things to do In WNC

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Kayaking: Green River

The Green River is world-famous amongst the whitewater kayaking community. It is truly unique in that it has something for every type of kayaker (from class I – V+), flows through a pristine and protected canyon, runs 300+ days per year due to the Northbrook dam upstream, and in its tightest and steepest section flows through a rumbling granite amphitheater. Generally speaking, the river is divided into three sections. The Upper Green’s class III-IV whitewater is great for intermediate kayakers, beginners will enjoy the Class I-II shoals of the Lower Green, and the middle section (the Narrows) is a cornerstone for expert and elite kayakers.

Mountain Biking: Bent Creek Experimental Forest

Bent Creek is known as the quick fix trail network for Asheville professionals, but it is a fantastic and varied trail network in its own right. Anywhere else in the country it would be a prime regional destination that would draw mountain bikers for hundreds of miles. Bent Creek’s 6,000 acres features over 44 miles of trails, and visitors can also enjoy Lake Powhatan Beach, and a playground, pumptrack, and jump line at Bent Creek Community Park.

Mountain Biking: Green River Game Lands

In spite of its ~18,000 acres of wilderness, the Green River Gamelands is less frequented by mountain bikers than its big brothers, Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest. In spite of this under-the-radar vibe, the 15+ mile trail system features stunning views, lung-busting climbs, beautiful stream crossings, and rock gardens, drops, and off-camber sections that will challenge even the best riders.

Mountain Biking: The Riveter

Riveter is a relatively new addition to the Western North Carolina outdoor scene, but has established its position as a premiere fitness and training center for bikers and climbers (not to mention a fantastic place to drink a beer)! The climbing features an awesome kids zone and slide, vast bouldering area, up to 55 foot tall walls, auto-belays for solo climbing, and plenty of top rope and lead options. The biking features over eight jump lines, a pumptrack, skills progression features, wall rides, a pro shop, and a high energy vibe. This place is guaranteed to wear your kids (and you) out!

Mountain Biking: Dupont State Forest

DuPont is a fantastic natural resource to hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and others, and offers some of the most user-friendly beginner and intermediate mountain biking in the Carolinas. No matter which combination of the 10,000 acres of trails you choose, the miles will melt away, and the terrain will constantly vary.

Kayaking: French Broad River

The French Broad is one of the oldest rivers in the world, and offers up a tremendous amount of opportunities for recreation across the course of its journey from the mountains of Western North Carolina to the Tennessee, Ohio, and eventually Mississippi Rivers. From the Class V kayaking of the North Fork near Rosman to the pastoral float through the Biltmore Estate to the town run through Asheville, and finally the excellent intermediate whitewater sections north of Woodfin, the French Broad offers something for everyone to enjoy the water.

Kayaking: Nantahala River

The Nantahala, or “land of the noonday sun,” is a beautiful river corridor close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is in fact one of the best beginner / intermediate kayaking rivers in the world due to its easy roadside access, lively class I-III rapids, fantastic instruction program at Nantahala Outdoor Center, and long paddling season. Nearby Bryson City also has a vibrant mountain town vibe.

Hiking: Green River Game Lands

In spite of its ~18,000 acres of wilderness, the Green River Gamelands is less frequented by hikers than its big brothers, Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest, Nantahala National Forest, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In spite of this under-the-radar reputation, the 15+ mile trail system features stunning views, lung-busting climbs, tranquil campsites, and access to the granite cathedral that is the Green River Narrows.

Hiking: Triple Falls / High Falls / Hooker Falls

Triple Falls, High Falls, and Hooker Falls nip at the heels of Looking Glass Falls for the mantle of classic and most popular Western North Carolina waterfalls to visit. Due to their convenient access and aesthetic beauty, these cascades have been featured by Hollywood in movies like Hunger Games and Last of the Mohicans, and these sections of the Little River remain popular destinations for anglers, hikers, swimmers, and kayakers. Triple Falls and High Falls in particular are breathtakingly beautiful. Please use caution (and common sense) as the smooth wet granite rocks slope into the river and a fall can be very dangerous.

Tubing: Green River

Is there anything more invigorating and fun than floating down a sparkling mountain stream with friends and family? With a long season, clean and warm water, easy logistics, beautiful mountain views, and just the right amount of excitement, the Lower Green River will have you giggling, splashing, and leaving the stresses of day-to-day life in your wake.

Whistle Stop Pizza

Saluda Whistle Stop is a family-owned and operated restaurant that prioritizes fresh ingredients and a family-friendly atmosphere. With indoor and outdoor seating, delicious fare, and generous draft / canned / bottled beverage selection, this is no doubt a staple for our staff and guests.

Green River BBQ

Green River BBQ is an establishment in Saluda... in business since 1984, and still serving hickory-smoked goodness through every season of the year. It is also woman-owned and features dog-friendly outdoor dining.

Wakey Monkey

This is your best bet for a great breakfast, coffee, smoothie, or all of the above before heading off for the day’s adventures. Located on a quaint side street in downtown Saluda, a meal at Wakey Monkey is accompanied by good music vibes, complimentary WiFi, and a very pleasant staff led by proprietor Matthew Noller.

Sierra Nevada Brewing

Sierra Nevada Brewing’s tagline is “family owned, operated and argued over.” With this authentic approach to business, the brewery’s selection of Asheville for their HQ2 was cheered by the community, and the campus is a must-visit for any WNC vacation. It’s clear as soon as visitors turn off the roundabout and onto the approach road that the visit will be an experience. Drawing inspiration from the approach road to the Biltmore Estate (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted), Sierra Nevada’s driveway reveals a sprawling and world class facility… a veritable Promised Land for beer enthusiasts. Once on campus, visitors are treated to a food menu that is beautiful in its simplicity, optional facility tours, rotating taps, several bars, and several event venues that are utilized for concerts, weddings, corporate events, and other gatherings.

Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is one of Western North Carolina’s biggest tourist draws, and belongs on anyone’s bucket list. Harking back to the Gilded Age, the structure and grounds are steeped in American and world history, and to this day remain the largest home in the United States. The home was envisioned and brought to fruition by George Vanderbilt, with the help of the best architects, construction minds, and artisans of his time. George was grandson of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, who created the vast majority of the railroads in the United States, and was one of several titans of industry who invented the hostile takeover that eventually resulted in modern anti-trust legislation. The home is a captivating experience for the entire family, and the Vanderbilt heirs, the Cecils, are philanthropic and engaged members of the Asheville community.

Tryon Equestrian Center

The Tryon International Equestrian Center is an international hub for horseback riding and competition. They host 40 weeks of Olympic Level competition.

Hands On! Children’s Museum in Hendersonville, NC

The Hands On! Children's Museum in Hendersonville, NC is a fun and interactive educational space designed for children aged 1-10. The museum features a wide range of hands-on exhibits, including a grocery store, a vet clinic, a giant Lite-Brite, a puppet theater, and much more. The museum also offers various programs and events throughout the year, such as art classes, science experiments, and music workshops. It's a great place for kids to learn and play in a safe and engaging environment. The Museum is focused on science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM), as well as literacy and cultural diversity.

Mineral and Lapidary Museum, Hendersonville NC

The Mineral & Lapidary Museum is a museum located in Hendersonville, North Carolina that showcases a wide variety of minerals, fossils, gemstones, and lapidary art. The museum was founded in 1997 by a group of rockhounds and mineral enthusiasts who wanted to share their passion for geology with the local community. The museum's collection includes over 4,500 specimens from around the world, ranging from common minerals like quartz and feldspar to rare and exotic gems like alexandrite and kunzite. There are also displays of fossils from various geological periods, including trilobites, ammonites, and dinosaur bones. In addition to the mineral and fossil specimens, the museum features a collection of lapidary art, which is the art of cutting and polishing stones to create jewelry, sculptures, and other decorative objects. The lapidary collection includes examples of cabochons, faceted gems, and intricate stone carvings. The museum offers a range of educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages, including guided tours, hands-on workshops, and special events. Visitors can learn about geology, mineralogy, and lapidary art through interactive exhibits and displays, and can even try their hand at polishing stones or making their own jewelry. Overall, the Mineral & Lapidary Museum is a fascinating and educational destination for anyone interested in the natural world, gems and minerals, or the art of lapidary.