Year round opportunities abound throughout the region for hiking, mountain biking, cycling, backpacking, camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowboarding, tubing, paddling and other outdoor activities in conservation areas, forests and other natural settings.
Off Bearwallow Mountain Road
Bearwallow Mountain is in eastern Henderson County at an elevation of 4,232 feet above sea level. Both the Bearwallow Mountain Trail and the Trombatore Trail start from the same parking lot on Bearwallow Mountain Road. Parking is limited so consider carpooling. The one mile-long Bearwallow Trail features a grassy meadow at its summit along with a historic fire tower and a 360° view that includes such area landmarks as downtown Hendersonville, Mt. Pisgah, Mt. Mitchell, Hickory Nut Gorge and upstate South Carolina. The Trombatore Trail is a 2.4-mile hike through a forest with significant changes in elevation and panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Bearwallow Mountain.
DUPONT STATE RECREATIONAL FOREST
Henderson Co/Transylvania Co Line
Stretching from Stone Mountain in Henderson County to Rich Mountain in Transylvania County, the 10,400acre DuPont State Recreational Forest contains a variety of plant communities including rich hardwood coves, groves of white pine, upland oaks, spray cliff plants and sedges on granite domes.
The forest features four spectacular waterfalls – Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, High Falls and Bridal Veil Falls – all within a three-hour walk along the Little River. In addition, Grassy Creek Falls, Wintergreen Falls and several mountain lakes can be found along the trails. The forest has approximately 80 miles of roads and trails open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. Visitor parking is available in six access areas located around the perimeter of the forest. Interior forest roads are not open to motorized vehicles. As part of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission's Game Lands program, parts of the forest are open to deer, turkey and small game hunting on certain days and by permit only. For fishing, DuPont features impoundments, warm-water streams and cold-water streams. A state fishing license is required. For more information about hunting or fishing, visit ncwildlife.org or call 919-707-0010. DuPont State Recreational Forest is open year-round during daylight hours. There is no public camping. Support for the forest also comes from the Friends of DuPont Forest, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the forest's preservation.
HOLMES EDUCATIONAL STATE FOREST
1299 Crab Creek Road, Hendersonville
9 am to 5 pm, Tue-Fri 10 am to 6 pm, Sat & Sun Open from March through November
Holmes Educational State Forest features five miles of well-tended trails that vary in length and difficulty. The trails showcase a variety of native trees marked for identification and 125 varieties of wildflowers. Displays and self-guided tours teach about nature, ecology and forest management. Along the unique, easy, half-mile “Talking Tree Trail,” the trees themselves tell passersby why their type of tree is important to the forest. Amenities include picnic shelters that can be reserved and picnic areas that can be used by people using wheelchairs.
UPPER HICKORY NUT GORGE TRAILHEAD 3836 Gerton Hwy, Gerton
Located on Highway 74 in the northeastern corner of Henderson County, this property is a trail access point. This trailhead park offers parking and access to hiking trails that lead to the Florence Preserve and the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge. Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Trailhead covers an area of 26 acres.
WILDCAT ROCK TRAIL
3823 Gerton Hwy, Gerton
Formerly known as the Little Bearwallow Falls Trail, Wildcat Rock Trail is a strenuous out-and-back 3-mile hike (6 miles total) that features a waterfall, views from a rock outcrop and a meadow along the ridge line. This trail can be customized for a short or long hike. After one-mile of hiking you reach these three natural features. The Wildcat Rock Trail was formerly known as the Little Bearwallow Falls Trail.
MORE OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
Hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, backpackers, campers and water sports enthusiasts will find even more outdoor fun just beyond Henderson County, making its location ideal for day trips and weekend getaways to such public lands, conserved spaces and private attractions as: • Appalachian Trail • Bent Creek Experimental Forest • The Biltmore Estate • Blue Ridge Parkway • Chimney Rock State Park • Gorges State Park • Grandfather Mountain • Great Smoky Mountains National Park • Lake James State Park • Mount Mitchell State Park • Nantahala National Forest • The North Carolina Arboretum • Panthertown Valley • Pearson's Falls & Glen • Pisgah National Forest
FISHING AND HUNTING
Anglers have bountiful opportunities in local rivers and lakes for fishing - including fly fishing - and public game lands offer hunting by permit.
For more information, visit:
The Hendersonville Visitor Center's page with local fishing resources at Visit HendersonvilleNC.org/Western-North-Carolina-Fishing-Information.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for information about required licenses and permits, rules and regulations, hunting seasons and where to fish and hunt at NCWildlife.org. The USDA Forest Service for information about fishing and hunting in national forests at FS.USDA.gov/Main/NFSNC/Home.
CYCLING AND MOUNTAIN BIKING
Blue Ridge Bicycle Club
Downtown Asheville Racing Club
North Carolina Bike Routes NCDOT.gov/BikePed/NCBikeways
Pisgah Area SORBA
Carolina Mountain Club
High Country Hikers
SNOW SKIING, SNOWBOARDING
Asheville Ski Club