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Picnic Story: Mount Mitchell

Old Mitchell Trail

Visitors to  Mount Mitchell State Park  can walk in the footsteps of Elisha Mitchell himself, the man credited with discovering the highest peak in the east. This area of the Black Mountains would have been quite wild during Mitchell's treks in the early 19th century. Today, this well-marked trail offers a challenging but rewarding route to the summit.Tip: Pack a sweater or

Lunch Rocks View 1

Lunch Rocks Trail

Pack a lunch for this moderate trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway What to Expect This section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) leads from the  Folk Art Center  to a beautiful view of the Haw Creek valley at Lunch Rocks. After your hike, be sure to stop into the Folk Art Center to discover art and handicrafts made by local artists. Park in the Folk Art Center parking lot. Follow the

Mount Pisgah Hike: Story Only

Mount Pisgah Trail

Hike to the top of Asheville's most recognizable peak What to Expect On a clear day, Mount Pisgah 's 5,721-foot summit can easily be seen from downtown Asheville . Likewise, after a steep climb through hardwood forest, Asheville is clearly visible 16 miles away.   Mt. Pisgah is like the Eiffel tower, probably the most recognized high point of Western North Carolina. After you see the

Hooker Falls in Fall

Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls Hike

One hike, three of the region’s best waterfalls Dupont State Forest is the best place to discover why Brevard and Transylvania County is called “The Land of the Waterfalls.” Get a sampler of some of the area’s wonderful waterfalls with a (mostly) easy hike to Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls. Accessible enough for kids, the trails that connect the falls are scenic

Black Balsam Hike

Sam Knob at Black Balsam Trail

Hike to views that will make your heart sing An alternative to the popular Black Balsam Knob hike that can be accessed from the same parking lot off the Blue Ridge Parkway , Sam Knob will win your heart with high mountain meadows and long-range wilderness views that rival any in the region. What To Expect When you arrive in the Black Balsam parking lot, you’ll see a sign for Sam Knob to the

Rainbow Falls in Gorges State Park

Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Hike

A hidden-gem waterfall hike in a lush forest The Horsepasture River thunders down a 125-foot drop spraying up a mist that creates rainbows that sparkle in the sunlight. This magical sight can be seen at Rainbow Falls in Gorges State Park , one of the best Western North Carolina waterfall hikes. What To Expect Gorges State Park is located on the Blue Ridge Escarpment, where the mountains end and

Max Patch Sunrise

Max Patch Trail

Play, picnic or practice yoga on this Appalachian bald Max Patch is a “bald,” the Southern Appalachian name for a hilltop without a single tree.  While this mountain isn’t naturally bald (it was cleared for grazing in the nineteenth century), it’s certainly naturally beautiful. Some call it “the crown jewel of the Appalachian Trail ,” the famous footpath

An Evening with the Elk

Little Cataloochee Trail

Peaceful scenery and dramatic wildlife on this historic Smokies trail For nearly a century, Big and Little Cataloochee valleys in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were home to generations of farming families. Hike past abandoned (but mostly restored) homesteads and churches that were once full of life. If you’re lucky, you’ll encounter Cataloochee’s most interesting new

Linville Gorge East Rim

Linville Gorge East Rim Trails

Something wild for the advanced hiker Called “the Grand Canyon of the East,” Linville Gorge drops 2,000 feet to the Linville River. Part of the nearly 12,000-acre Linville Gorge Wilderness, this is unspoiled country where rock climbers and backcountry campers with serious gear like to spend time in solitude. West Rim trails tend to go down into the gorge, but along the East Rim,

John Rock

John Rock Trail

A classic Pisgah hike, plus a simple nature trail for kids Pisgah National Forest is a world-class hiking destination. Among the 400+ miles of trails in the Pisgah Ranger District (there are two other districts in the 500,000-acre forest, too), the hike to John Rock is a ranger favorite. With forested trails, waterfalls and exhilarating all-season views, this hike is a classic. For families with

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