The Bucket List

The Bucket List: 5 epic adventures in our great outdoors
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Western North Carolina presents no shortage of outdoor pursuits and awesome thrills in nature. Here, we sent three writers out to cover 5 of the very best outdoor adventures in hiking, biking, rafting, climbing, and fishing. And even if you’re a novice, we offer resources so you can partake too. Carpe diem!

Climb Looking Glass Rock

North Carolina’s most popular rock climbing route isn’t necessarily known for its difficulty or size. What sets it apart is the way it came to be: a first ascent marked by a tale of adventure, boldness, and ingenuity. In fact, the Nose on Looking Glass Rock in Pisgah National Forest embodies the very substance of North Carolina’s climbing tradition and is a perfect introduction to climbing, North Carolina-style: bold, exposed, and exciting. >>READ MORE

Bike the Blue Ridge

When it comes to epic rides on two wheels—think rolling stretches of roadway that undulate through mesmerizing scenery—the United States has quite a few to its credit. But arguably, one of the nation’s most iconic and beautiful stretches of asphalt is right here in Western North Carolina: the Blue Ridge Parkway. >>READ MORE

Fish the WNC Fly Fishing Trail  

On a cool spring morning, mist hovered above the still surface of the Tuckasegee River, which flows from Cashiers through Sylva, Dillsboro, and Bryson City en route to Fontana Lake. My fly fishing guide had me casting a San Juan worm into a hole full of finicky rainbows, and thanks to his patient tutelage, we were netting fish after fish. >>READ MORE

Hike the Black Mountain Crest Trail 

Sure, there are more famous footpaths in our neck of the woods. The Appalachian Trail, the Mountains to Sea Trail, the Art Loeb …all world-class adventures in their own right, and I’m not trying to take anything away from those adventures. They’re wonderful. But the Black Mountain Crest Trail has a certain cachet that I find irresistible because of its contrasting difficulty and beauty. >>READ MORE

Paddle the Wild & Scenic Chattooga

Western North Carolina possesses one of the country’s top playgrounds for paddlers. From notorious stretches of frothy whitewater, like those found in the expert-only Green River Narrows or along the Nantahala River, where Olympic kayakers train and compete, to more subdued floats on the French Broad River, the New through Ashe and Alleghany counties, or the kid-friendly Oconaluftee River in Cherokee, there’s something for every age and skill level. Though when it comes to that singular epic, bucket list-worthy whitewater experience in the Blue Ridge, seasoned paddlers point to the federally designated Wild and Scenic Chattooga River. >>READ MORE