op) by sliding directly over the falls into the pool. (While lots of people do this, be aware that any time you willingly or unwillingly plunge off of a waterfall, you are risking bodily harm. There have been a few unfortunate incidents of severe injuries resulting from people going over the falls.)

Your best landmark is Elk Mills Store on Route 321 in Elk Mills, TN. Find a map here

4. Hooker Falls

DuPont State Forest's Hooker Falls
DuPont State Forest’s Hooker Falls
mrnoy9n

DuPont State Forest is a complete, all-in-one summertime destination. Hikers and mountain bikers will enjoy over one hundred miles of multi-use trails, including the sweet, soaring downhill of Ridgeline Trail, the exposed, sun-beaten Slick-Rock Trail, and the many spectacular waterfalls for which the forest is best known. No day of exploration is complete in this natural playground without taking a dip in the pool beneath Hooker Falls — the only waterfall in DuPont that is safe for swimming.

Explore the misty chasm behind the pounding veil of the fall, plunge off the rope swing, or float in the languid downstream waters. Because the pool is part of Cascade Lake, there is no current or downstream waterfalls to watch out for. Hooker Falls are a mere quarter mile from the parking lot, so bring a floaty, a cooler, and stay ’til your waterlogged.

Park in the Hooker Falls Parking Area. Port-a-johns available in the parking lot. The forest closes at 10pm. 

5. Midnight Hole

Melina Coogan

The mountain-chilled, emerald water of Midnight Hole provides a refreshing oasis from the oppressive humidity of a Carolina Summer. This swimming hole, studded with jump rocks and fed by a small waterfall, is one of the many natural treasures you can find hidden away in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is located on Big Creek on the Carolina/Tennessee State line, after an easy 1.4 mile hike on the Big Creek Trail.

Park at the Big Creek Campground Parking Lot.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Originally written by RootsRated.

Featured image provided by Melina Coogan

Mt. Pisgah Campground

Intro

Mt. Pisgah Campground is located high atop the Pisgah Ledge at Flat Laurel Gap off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Centered amongst the wonders of the Pisgah National Forest, at an elevation of 5,000’, the Mt. Pisgah campground is ideally located for a ridgeline retreat. This mountain top campground is home to 70 tent and 70 RV sites, restroom and shower facilities, as well as several handicap accessible sites. Pack up all the luxuries car camping affords and reserve a spot in the heavenly confines of Mt. Pisgah Campground for your next adventure vacation!

What Makes It Great

The true beauty of this campground lies in its unique location along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A 20 mile drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway takes visitors high atop the prominent Pisgah Ledge on its way from Asheville to the Mt. Pisgah campground. The campground is nestled amongst some of the finest outdoor recreational opportunities around. With little more than a short drive campers have access to the Big East Fork and Black Balsam trailheads, Mt. Pisgah, Looking Glass and Sliding Rock as well as the famous mountain biking trails of the Pisgah National Forest! An elevation of 5,000’ ensure cool summertime temperatures! The campground also has access to a picnic area and nature trails that leave directly from the grounds.

The world famous Pisgah Inn sits directly across the parkway and gives visitors unique access to the finer things in life as they camp in the wilderness. The dining room at the Pisgah Inn is lined with glass and overlooks the pristine Pisgah National Forest below. A delicious array of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner items are served to patrons as they enjoy the finest view available from a dining room table! The Pisgah Inn also offers a Country Store, for those last minute camping supplies, and access to laundry facilities to refresh your wardrobe on prolonged outings.

Who is Going to Love It

The Mt. Pisgah campground and its surroundings amenities combine to form an outdoor oasis that “glamping” dreams are made of! Take advantage of the drive-up campsites by bringing your luxury list of camping items! Venture out on an epic Pisgah adventure during the day then return to camp for a shower. Next, cap off your epic day with a beverage and the delicious fare at the neighboring Pisgah Inn; camping never tasted so good.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The Mt. Pisgah Campground is located at milepost 408 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Gather your gear at Diamond Brand Outdoors, conveniently located right beside the Parkway!

Sites range from $16-$19 and the campground is open spring through fall.

Check Recreation.gov for more details on availability and reservations. For more information on the campground’s rules and regulations and a detailed map of the grounds click here.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Featured image provided by Steven Reinhold

Events

Spirit of the Holidays Celebration

December in Western North Carolina can swing from snowy and cold to sunny and warm from year to year (or week to week). However, the spirit of our community — which shines brightly throughout the year — is always on display during this special time. We’re celebrating this positive spirit with a day of joy and cheer at our flagship store in South Asheville’s Parkway Center.

What to expect?

Be sure to arrive on time for these fun experiences!

  • 11:00-12:00 — Winter Hiking + Camping Workshop with Graham
  • 11:00-2:00 — Ornament Making with LEAF Easel Rider Mobile Arts Lab
  • 1:00 — Ugly Sweater Pageant
  • 2:00-4:00 — Kids’ Clif Bar Decorating Party

Special Buys + Deals

  • 20% OFF The North Face clothing, hats, + gloves
  • 30% OFF ENO hammock accessories, speakers, + lights
  • 25% OFF Stanley cups, mugs, + coolers
  • 30% OFF select Nemo sleeping bags
  • 50% OFF all ornaments
  • 30% OFF all vendor samples
  • Up to $50 OFF Osprey packs
  • 50% OFF Grand Trunk travel gear
  • Buy 2 Sili Pints, Get 1 FREE
  • $10 OFF Flyshacker pajama bottoms
  • Buy 2 Pairs of Echoview Fiber Mills alpaca wool socks, Get 2 FREE
  • 25% OFF Marmot tents
  • 40% OFF North River Outditters shirts + fleece
  • Buy 3 Pairs of Socks, Get 1 Pair FREE (excludes Pudu + Socksmith)
  • Buy One Hydro Flask tumbler, Get Another for 60% OFF
  • 20% OFF an item with coat donation
  • $25 for White Sierra Cozy Blanket (was $40) — a great stocking stuffer

RSVP on Facebook

Bring your friends, family, kids, and four-legged friends!