There are 37 National Heritage Areas in the United States. Each one is unique, and the experiences they offer are very diverse. The 25-county region of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area includes the Qualla Boundary and the following counties: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, and Yancey.
A land of mountain wilderness, waterfalls, Cherokee tradition, string bands, and craft studios, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is truly a region with a personality like no other.
The 2,175-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 250,000-acre greenway extending from Maine to Georgia. The Appalachian Trail offers opportunities to explore, experience and connect with nature. From the Highlands of Roan in Tennessee to the strenuous trek up Katahdin in Maine, there’s a hike available for every level of experience.
Along the way, the trail passes through the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Stretching almost 500 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge mountains through North Carolina and Virginia, it encompasses some of the oldest settlements of both pre-historic and early European settlement. Visitors can trace much of the history of Appalachian culture by observing overlook signs, visitor center exhibits, restored historic structures, and developed areas, all of which reveal points of particular interest. For a complete listing of the Parkway's historic attractions, contact the areas you will be visiting.
The Pisgah National Forest covers 1,076,711 acres across Western North Carolina. This large area includes tracts surrounding the town of Asheville and the French Broad River Valley. Tremendous recreational opportunities, including hiking and backpacking, abound within its boundaries. This forest is divided up into 4 ranger districts: Grandfather, Toecane, French Broad, and Pisgah. The Grandfather and Toecane Ranger Districts lie in the northern mountains of NC.
The North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden located within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest of the Pisgah National Forest. Surrounded by the botanically diverse Southern Appalachian Mountains, the Arboretum is nestled in one of the most beautiful natural garden settings in America.
Established in 1986 by the General Assembly as an inter-institutional facility of the University of North Carolina, the Arboretum came into existence nearly a century after this country's father of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, first envisioned such an institution near Asheville.
A center for education, research, conservation and economic development, and garden demonstration, the Arboretum offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages.
Features a 4 acre Predator Habitat and "hands on" Nature Lab and Educational Farm with petting area. Children are invited to touch a corn snake, hold a turtle, or feel angora, presheared .Open year-round with indoor and outdoor exhibits. Visit us rain or shine.
CLOSED: Thanksgiving & day after December 24, 25, 26 New Year's Day Martin L. King Day
Tucked away in rolling hills at the base of Linville Gorge is Lake James, a 6,510-acre lake with more than 150 miles of shoreline. This impressive waterway is the centerpiece of Lake James State Park. Here, nature offers scenic vistas of the Appalachian Mountains and beckons to those with an appetite for recreation.
Try swimming and sunbathing or enjoy a picnic along the lakeshore. Boat, water ski or fish in cool mountain waters, or take a walk and enjoy an abundance of wildflowers and wildlife along park trails. Lake James offers a variety of ways to enjoy the outdoors.
Park hours November-February, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. March and October, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. April, May, September, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. June-August, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Christmas Day
Picnic Area: 10 picnic tables, flush toilets, open yearlong, free. Restrooms are closed in off-season (November to May). Water service may be discontinued to prevent damage to plumbing as weather dictates.
Public Fishing Access Area - Trout Fishing
Call 1-888-2HUNTFISH (1-888-248-6834) Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Please have your Visa or MasterCard number ready.)
Fletcher Community Park on Howard Gap Road is a sixty-acre park featuring two playgrounds, 1.5 miles of walking trails, youth soccer fields, T-ball fields, little league fields, concession stand with restrooms, picnic areas and horse-shoe area, disc golf.
The home of America's poet, Carl Sandburg, is quite a baronial estate for an old socialist. It was designated as a National Historic Site in 1968 to honor Carl Sandburg's compelling collection of stories about the American people; their plights, struggles, joys and hopes as told through Sandburg's poetry, prose, journalism and biography.
Holmes is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With rugged terrain, numerous rock outcroppings, and scenic vistas, it also offers a rich mixture of mountain hardwoods, rhododendron, flame azaleas, and a variety of wildflowers. These features are accessible by a series of well-marked trails which are accented by exhibits and displays depicting the ecology of the managed forest.
Forest Features: Outdoor education Trails with "Talking Trees" and exhibits Picnic facilities Ranger conducted programs Group camping
Jump Off Rock is a scenic overlook which provides a panoramic view of rolling pastures, the Blue Ridge and Pisgah mountain ranges. Jump Off Rock is part of an Indian legend that has been passed down for many years. The legend is about a young Cherokee Indian maiden who received word that her young Indian Chief had been killed in battle, so she climbed to the edge of the rock and jumped off. On moonlit nights it is said that you can see her ghost on Jump Off Rock. (Photo: Mark Geistweite, www.markgphotos.com)
Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, the Mountain Trail Outdoor School's classroom is 1,400 acres of peaks, valleys, coves, streams and lakes with over 10 miles of hiking trails. The Outdoor School is a residential environmental and outdoor education program, working with groups of 10 to 135 from schools, churches, nonprofit organizations and businesses.
City park of 19 acres, which includes baseball fields, basketball courts, racquetball courts, tennis courts, football field, two pavilions with picnic tables and grills, two gazebos, a playground, a lighted walking trail, and an Olympic-size swimming pool.
The Rudnick Nature Trail opened May 2002 on the 50 acres surrounding the UNC Asheville Kellogg Conference Center and the Craft, Creativity and Design Center. The one mile trail meanders through 3 distinct ecosystems: wetland, hardwood forest and a wildflower meadow. Artwork/sculptures are located throughout the trail to enhance and/or interpret the natural environment on a trail or greeway.
The 16 miles of trails in the Green River Game Lands are a joint project between the Environmental and Conservation Organization (828) 692-0385) and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. For color brochure with trail info: www.eco-wnc.org/green_river_brochure.htm.
The trails are located in the Green River Game Lands, a rugged tract of more than 10,000 acres along the Green River in Henderson and Polk Counties, NC. Owned by the state, the primary purpose of NC Game Lands is wildlife conservation and management -- hunting, fishing, and trapping are allowed in Game Lands. The trails in this unique area are maintained to encourage and facilitate foot travel only.
Contact NC Wildlife Resources Commission for more information about NC Game Lands and hunting seasons. www.NCWildlife.org
Bat Cave is owned by The Nature Conservancy and a private landowner and is accessible only through the North Carolina Chapter's field trip program. For more information on these summer trips, look at the field trips page. Please note: The cave itself is closed to the public.
Hikes begin in June and are every Wednesday & Saturday until August. Call the Mountain District Office to make reservations.
Grandfather Mountain has been a wildlife sanctuary and nature preserve for over 100 years. It is privately owned and operated as a scenic travel attraction. The Mountain has a nature museum, a mile high swinging bridge, wildlife exhibits and more. There are 11 trails varying in difficulty from a gentle walk in the woods to a rigorous trek across rugged peaks. It is in the backcountry that you come up against the more challenging hikes.
The Green River Gorge, located southeast of Hendersonville contains rugged, steep ravines, coves, mixed hardwood forest, and boasts some of the most popular whitewater rapids in the Eastern United States.
The Gorge runs through the Green River Game Lands, a state-owned tract of more than 10,000 acres set aside for wildlife conservation and management. The Green River Gorge drops 400 feet in a distance of one and a half miles and runs through a six-foot wide crevice known as the Narrows.
Chimney Rock Park, located 25 miles southeast of Asheville, North Carolina, offers the best of the mountains in one place--spectacular 75-mile views, hiking trails for all ages, a 404-foot waterfall, and the 315-foot Chimney Rock overlooking Lake Lure.
Hickory Creek and the Broad River carved the Hickory Nut Gorge which runs southeast from Hickory Nut Gap and drops 1,800 feet in elevation before ending at Lake Lure. Also includes Bat Cave and Chimney Rock. It is home to 13 rare animal and 34 rare plant species. To date, more than 3000 acres are under conservation protection.
The Visitor Center for the Hickory Nut Gorge Chamber of Commerce is located at 2926 Memorial Hwy, Lake Lure NC
The Cradle of Forestry is a 6,500 acre historic site within the Pisgah National Forest.
The Forest Discovery Center features interactive exhibits and a movie about the creation of the school and the history of forestry conservation. The site features a museum, eight historic buildings, a restored portable saw mill and logging locomotive as well as curriculum-based program.
Cascade Lake Recreation Area offers the ultimate in spacious family campsites in the "Land of the Waterfalls" amid cool majestic mountains. It is located adjacent to the DuPont State Forest. The Recreation Area includes a campground with 160 sites, shaded by maples, oaks, hemlocks, pines, locusts and other species of trees native to western North Carolina.
The beach is private and limited to campers only. There are two lakes, two boat ramps and private boat docks available. Boat motors are limited to 12hp on the lake. Fish for trout and bass (permit required), or take a "cruise" in a pedal boat to relax while enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery.
Plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique species in the eastern United States are found within Gorges State Park. An elevation that rises 2,000 feet in only four miles, combined swiss replica watches with rainfall in excess of 80 inches per year, creates a temperate rain forest and supports a collection of waterfalls.
Park hours November-February, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. March and October, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. April, May, September, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. June-August, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Christmas Day Christian louboutin shoes Park office hours 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily Closed state holidays
The French Broad River is a popular river for outdoor sports of all kinds. River outfitters throughout Western North Carolina offer guided trips along the 200-mile-long waterway, ranging from whitewater rafting to gentle canoe trips. The French Broad River now supports a wide variety of fish, including largemouth bass, brown and rainbow trout, and catfish, luring fly fishing fans and those who would rather sit on a rock with a cane pole.
From its beginning west of Rosman in Transylvania County to the border of Tennessee, the French Broad River is about 70 miles in length and is the largest watercourse in Western North Carolina. From its headwaters, the French Broad River flows northward through Brevard, Asheville, Hot Springs and ultimately into Tennessee where it forms the Tennessee River.
DuPont Forest is made up of more than 10,000 acres of forest, trails, and waterfalls between Hendersonville and Brevard, North Carolina. Horseback riding, hiking, picnicing, mountain biking, boating and swimming available.
Rising more than a mile high, surrounded by the gentle mist of low-hanging clouds, Mount Mitchell State Park is one of these extraordinary places. In the crest of the timeworn Black Mountains lies the summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi. For those who ascend this mighty peak, what looms in the horizon is a feast for the eyes—breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, rolling ridges and fertile valleys. Forested and forever misty, 1,855-acre Mount Mitchell State Park will provide you with some of the most tranquil moments you'll ever experience.
Park hours November-February, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. March and October, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. April and September, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. May-August, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Christmas Day
Park office hours 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays Closed Christmas Day