Outdoor Adventures Every North Carolinian Should Try: Western NC


Katie Quine


Erin Reitz

Forage for plants and mushrooms
“Foraging is like a yard sale,” says Alan Muskat of Wild Food Adventures in Asheville. You never know what kind of plants and mushrooms you’ll find, so learn the difference between what’s edible and poisonous on one of Muskat’s tours. He’ll teach you how to cook certain mushrooms yourself, or you can take your finds to select restaurants in the area that will prepare them in a dish for you.

Wild Food Adventures
(828) 209-8599 or notastelikehome.org

Go to the summit of Grandfather Mountain
Conquer your fear of heights atop Grandfather Mountain’s suspension bridge, which gently sways with the breeze and the shuffling feet that cross it. “Along with the mountain’s famous profile, the Mile High Swinging Bridge is one of Grandfather’s most iconic features,” says Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. It can be chilly up there, so take a jacket.

Grandfather Mountain
2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville
(800) 468-7325 or grandfather.com

Learn how to fly-fish
Fly-fishing is more challenging than simply dropping a hook and line into a stream. North Carolina’s temperate climate makes for excellent year-round trout fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Learn from the pros on a guided trip with Fly Fishing the Smokies.

Fly Fishing the Smokies
(828) 488-7665 or flyfishingthesmokies.net

Go mountain biking
Ride along Brevard’s backwoods with guides who know the terrain better than anyone. Pura Vida Adventures customizes its biking trips according to skill level, and beginners will especially enjoy the waterfall tour through the scenic DuPont State Forest.

Pura Vida Adventures
(772) 579-0005 or pvadventures.com

Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
So maybe you don’t have the time — or stamina — to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. That’s okay. Just head for one of our favorite parts: the trail between the town of Hot Springs and Max Patch, which is almost 13-miles-long. Max Patch, a bald that offers sweeping 360-degree views, is the ideal place to watch the most unimaginable sunsets.