Cliffs Living: What’s Up in Western North Carolina?

The lowdown on daytripping in Asheville, Brevard, and Black Mountain.

As autumn approaches in the Carolina mountains, daytripping is just what the doctor ordered.

Western North Carolina offers ample opportunity to nourish mind, body, and spirit. Miles of trails in myriad state and national parks provide fun aplenty for outdoor pursuits such as hiking, biking, picnicking, nature-watching, and more. The region’s natural beauty creates a bevy of spaces and places to drink in the splendid scenery, literally and figuratively. Appalachian traditions make WNC a mecca of cultural arts and crafts, one-of-a-kind retail, local cuisine and craft beer, as well as wine and spirits.

The heart of Western North Carolina is Asheville, the Coolest City in North Carolina and home to The Cliffs at Walnut Cove. Asheville is located between Brevard, the Land of Waterfalls, and Black Mountain, the Little Town That Rocks, along a splendid mountain corridor offering something for everyone.

Here are just a few of our favorite places.

Biltmore Estate: Built in the 1890s, this French Renaissance castle is an architectural and historical wonder. Known as “America’s Largest Home,” it comprises 250 rooms set on 8,000 acres filled with forested trails, meticulously manicured gardens, and the most-visited winery in the country.

Folk Art Center: Located at milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this venue celebrates the arts and crafts of Appalachia. In addition to the country’s oldest handicraft shop, there’s a museum, a gallery of rotating exhibits, and an American Craft library rich with archives.

Asheville River Arts District: A 2-mile stretch of working studios and galleries featuring more than 200 of WNC’s most popular artisans. This creative concentration of imagination and innovation showcases everything from glassblowing to painting to metalsmithing and jewelry-crafting.

WNC Nature Center: A 42-acre wildlife wonderland that’s home to 60+ species of Southern Appalachian animals — bears, otters, red and gray wolves, cougars, and more — as well as hundreds of native plants. Connect with flora and fauna while supporting conservation.

Blue Ridge Parkway: A 469-mile scenic roadway stretching from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina — with a Visitors Center in Asheville at Milepost 384. Take “America’s Favorite Drive” with stops along the way to explore the highest peaks on the East Coast and the deepest gorge this side of the Grand Canyon.

Pisgah National Forest: More than 500,000 acres of mile-high peaks, whitewater rivers, cascading waterfalls, and hundreds of miles of trails through hardwood forests. The main entrance in Brevard leads to ample outdoor activities, as vigorous or relaxing as you like.

Cradle of Forestry: The birthplace of science-based forest management, located within Pisgah Forest, features interpretive trails, interactive exhibits, and guided tours to showcase the legacy of forestry conservation and the future of environmental sustainability.

Sliding Rock: This popular Pisgah Forest attraction is Mother Nature’s rollercoaster. The natural waterslide sends 11,000 gallons of water per minute — along with funseeking visitors — down a 60-foot slippery cascade of rock into an 8-foot pool of (always cold) water below.

high falls dupont state recreational forest
High Falls, Dupont State Recreational Forest

Dupont State Recreational Forest: Explore more than 10,000 acres of forest, trails, and waterfalls — you may recognize some of them from movies like “The Last of the Mohicans” — with freshair fun such as hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

Brevard Music Center: Come in from the woods and waterfalls to enjoy the country’s premier summer music festival. Mixed ensembles showcase gifted students, distinguished faculty, and renowned guest artists in 100+ memorable performances under the stars and within an intimate music hall.

Black Mountain Town Square: The prettiest small town in America boasts a lively downtown district filled with quaint eateries, Appalachian craft galleries, and unique specialty shops. Oversized rocking chairs scattered throughout the square encourage visitors to sit and rest a spell in the cool mountain air.

Black Mountain Center for The Arts: This vibrant venue — a centuryold revitalized town hall — hosts a variety of visual, literary, and performing arts events from exhibits to plays and concerts to poetry readings, as well as seasonal festivals and other cultural celebrations.

Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center: Housed in a beautiful 1920s fire station, this dynamic museum showcases permanent and traveling exhibits along with local archives telling the region’s story. Guided hikes explore historically significant natural spaces as well. History.

This story was featured in Cliffs Living magazine. To read more stories like this one and learn more about The Cliffs, subscribe here.

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