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Unique Ways to Experience the North Carolina Mountains

Dragon's Breath Trail

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Western North Carolina is a picturesque part of the country. The mountains add stunning scenery to everyday life. You simply cannot take in all that there is to see on foot. Luckily, there are some very unique ways to see lots more of this breathtaking landscape!

Take to the Sky…

One of the most exciting ways to tour the Western North Carolina mountains is in the air, on a hot air balloon ride! You will get a bird’s eye view as you pass over the mountains and valleys of the region. There are several hot air balloon companies, and most tours start at sunrise. Two of the most popular balloon tour rides follow:

1. Asheville Balloon Company

  • Flies over Blue Ridge Mountains
  • FAA certified balloon pilots who are highly experienced
  • Book a flight

2. Balloons Over Asheville

  • 1st balloon company in Western NC
  • Over 30 years of experience
  • FAA certified balloon pilots
  • Book a flight

Grab a Saddle…

Another great way to experience the NC mountains is on horseback. As you explore the trails, you are able to stop when you like and can choose the path you’d like to take. It is a wonderful way to explore your setting. There are many different stables to choose from. Three good ones to try are below:

1. Pisgah Stables

  • Tour Pisgah National Forest
  • Choose from 1, 2, or 3 hour tours
  • A separate 3 hour waterfall tour is also available
  • Experienced CPR and first aid certified trail guides
  • For directions and reservations

2. Sandy Bottom Trail Rides

  • Family owned for 4 generations
  • Choose from 1, 2, 3, or 4 hour rides
  • Trails go through high country, meadows, and wooded areas
  • Experienced trail guides
  • For directions and reservations

3. Wolf Laurel Stables

  • Ride through mountain forest along Bald Mountain Creek
  • Choose from 1 to 7 hour tour rides
  • Experienced guides
  • 20 miles of trails
  • For directions and reservations

Hit the Tracks…

A train tour is also a fun way to tour Western NC. The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, which departs from the Bryson City Train Depot, has been featured in USA Today. It offers a variety of scenic tours, such as the Nantahala Gorge Excursion and the Tuckasegee River Excursion. There are also special event tours throughout the year, such as The Polar Express Train Ride and the Peanuts Great Pumpkin Patch Express. Tours range from 3 ½ hours to full day excursions. You will ride through the countryside, through river gorges, valleys, and take in beautiful mountain views. There are 53 miles of track, 2 tunnels, and 25 bridges along the way! For more information and to make reservations visit the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad site.

As you can see, there are some very cool and different ways to explore Western North Carolina. Try one, or, better yet, all three, of these fun tours. You will enjoy every moment exploring this beautiful area!

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