Summer is the time when the days are long and the nights are short. The weather is warm, the crickets are chirping, and the great outdoors call to you! You know the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side?” Well, in Brevard, North Carolina during the Summer months, it truly is! Brevard sits right on the border of the Pisgah National Forest, meaning that hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, fishing, swimming, and rock climbing are just moments away. Then, a couple of minutes down the road is the DuPont State Forest and Gorges State Park; both of which offers even more hiking trails, waterfalls, swimming holes, and rock climbing adventures.
Hiking is a popular pastime in the mountains of Transylvania County because it offers over 1,000 miles of hiking trails for people of all ages and experiences. The Pisgah National Forest spans over 160,000 acres with 88,300 of them being in Transylvania County, and is also home to the Pisgah Ranger Station where hiking guides and information can be found. Hike the three mile ascent of Looking Glass Rock, have a picnic before you hike the five mile loop known as Pink Beds, or meander along the base of the Art Loeb for a peaceful walk next to the river.
The DuPont State Recreational Forest is just down the road on the border of Henderson County and encompasses 10,000 acres of rolling hills and rocky crags. This state forest offers well maintained trails that lead to the counties most breathtaking waterfalls! Hike to Triple Falls, High Falls, Hooker Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Grassy Creek Falls, and Wintergreen Falls. Once one has visited these waterfalls, it is easy to understand why DuPont is the most visited state forest in North Carolina!
Then there are the peaceful hikes in Gorges State Park that straddles the high ledges of the Jocassee Gorge for 8,000 acres. Hike to one of the twenty waterfalls or along the twenty miles of trails. In Gorges State Park there is an elevation change of nearly 2,000 feet in a matter of only four miles! This significant elevation change makes for some breathtaking scenery! The beautiful thing about Brevard is that a majority of the breathtaking scenery can be viewed for days once you pitch a tent! Camping is very popular in Transylvania County!
Everyone has their own ideas about what camping is. To some it is snoozing under the stars, for others it is a spacious tent and a warm sleeping bag, or it could be sleeping in a camper and enjoying warm showers after a stove cooked meal; no matter what your definition of camping is, Transylvania County has a campsite for you! These campsites range anywhere from private alcoves deep in the wilderness, to large public campgrounds with parking and showers! For more information about camping in the Pisgah National Forest, visit the Pisgah Ranger Station. For information about camping in Gorges State Park call (828) 966 – 9099. Unfortunately, DuPont State Recreational Forest does not allow camping, but there are multiple campsites dotted along the French Broad River!
If you choose to camp along the French Broad River then you should also look into canoeing or kayaking down it too! This river makes a long and flowing journey to the Gulf of Mexico. It got its name from the fact that it was broad and flowed into French territory, original huh? But it is believed to be the third oldest river in the world, which helps the fact that it has a boring name! This awesome river offers gentle currents or whitewater rafting, depending on where you go!
Cascade lake can also be used to have a gentle lake paddle, along with multiple other lakes throughout the county! The lower end of the Davidson River is also a popular spot for class II whitewater rapids! The French Broad, Davidson, and Little River also host class III-V rapids. For more information on this exhilarating hobby contact Pura Vida Adventures, Headwater Outfitters, and Lake Toxaway Marine!
Another exhilarating hobby that many enjoy here is the cycling! Transylvania County is often referred to as the “Cycling Capital of the South.” With more than 300 miles of single tracks and many more miles of roads, it is no surprise that Transylvania County is seen as a mecca for cycling enthusiasts. Every year, the town of Brevard hosts multiple cycling events and festivals. These events take bikers through Downtown Brevard and deep into the wilderness. The Pisgah National Forest offers more than 180 miles of biking trails, while DuPont offers 82, and Gorges State Park offers 12! Not to mention our beautiful stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway where many love to coast their bikes along the winding road! As you guide your bike through the beautiful wilderness of the Pisgah National Forest, pull over onto one of the many pull offs and enjoy some fresh water fishing!
Did you know that Transylvania County is known as one of the best places in the state for fly-fishing? The fact that we have over 500 miles of creeks, streams, and rivers also helps! The fish here average around twelve inches. Spend the days catching brown, brook, and rainbow trout in the French Broad and Davidson Rivers! The popular fishing guides in the area are Davidson River Outfitters and Headwater Outfitters, so contact them for more information!
Swimming is also a big pastime in Transylvania County. With the well-known Sliding Rock, one can experience mother natures finest water slide! Located within the Pisgah National Forest, Sliding Rock is a popular place for swimmers! Many places in the Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest are filled with swimmers during the Summer. More popular spots include Fawn Lake, Coontree, Sycamore Flats, and Hooker Falls. Please remember that it is illegal to swim 300 feet above a waterfall! Once you are done swimming head on over to Looking Glass Waterfall to view the most popular waterfall in Transylvania County! When you are done gazing at this amazing work of nature go to the rock that gave this beautiful waterfall its name!
Looking Glass Rock is a pluton monolith located in the Pisgah National Forest. Towering 4,000 feet above the forest floor, this large granite rock is a perfect place to hike, camp, and test your rock climbing skills! Tread the thin line between frightening and fun as you test yourself on the North Side, The Sun Wall, and the South Side of the rock. Another popular rock climbing spot in Transylvania is Cedar Rock in the Dupont State Forest. Or you can step into the land of air conditioning while you climb at the Brevard Rock Gym.
No matter what outdoor activity you prefer, from strolling around on the trails, sleeping under the stars, paddling through the currents, cycling the curvy mountain roads, fishing for beautiful fresh-water fish, swimming with the beautiful fish, to getting your daily dose of adrenaline suspended from the side of a rock; Transylvania County has something to offer you! Don’t spend your summer cooped up inside! Get out, have fun, and create memories that will last a lifetime!