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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

Paddling the Pigeon River

Primarily a popular whitewater rafting destination, the Pigeon River is a dam controlled river that winds its way through North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee before emptying into the French Broad River.

What Makes It Great

Situated along the Smoky Mountains, the Pigeon River provides beautiful views as you make your way. Paddlers along the Upper Pigeon will brag about the famous whitewater encountered — Roller Coaster, Powerhouse, Lost Guide, and many more that will keep your energy high and your skills tested. The Lower Pigeon provides a much better experience for the paddler wanting to become more comfortable with intermediate whitewater, with many calm sections and rapids from class II/III.The Pigeon River has impressively overcome quite a bit of environmental damage over the last two decades. It used to be an extremely polluted waterway with rapidly decreasing biodiversity, but now it has healthy fish populations (which anglers take advantage of) and a growing recreational presence.

Who is Going to Love It

For thrill seekers and more experience paddlers, you’ll want to choose the Upper section of the Pigeon because it has a lot of fun play spots and about five miles of Class II-III+ rapids. For novice paddlers or those simply looking to soak up the scenery, the Lower section of the Pigeon provides four miles of family friendly flat water where swimming is encouraged.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Public access along the river is primarily limited to bridge crossings and small pull-offs along the roads paralleling the river. There are a few primitive launching areas for canoes and other small boats.For the Upper Pigeon- Parking can be found by taking I-40 to exit 451, taking the bridge and turning up river. Take Waterville Road and you will see a parking area/put it. More information can be found here. For the Lower Pigeon, head towards Hartford, and park at any of the put-ins near the rafting outfitters.

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Featured image provided by Jared

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

2018’s Best Outdoor Company

Thank you! Diamond Brand Outdoors has been named Best Outdoor Company in Blue Ridge Outdoors’ annual roundup of readers’ favorite places, people, events, businesses, and organizations from Maryland to Alabama. We’re excited to be recognized by the definitive magazine covering outdoor sports, health, and adventure travel in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Here’s what the magazine’s Jess Daddio had to say:

“What started in 1964 as a simple 900-square-foot glorified garage has now expanded into more than just a brick-and-mortar retail space. Diamond Brand helps its customers not only gear up for their adventures but also learn how to recreate safely in the outdoors through regular clinics and the annual Asheville Outdoor Show.”

While it’s always great when our team gets recognized, the Best of the Blue Ridge is special because it’s recognition that comes from the public. We know you have a choice and we’re honored you continue to choose Diamond Brand Outdoors, WNC’s first and original outdoor lifestyle outfitter.

Independent and locally owned since 1964, our team specializes in high-quality clothing and gear for travel, hiking, backpacking, camping, kayaking, and everyday life. We pride ourselves in hiring knowledgeable enthusiasts, who love the outdoor lifestyle and head outdoors whenever we get the chance including AT thru-hikers, class V+ kayakers, and world travelers. Whether you’re getting fit for a new pack and hiking boots for a bucket list adventure or just need a comfortable outfit for exploring downtown Asheville, you’re in good hands.

We hope to see all of you in 2018 at one of our clinics, demos, events, or just around the store!

Check out all of the Best of the Blue Ridge winners.

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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

Elk Knob State Park

The nearly 3,500 wild acres of Elk Knob State Park, which includes the second highest peak in Watauga County, was nearly lost to developers in the early part of the 21st century. The area was being considered for the construction of a summer home community until a group of local landowners and concerned citizens, together with the efforts of The Nature Conservancy, purchased the land and deeded it to the North Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation.

Today, Elk Knob is one of North Carolina’s newest state parks, open year round for the enjoyment of hikers and naturalists who are drawn to its scenic beauty and unusual ecology. It lies within a small mountain range north of Boone known as the Amphibolite Mountains, named for their unique geological foundation. Amphibolite, a dark, crumbling metamorphic rock, disintegrates into a rich soil that plays host to rare plant species such as flame azalea, purple fringed orchid, and gray’s lily.

The soil is inhospitable to the type of heath shrubs that typically choke the ground floor of northern hardwood forests. In the absence of mountain laurel, blueberries, and rhododendron thickets, the forest feels wide open and expansive, a unique characteristic for the peaks of Appalachia. Rosy bells, trillium, starflower, and jewelweed carpet the ground in vivid hues during the spring and summer. You may find yourself breathing more deeply than you have in months.

Although there are some decidedly steep and strenuous sections en route to the summit of Elk Knob — the longest of the three trails currently constructed throughout the park tops out just shy of four miles round-trip — it’s generally a nicely switchbacked and straightforward route for most hikers. A gently rolling one-mile loop encircles the picnic area. Moderate trail lengths make the park a popular destination for families, trail runners, and afternoon adventurers. Don’t forget the real reason to visit Elk Knob: as one of the highest peaks in the Appalachians, the summit of Elk Knob boasts an exceptional tri-state view of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, including Mt. Mitchell, the tallest peak on the East Coast, fifty miles away in the Black Mountains. The experience at the summit is one of unparalleled quiet, only interrupted by the occasional whistling of High Country winds that rush up the side of the mountain.

For Appalachian State University Students like Margot Brown, the primitive camping spots along the Backcountry Trail provide an easily accessible respite from the rigors of college life: “It’s not car camping, but it doesn’t take long to get there. We can sleep out overnight and then be home for class the next morning.”

Winter adventurers will experience a summit feathered in hoarfrost, and dazzling views of rippling, white-frosted mountains without having to brave the cold for too many hours.

Elk Knob State Park is located off of Meat Camp Road in the community of Todd, North Carolina, 9.5 miles outside of Boone. Picnic tables, grills, and restrooms are available. First come, first serve camp sites can be found along the Backcountry Trail; there are two group sites that require reservations.

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Featured image provided by Joe Giordano

4 Reasons to Hike Mount Mitchell in the Winter

Thousands of years ago, when extreme cold gripped the North American continent, flora and fauna most suited to northern latitudes migrated south, covering what is now North Carolina. As the cold retreated and temperatures climbed, the trees and animals more suited to warm weather returned. Except, that is, for those living on the highest peaks in the state.

Like islands of alpine forest in a sea of temperate climate, the rounded precipices of North Carolina’s loftiest mountains still have the look and feel of their Canadian counterparts — none more so than Mount Mitchell, standing 6,684 feet above sea level.

Coated in crystalline frost even while surrounding valleys are bathed in relative warmth, Mount Mitchell is among the best places in North Carolina to experience a real winter wonderland. Here we offer four reasons to brave the fickle conditions on the East’s loftiest peak during its harshest months.

1. You’ll earn serious bragging rights.

Bent trees and horizontal ice formations tell the tale of powerful winds that frequently sweep across the top of the mountain. North Carolina State Parks
Bent trees and horizontal ice formations tell the tale of powerful winds that frequently sweep across the top of the mountain.
North Carolina State Parks

Hiking to the top of the highest peak east of the Mississippi is a formidable goal any time of year. But in winter, when the Frasier fir trees are dusted with snow and a brutal wind forms sideways icicles, hearty hikers gaining Mitchell’s summit become part of a special club.

The Mount Mitchell Trail is the most popular summit route in the state park. This 6-mile, one-way trail begins at the Black Mountain Campground and wanders through several distinct biomes on the way up. Mountain laurel and rhododendron line lower elevation creek beds. Mountain maple, spruce, and birch trees crowd for sunlight midway up, while the last remnants of an alpine fir forest cap the final stretch.

The Black Mountain Range, a 15-mile stretch of peaks anchored by Mount Mitchell, stands high enough to affect the weather. Temperatures have dropped to minus 34 degrees while wind gusts of more than 170 mph have been recorded at the peak — and it’s important not to take a winter day here lightly. These conditions certainly add to the challenge, but also to the accomplishment.

2. It’s a different world in winter.

“Post-holing” through a heaping layer of snow can make the already challenging hike to the top of Mount Mitchell a real beast. North Carolina State Parks
“Post-holing” through a heaping layer of snow can make the already challenging hike to the top of Mount Mitchell a real beast.
North Carolina State Parks

During spring, multi-hued flowering bushes line babbling creeks on the mountainside. Songbirds fill the trees and lush vegetation buffers the trail in an expansive green carpet.

But winter brings an entirely different mood to Mount Mitchell. There are no songs from the forest now; just the crunch of your footsteps on frozen trail reverberating off weathered tree trunks. On a rare, still day, there is no other sound. On a typical day, however, the whistle and howl of wind overhead surrounds you.

Down low, at the beginning of your hike, branches are coated in a heavy snow. Nearer to the peak, horizontal ice formations and bowed trees are static reminders of punishing winds. Where a blue haze might limit views in the summer, clear winter days provide vistas of frosted peaks up to 80 miles away. It’s a special kind of serenity that only a winter hike affords.

3. You’ll savor plenty of solitude.

The challenge of climbing some 3,600 feet to the top of Mt. Mitchell may be substantial, but in good weather it’s a common undertaking. No surprise, then, that the Mount Mitchell trail can be heavily trafficked in summer. And at the top, where a large parking lot sits adjacent to the snack bar and museum, families and groups of motorcyclists can crowd the view.

In winter, however, the snack bar and museum are closed for business. Difficult road conditions, school schedules, and the tough climate keep many visitors at bay. The quiet of the trail continues all the way to the top. It’s a memorable outdoor adventure not possible on busy summer days, making the wind-burnt skin and cold toes well worth it.

4. You’ll find plenty of post-hike happiness nearby.

An 800-degree stone oven provides the tell-tale char on the crust at Fresh Pizza and Pasta. Don’t want it? Just let them know when you order. Rob Glover
An 800-degree stone oven provides the tell-tale char on the crust at Fresh Pizza and Pasta. Don’t want it? Just let them know when you order.
Rob Glover

A winter exploration of Mount Mitchell will chill your bones and burn some serious calories. These days are made for hearty craft beer and huge, wood-fired pizza.

This perfect one-two punch awaits in the quaint town of Black Mountain, due south of Mount Mitchell. Begin with a stop at Fresh Wood Fired Pizza and Pasta. Settle into this cozy restaurant and watch while bubbly-crusted pizzas are pulled from an 800-degree stone oven. (The typical pie comes with a charred crust which creates a wonderful flavor, but you can ask them to leave it un-charred if you prefer.) The calzones are the size of a small RV and the beer selection is admirable. Leaving hungry, even considering your incredible effort earlier in the day, is unlikely.

If You Go:

  • Check the weather report before setting out. It changes quickly here, and being caught in a blizzard with howling winds is no joke.
  • Bring your hiking poles for this trek. They can provide a lot of support on an icy trail.
  • Check the park website for closures. The park staff works hard to clear roads, but they may shut down for a day or two after a heavy snow.

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Featured image provided by North Carolina State Parks

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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Beech Mountain Resort

Intro

Sitting at 5,506 feet in the heart of Appalachia, you’ll find Beech Mountain. Beech features amazing skiing and snowboarding terrain accompanied by an array of après activities that are sure to make your visit memorable. Grab your skis or board and make the two hour trip from Asheville.

Who is Going to Love It

Beech Mountain Resort takes pride in cultivating new shredders to enjoy the mountain. They offer free skiing and snowboarding lessons with the purchase of rental equipment, Monday-Thursday. Beech is a certified Burton Learn To Ride (LTR) Center. The field of instructors make learning to ride a blast and the learner specific equipment has beginners shredding in no time. Snow Kamp is also available for children 3-5 years old and provides parents with an all-day childcare option.

What Makes It Great

Beech Mountain Resort boasts eight impressive lifts including a high-speed quad that takes skiers and riders directly from the base to the top of the mountain. The eight lifts service a total of 95 skiable acres on 15 slopes. Check out the Beech Mountain Trail Map for more details on the terrain.

You’ll also find the Powder Bowl freestyle terrain park maintained by a core group of shredders. Powder Bowl is home to advanced and intermediate features including boxes, rails, and kickers. Beginners can hone their skills in the rider-friendly Meadows freestyle park.

The View Haus, Beech Mountain Resort’s largest facility, was recently renovated to provide a comforting mountain lodge atmosphere with all new amenities. How about an local craft brew for your après ski thirst quencher? Beech Mountain Brewing Co. is located in the Ski Village with a brand new deck and ski-in ski-out access! You’ll find plenty of dining and entertainment options at Beech, making this the choice for longer North Carolina skiing and snowboarding stays.

Beech Mountain Resort hosts many large and small events including live music, trivia, and the totally tubular Retro 80s Weekend.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The drive from Asheville to Beech Mountain Resort will take you 1 hour and 45 minutes. Check out lift ticket rates and current conditions before you head up the mountain.

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Featured image provided by Courtesy of Beech Mountain 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.