Five Favorite Outdoor Adventures in Asheville

Five Favorite Outdoor Adventures in Asheville
Reader's Choice: Best Spots to Enjoy Asheville on a Warm Sunny Day.

We polled fans of the Visit Asheville Facebook page, and asked them to name their favorite outdoor experience in Asheville. Here were the top responses and some best bets for getting outside to enjoy them.

DuPont State Forest
Hiking the Blue Ridge
Asheville is surrounded by more than 800,000 acres of pristine wilderness and 2,000 miles of hiking trails, making the area an oasis for the health-conscious, active traveler. 

Best Bets
NC Arboretum - Stroll around the 434 acre public garden located within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest and right off milepost 393 along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

- Chimney Rock State Park - Enjoy a 75-mile view from atop the 315 foot chimney. The park also offers numerous hiking trails, including the Hickory Nut Falls trail which leads to one of the highest waterfalls in the East.

-DuPont State Forest - Located near Hendersonville & Brevard, is 7,600 acres of forested land with over 90 miles of hiking trails. Enjoy a wonderful blend of incredible scenery, varied hiking levels and unbelievable waterfalls.

Dining Al Fresco
Outdoor cafes line the streets of downtown Asheville, giving it an old world charm reminiscent of Paris. Grab a bite or a bottle of bubbly and enjoy an afternoon of people watching.

Best Bets
- Carmel's Kitchen and Bar - Sit outside the beautiful Grove Arcade, dine on exceptional food and watch Asheville go by.

- Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar - The same really says it all. Books and wine, side by side, make this a must-visit spot in downtown Asheville.

- Posana Cafe - Enjoy a made-from-scratch dinner or weekend brunch on the spacious patio which looks out onto Historic Pack Square. You're likely to see street performances while you're there.

Swinging From the Trees
Experience the sensation of flight while you soar across the treetops. Asheville offers a variety of options, from an urban setting to a woodland habitat tucked in a mountain cove.

Best Bets
Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures - Located one mile from downtown Asheville, this course is set along the tops of +150 year old oaks and offers panoramic views of downtown Asheville.

Navitat Canopy Adventures - This zipline course has been called "one of the best in the nation" by USA Today. This adventure course sits on top of a 240-acre wilderness with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

Asheville Treetops Adventure Park - This aerial obstacle course contains 50 unique and exciting challenges and it's unlike any other park  in the Southeast. With three different skill levels, it's a perfect place for adults and kids, ages seven or older.

America's Favorite Drive
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs directly through Asheville and offers an easy access point to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.

Best Bets
Graveyard Fields - Located at mile post 418.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this 3.2-mile trail is a popular family hike thanks to its beauty and ease. The trail will lead hikers to Lower Falls (a moderate descent) as well as through open, grassy areas and past nice pools for wading on a hot summer day.

Craggy Gardens - Covered with purple rhododendron and other late-blooming wildflowers in early summer and blanketed in spectacular fall color in the autumn, Craggy Gardens is a perfect spot for a picnic in the fresh mountain air.

Devil's Courthouse - According to folklore, a cave located along this jagged mountain is where the devil holds court. An ominous tale, but it really is quite beautiful. The steep cliffs provide not just panoramic vistas but also ideal hunting grounds for the world's fastest animal, the peregrine falcon.

Rafting the Rivers
Asheville was named the top whitewater destination in the U.S. by Outdoor magazine and is in close proximity to a number of excellent river adventures.

Best Bets
French Broad Rafting Expeditions - Enjoy a five or nine mile whitewater trip down the third oldest river in the world. Calm water rentals are also available.

Wildwater Adventure Tours - This is like a choose your own adventure with tours rafting down the Chattoga, Nantahala, Ocoee and Pigeon rivers.

Nantahala Outdoor Center - Take a leisurely rafting trip down the slower-paced Nantahala River with one of the "Best Outfitter on Earth" according to National Geographic Adventure.

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