An essential part of your weekend.
Justified after a long trail run.
Not for me.
An escalator to the top, and a bakery at the bottom.
Your favorite singletrack has…
Care-free flow and jumps.
Roots, rocks and risky switchbacks.
Around the corner to the coffee shop.
Your ideal running distance would be…
A chill five miles on a nice trail.
Beautiful day for a marathon!
A hammock to relax in.
Your ideal adventure partner always brings…
Lots of local snacks.
A solid first aid kit. 'Cause it might get dangerous.
A bunch of friends, beverages, and tunes.
It’s not a day on the river without…
A standup paddleboard for surfing waves.
A drone to capture epic waterfall drops.
A picnic with a view.
You skip work on a Tuesday to play outside. Your itinerary includes…
Laps at the local downhill park.
Scrambling up a tricky trail to a remote peak.
A meandering black bear.
Your favorite animal is…
A busy mountain trout.
A wily bobcat.
Prepared by a chef and served at a table with a view.
The perfect backcountry dinner is…
A freeze-dried meal served hot next to a campfire.
Some pocket jerky and foraged herbs on mile 20.
Take me to
congrats! You are a
Tube the French Broad
The French Broad River runs for 218 miles through the mountains of Western North Carolina and a particularly fun, mellow section flows along the edge of downtown Asheville. Put in at the Hominy Creek River Park and float three miles through the River Arts District. You have plenty of options for land-based diversions along the way; hop out for a beer at New Belgium Brewing and grab a Korean Beef Bulgogi taco at White Duck Taco.
Continue planning your trip
Picnic at Craggy Gardens
Pedal Biltmore Estate
This isn’t just any picnic location. Craggy Gardens is a lush, high-elevation park with stunning flowers and panoramic views that are perfect for a sunset picnic.The best part of this mellow adventure might be the drive; Craggy Gardens is 20 miles from downtown Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which means you get to cruise America’s prettiest road on the way there.
You know the Biltmore is America’s most famous (and stunning) home, but did you know the house’s “backyard” is just as impressive? The grounds consist of 8,000 acres of forest and gardens boasting more than 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking. For a casual pedal, check out the paved Lagoon Trail, which offers three miles of car-free (and flat) cruising through fields of sunflowers before reaching the Lagoon, where you’ll see large turtles and the occasional fishing boat. For a longer adventure, connect the Lagoon Trail with the six-mile Farm Trail, which follows the French Broad River around the edge of the property.
Summit Mount Mitchell
Mountain Bike Bent Creek
Fly fishing North Mills River
At 6,684 feet, Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi river, with a craggy, spruce-covered summit that oozes high alpine charm. A road will take you almost to the top of the mountain, but to experience Mitchell in its full glory, you need to hike it from the bottom, starting at the Black Mountain Campground and climbing the Mount Mitchell Trail. Plan for a big day; It’s a six-mile hike gaining 3,600 feet in elevation. Most hikers leave a car at the top so they don’t have to retrace their steps back down the mountain.
Bent Creek Experimental Forest is a 6,000-acre slice of Pisgah National Forest that boasts more than 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. And it’s just 15 minutes from downtown Asheville, so it gives mountain bikers a chance to sample Pisgah’s classic singletrack without venturing too far into the forest. Green’s Lick, a fast and technical 2-mile downhill, is arguably the signature trail inside Bent Creek, but don’t overlook Lower Sidehill, which offers almost as much downhill bliss with a fraction of the traffic. After the ride, scoot over to funky West Asheville for a beer at The Brew Pump, a gas station that’s been converted into a beer garden complete with food trucks and cornhole.
North Mills River isn’t a large stream, and it doesn’t get as much attention as the world-renowned Davidson River, but it also doesn’t get as much pressure from anglers. And it’s full of trout ripe for the catching, from sporty rainbows to the more elusive brook. Access is easy, and you can practically fish from the back of your car at the North Mills Recreation Area (make sure you have a valid license and pay the $5 parking fee). But head upstream via the riverside trail and you’ll find more solitude as North Mills oscillates between tight sections with overhanging forest and wider spots where you can let your cast fly.
Fly Fishing North Mills River
Climb Looking Glass Rock
Paddle French Broad Section 9
Mountain Bike Black Mountain
The mountains surrounding Asheville are full of climbing opportunities, including Looking Glass Rock, which is one of the South’s signature climbs. The granite monolith rises 600 feet from the forest floor offering hundreds of multi-pitch routes for traditional climbers. The way up can be as easy as 5.6 or as tough as 5.13, but the iconic route is The Noose, a 5.8 that unravels in four pitches of sloping granite with tons of exposure. You can climb Looking Glass any time of year, but the views in the fall, when the entire forest below is ablaze with color, is a special treat.
The class V Green River might be the pinnacle of whitewater kayaking in the Southeast, and an important part of boating culture in Asheville, but it’s not attainable for everyone. Rafting the class IV Section 9 of the French Broad River, on the other hand, is suitable for anyone looking for some high-adrenaline whitewater. The eight-mile run is loaded with class III-IV rapids, highlighted by Frank Bells, a river-wide ledge towards the end of the section that has flipped many boats.
If you could only ride one trail in Pisgah’s extensive portfolio of singletrack, it would have to be Black Mountain Trail, an iconic descent that’s received a lot of love and maintenance from local trail clubs recently. There’s a hefty climb to reach the peak of Black Mountain, but once you put in the work you’re treated to a 2,000-foot descent that marries Pisgah’s signature technical gnar (roots and rocks galore) with more progressive flow elements like banked turns and grade reversals.After riding Black Mountain, head back into town for a beer at Highland Brewing, which has an 40-acre outdoor space that includes sand volleyball courts, a 1.2-mile hiking trail and a 9-hole disc golf course.