5 ways to explore Asheville's stunning Appalachian Mountains
Asheville, North Carolina, is not only a city rich in art and culture, located between the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains, it also offers amazing possibilities to enjoy nature and landscapes. If you want to discover the “Land of the Sky” in another way, here are a few suggestions:
1. Take to the treetops with a forest canopy adventures
If you like your nature full of adrenalin, Navitat's canopy adventures are the place for you.
About 30 minutes from downtown Asheville, this company offers activities built into the treeline. Cross sky bridges, zip lines and abseil the forest… an excellent way to discover the region from another perspective.
Navitat is also the place where singer-songwriter Laetitia Shériff experienced the highlight of her trip around the United States when she took the leap and flew at 97 kilometres per hour, 100 metres from the ground, “I’m not going to forget the crazy zipline any time soon”, she said. Watch the video above to see her in action.
2. Cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway
Millions of visitors discover the Blue Ridge Parkway each year, one of the country's favourite drives. Around 750 kilometres of road connects Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina.
When the Parkway approaches the "Land of the Sky", you can find breathtaking scenery of some of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River. The landscapes also offer excellent spots for various activities such as hiking, picnicking and biking.
“It’s called the Blue Ridge Mountains because the trees emit a chemical called isoprene. It's kind of like sunblock for them, it protects them from the sun's UV rays. When the sun refracts off of that it makes them look blue from a distance”, explains Navitat guide, Charles Heard.
3. Play on one of the oldest rivers in the world
You can't fully appreciate the beauty of the area without visiting what brought it all to life: the French Broad River.
The river, which now gives drinking water to more than a million people, offers different activities, such as bellyak (like kayaking but lying flat on your stomach), rafting, fishing and float trips.
4. Discover the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This National Park is one of the most visited in the United States. The Smoky Mountains, also known as the Smokies, are also famous for the sea of blue clouds that can be seen from their peaks in early morning hours.
On the program: amazing waterfalls, guaranteed natural beauty, unforgettable hiking trails and stunning landscapes. If you want to discover the park, Asheville is the perfect place to start, as it is just an hour and a half from five entrances.
5. Raise your eyes to the sky
Asheville is a small city so produces minimal light pollution and the surrounding nature makes it a great place for stargazing.
Take a short drive into the mountains or join a public stargazing event hosted in the city where telescopes are provided.