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Explore the Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah - Looking Glass

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Come enjoy the sites and sounds that make Pisgah National Forest so worthy of preserving. Originally part of the Biltmore Estate, the 500,000 acre forest is a short 20-minute drive from Asheville.

Due to Pisgah’s sheer size, it is divided into three regions spanning 15 North Carolina counties with various outdoor activities for visitors. While Pisgah is perfect for recreation, it is also a natural forest with wilderness preserve areas protected from maintenance, so healthy respect of the elements is warranted. Fortunately,  Pisgah has a long history of forestry, it is home to the first school of forestry training rangers to understand and protect the forest. Discover all the ways to take advantage of the recreational activities only a forest-like Pisgah can host.


Top Activities in Pisgah National Forest

  1. Hiking.  Explore the many natural trails that are carved throughout the forest. Certain trails are maintained minimally and left to naturally grow. Some trails are more strenuous than others, but all boast views filled with the sights and sounds of nature. Hike to a waterfall, follow the whitewater rivers and maybe see some creatures along the way!
  2. Rock Climbing. Take part in a hands-on way to enjoy the mountains that make up Pisgah Forest. Race your friends to the top or rappel down with your family. Are you a novice? Take a guided climb and learn the correct way to scale the best mountains. 
  3. Mountain Biking. Are you an adrenaline junkie? Hop on a bike and ride deep through the rocky hills and wooded forest terrain. Lack the experience for the unstable terrain? Ride on the forest roads available to visitors and forest rangers. 
  4. Horseback Riding. Experience the wonders of nature with a peaceful trail ride on the back of a horse. Bring your own horse and camp at horse-friendly campsites, or enjoy a trail ride through the forest with guided tour groups. 
  5. Fishing. Cast a line into miles of rivers and lakes that flow through the Pisgah Forest. Pisgah is home to numerous types of fresh and saltwater fish and represents some of the best fishing spots near Asheville. Rest easy and admire the sounds of nature as you reel in.  
  6. Water Activities. Take a dip or ride a kayak or paddleboard in the scenic lakes and rivers that make up this natural forest. Feeling adventurous? Ride a natural waterfall, better than any roller coaster, known as Sliding Rock. A smooth rock surface with enough moving water to shoot your down the hill into a pool of cool mountain water. The perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day. 
  7. Camping. Can’t decide what to do? Do them all! Go camping, roast marshmallows, tell scary stories–pitch a tent and stay awhile. Not interested in roughing it? Curl up in a cabin for a romantic weekend for two. Spend a weekend enjoying all Pisgah national forest has to offer. 


Whether you are there for a day or a week, with friends or family, Pisgah National Forest has everything you need for peaceful relaxation or thrilling recreation. If the outdoor scene is just not you but you enjoy history, take a day to explore Asheville’s Urban Trail or PARI Learning Center

Pisgah National Forest is the perfect place to go for outdoor recreation. Located just under an hour away from Avalon, residents will have no trouble enjoying a hike, ride or climb for the day–or longer!

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