Outdoor enthusiasts are well aware that the southwestern region of North Carolina is one of the most beautiful areas in the country. But the more causal nature lovers may not be familiar with places like the town of Brevard – where you can experience the great outdoors while still enjoying some perks of city living.
Brevard is located about 35 miles – or less than an hour’s drive – from Asheville. It’s perfectly surrounded by three of the most desirable recreation spots in the state: the Pisgah National Forest; DuPont State Forest; and Gorges State Park. All of which are an easy drive from the small town shops and restaurants downtown.
While some of the more popular landmarks in these places can certainly be flooded with tourists, a little homework can get you into peace and quiet with big rewards for making an extra long hike or slightly longer drive.
During my visit to Brevard, I enjoyed a variety of experiences that I’ll share with you in this post. This is a perfect place to try something new or even challenge yourself in an outdoor adventure. (Safely, of course.)
Waterfalls Are The Star
Brevard has as many as 250 waterfalls waiting for you to discover. Some you may drive by without even noticing while others are impossible to miss. Many are located deep in the woods and finding them requires some hiking and endurance. The most notable waterfalls can get quite busy but don’t skip them just because they’ll be crowded. Looking Glass Falls is probably the most popular and easily accessible in the Pisgah National Forest, a quick drive from downtown Brevard.
DuPont State Forest also has several notable waterfalls that can easily be found by hiking the well maintained trails that lead from a parking lot. Triple Falls was featured in the movie The Hunger Games and remains a popular place for photos.
Other waterfalls can be found in Gorges State Park – also an easy drive from Brevard. The park has at least 26 waterfalls that can be found on various trails that range in difficulty.
Some of the waterfalls are difficult to find but offer a rewarding challenge for anyone willing to put in the work. I set out to find Cedar Rock Creek Falls in the Pisgah National Forest – which proved to be slightly challenging. You really had to pay attention to directions to get there and the hike itself was full of tree roots that could twist an ankle. (I won’t lie, I came close a couple times to wiping out.) An unmarked downhill trail takes you to the waterfall. No signs. No ribbons. No arrows. Just don’t miss it about .75 miles into the journey.
Once I found the waterfall, I had it to myself and never saw another sole. It was definitely worth the moderate hike.
Get Outside and Try Something New!
Brevard is a terrific home base to explore the great outdoors. Whether you’ve always wanted to try paddle boarding, kayaking, mountain biking, or maybe even fly fishing – you can give it a shot during your visit.
I’ve always been curious about fly fishing and jumped at the chance to learn from a seasoned pro. Davidson Outfitters in Brevard can set you up on a guided outing to learn the basics and have a real life experience – something you’ll want to talk about when you get back home. We hit the chilly waters on a crisp September morning, decked out in all the proper gear, and within 30 minutes I was fly fishing on my own. ( With some verbal guidance and the occasional “un-tangling” of the line.)
Less than an hour in, I had caught a trout and shortly after that – I caught the limbs of a tree. Overall, still a great experience being in the fresh mountain air and feeling the immense strength of a raging river pressing against your legs.
Look For White Squirrels
As I mentioned to friends that I was headed to Brevard, almost all of them mentioned that I need to look for a white squirrel while I’m in town. Though I didn’t personally spot any while I was there (I did later in a nearby town) sightings of them are fairly common – especially near the local college campus. According to research, nearly 1 in 3 squirrels in Brevard are mostly white. The legend has it that a local resident received a pair of these white squirrels back in 1949. They escaped and began breeding in the wild. The squirrels in Brevard are not albino as some believe – they are what’s known as leucistic. Basically, they have a recessive gene that causes pigmentation loss.
Regardless of their color, I’m guessing they’d still chew their way into your attic like a normal squirrel.
Sure, you can find a run of the mill hotel chain here and there around Brevard. You can also find some pretty cool lodging options that are anything but typical.
Take for example, Pilot Cove which sits almost directly in front of the Pisgah National Forest. (The entrance sign is about 200 feet from the property line.) You’ll take a short but winding, super steep road that showcases small but amenity packed houses that are more than perfect for a home base as you explore the area.
The unit I stayed in had a large king sized bed, a small living room area with large smart TV, and a full sized kitchen with small dining room table. The unit had a washer and dryer, shower, small bathroom, and best of all – an incredible deck that faced directly into the woods.
Drive The Blue Ridge Parkway
One of the most scenic drives in America is just minutes away from Brevard. If you’ve never taken a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it truly is a mind blowing road trip with beautiful scenes at every twist and turn. The parkway winds around the top of Transylvania County and borders the Pisgah National Forest. You could spend an entire day just driving along and soaking up all of the incredible views.
So Much More!
When you’re finished with your outdoor adventures, come back into town for a great meal or to shop in one of the many locally owned shops in Brevard. There’s a popular farmers market, multiple breweries, several museums for unexpected rainy days and be sure to check out a concert at the world famous Brevard Music Center.
You can find even more things to see and experience in Brevard by visiting their official tourism website: https://explorebrevard.com/