Explore the Natural Beauty
Western North Carolina is a destination location for many, many reasons - perhaps the most popular is our landscape. Rich and lush, wild yet inviting - these mountains boast some of the most visually stunning sights in the nation. A trip to the area is never complete without taking in some of the beauty and magic that surrounds us. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most popular of the sights to behold.
Waterfalls abound in this corner of the state, and no more so than in Transylvania County, just fifteen minutes from Asheville, NC. Known as the Land of Waterfalls, Transylvania County is home to more than 250 waterfalls - each one unique, beautiful, and awe-inspiring. Some, like Looking Glass Falls, have become famous the world over - some are hidden gems tucked into the deep, rich Pisgah National Forest. Though there are hundreds of hikes that will take you to these treasure, there are a few of particular note:
Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass Falls is one of the best known waterfalls in the area. Easy to access, it is situated right next to Highway 276 North. Extremely kid friendly, the upper view of the falls is also wheelchair accessible. About 60 feet high, the water rushes over a cliff and cascades into a deep pool of water. Swimming is permitted, though the rocks can be quite slippery!
Sliding Rock is an amazing sight to see! A 60 foot natural rock slide that ends in a 6 foot deep pool, it is Mother Nature’s version of a waterpark! It is a Forest Service recreation area and lifeguards and staff are on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. While it can become quite crowded with families looking to cool off in a beautiful setting, it’s always worth a visit.
High Falls is located in DuPont State Forest - a 10,000 acre piece of forest between Brevard, NC and Hendersonville, NC. Several miles of trails surround 6+ waterfalls, so this location is perfect for a full day outing of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or just sightseeing. High Falls is just one of those falls tucked into the State Forest, and it is quite a sight to behold. 100 feet tall, it is one of the largest in the area. A covered bridge has recently been built at the top of the falls and is a great place for photos.
While we may not have snow covered peaks here in Western North Carolina, we do have some of the most beautiful mountains in the country. Lush foliage covers the peaks and granite juts from the sides to provide excellent rock climbing and even better views of the valleys below. There are so many peaks to visit in the area, but we’ve outlined some of the most popular below.
Grandfather Mountain sits 5,964 feet above sea level and is the only private park in the world designated as an International Biosphere Reserve. It is the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountain Range and from the top, visitors can see hundreds of miles in the distance. There are over 12 miles of hiking trails ranging from moderate to challenging and the wind at the top blows continually. It can be quite chilly at the top - even on some of our warmest summer days, the temperature at the peak can sit in the upper 60’s!
Chimney Rock is a privately owned National Heritage site located in Lake Lure, NC. The park encompasses 1000 acres, at the heart of which is the rock formation known as Chimney Rock. From that formation, visitors are treated to 360 degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The hike up can range from moderate to difficult, but once at the top, the views will be worth every step. A full day at the park will yield unforgettable memories and a ton of fun.
Roan Mountain is less like a single impressive peak and more like a full mountain range. Made famous for it’s rhododendron covered peaks, it is a popular destination for hikers, photographers, families, and adventure hounds. Cross Country skiing is a popular sport in the winter months as Roan Mountain gets to most snow in the area.
Mt Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and from its peak, hikers can see miles in the distance. Dozens of trails lead to the top, some rated for very experienced hikers and some a bit more accessible to those looking for a moderate trail. There is also a short but beautiful drive to the observation deck at the top.
This area is blessed to have such expansive forests covering so much of the territory in Western North Carolina. Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest and DuPont State Forest are the main attractions and they each have their own unique draws.
Pisgah National Forest
The Pisgah National Forest was established well over a century ago and it spans more than a half million acres. It is divided into four distinct districts, with Asheville at the heart of it all. The Appalachian Trail runs through the massive forest and contained within its boundaries are countless trails, waterfalls, creeks, rock outcroppings, and animals. It is perhaps the area’s greatest treasure and to visit it is to understand the communities that have built themselves around it.
Nantahala National Forest
Situated in the mountains and valleys of Southwestern North Carolina, Nantahala National Forest is the largest of the four national forests of North Carolina. "Nantahala” is a Cherokee word meaning "land of the noon day sun” - quite fitting as the sun does not reach the floor of the Nantahala Gorge until at least 12:00 PM. It contains over a half million acres and is teeming with native life.
DuPont State Forest
Dupont State Forest has become quite famous in recent years since "The Hunger Games” was filmed there in 2011. It is and has always been an extraordinary treasure to the communities of Western North Carolina. Within its 10,000 + acres, there are waterfalls, swimming holes, trails, climbs, hikes, and perfect picnic spots. Located just 40 miles Southwest of Asheville, it is a must-visit for those traveling to the area.
Not only do we have those lush forests that have come to define our corner of the state, but we have several rushing rivers running through the heart of Western North Carolina. Countless streams and creeks run through the mountains, some ever-lasting, some seasonal. They await discovery by hikers exploring the forests. The Rivers are the more famous of our water sources; we’ve outlined two of them below.
The French Broad River
Perhaps the most famous of the bunch, the French Broad River runs through the heart of Asheville. River rafting, kayaking, tubing, and swimming are popular activities for visitors and locals alike.
The Nantahala River is a popular destination for anglers, rafters, and kayakers. The 8.5 mile rapids are the most exciting in the area and it has become a must-visit for adventure sportsman nationwide.
Mountain Discovery Pass
We want you to experience the full majesty of our gorgeous area. To that end, we’ve created an amazing package to make the best aspects of our community even more accessible to you! With every Carolina Mornings reservation, our guests will receive one complimentary ticket to the Biltmore Estate, one adventure with French Broad Rafting and Ziplining, and a complimentary lift ticket at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort! This fantastic gift can save you more than $180 in area amenities and is offered exclusively by Carolina Mornings.
Carolina Mornings has dozens of vacation rental options available in and around the Asheville area. Our dedicated and professional Vacation Planners will work with you to find the vacation home that best meets your needs and wants. A beautiful home-base is the most important part of a vacation, and when your jumping off point for adventures in the area is a Carolina Mornings home, you’re sure to have a memorable vacation.