Scenic Views and Spectacular Vistas South of Asheville
South of Downtown Asheville, NC there are so many spectacular spots you could spend ten years or a lifetime visiting all of them. Here are a few highlights. The Biltmore Estate, is the best know tourist destinations in Asheville and its grounds are something to be marveled at. Meticulously manicured, the Biltmore Estate shouldn’t be missed, and is part of this region’s history. The Blue Ridge Parkway is always stunning and offers favorites like Devil’s Courthouse, Graveyard Fields, and mile marker 417, a.k.a “Skinny Dip Falls”. The Pisgah National Forest is an outdoor enthusiast playground with hiking, biking, camping and spectacular vistas galore. Brevard is commonly known as “Waterfall Country,” and DuPont State Forest offers some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in all of Western North Carolina.
Biltmore Estate Grounds
The Biltmore Mansion aside, the grounds of the Biltmore Estate are picturesque, meticulously manicured, and offer memorable, and very scenic views. The Biltmore Estate grounds offer a multitude of outdoor activities and have meandering streams that make a perfect place to picnic when the weather is nice. Accessing the grounds will require a ticket or pass.
Pisgah National Forest South
The Pisgah National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts no matter what their ilk. The National Forest offers a wide range of recreating options. To mention just a few, there's hiking and back-packing, camping, fishing, biking, horse-back riding, swimming, rock climbing, car tour sightseeing, waterfalls, wildlife, historical areas, and a array of exceptional programs to choose from, including everything from lectures to guided hikes and square dancing. If you live in the Asheville Area, this is THE outdoor enthusiast’s playground location. There are so many beautiful places in this tract of nationally protected forest, that in one lifetime you couldn’t see all that it has to offer. From Asheville, traveling the Parkway south is one option to access the southern portion of the Pisgah National Forest. The other would be to take 240 West to I-26 South to exit 40 (old exit 9). Take a right off the exit ramp onto 280 (New Airport Rd) and follow 280 for approximately 18 miles south until you intersect with route 276. Take a right on 276 and you are at the doorstep to the Pisgah National Forest.
Note: Places of Interest in the Pisgah National Forest include, but are not limited to, the Pisgah Ranger District, Cradle of Forestry, Looking Glass Rock/Falls, Mount Hardy, Pink Beds, Richland Balsam, Bent Creek, Mills River, Davidson River, Shining Rock Wilderness Area, and the Middle Prong Wilderness Area.
Blue Ridge Parkway South
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a gem of Western NC, and no matter what section of it you decide to explore, disappointment is hardly an option. The Southern section of the Parkway is a very popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. A good portion of this section of the parkway is in the Pisgah National Forest. Highlights include, but are not limited to, Mt. Pisgah, Graveyard Fields, Devils Courthouse, and Richland Balsam.
For more information please consult our Blue Ridge Parkway page.
Visit our maps page for a map of the Blue Ridge Parkway
Devil's Courthouse is featured in Cherokee lore. This rugged mountaintop is home to a variety of rare and exotic plants, such as Spreading Avens and Rock Gnome Lichen. To help protect these delicate plants always stay on the trail when hiking the steep half-mile route to the bare rock summit. The view from the top is spectacular. It's a great place to watch the sunset.
Mile Marker 422.4
Approximately 500 to 1000 years ago, scientists postulate that there was a tremendous, “wind-blow” that knocked over and uprooted all the vegetation in this area. The Spruce trees took the brunt of this tumult, and over many years the uprooted trees rotted, and created mounds that took on the appearance of a gravestones. After convalescing, this area suffered a great fire in circa 1925, again laying waste to this ancient upside-down bald. Today this area is great for leaf watching, and is super accessible as far as hiking goes. This is an easy place to catch a sunset, have a picnic, or stick your feet in a cleansing mountain spring. Skinny Dip hole, another popular and very similar location is just up the way at Mile Marker 417. Both require a short hike to reach the water.
Note: Located at Mile Marker 418.8, this is an extremely popular area, and is almost always crowded with tourists and locals...so if crowds aren't your thing you might consider a different location.
At 3,266 feet, Caesars Head is a must see. Just over the border from Brevard into Cleveland South Carolina, you can literally see where the mountains end and the piedmont begins. The view at this granite outcropping is beyond spectacular, and a short hike down the escarpment affords you a prime view of Table Rock Cove and Table Rock State Park. To get to this wonder, go south on Route 276 from Brevard NC. In the fall, be a spectator to the hundreds of swooping, gliding, soaring, and migrating birds of prey. Hawks, kites, falcons, and eagles are among the variety that you might just be privy to.
For more information please visit the SC State Parks Website for Caesars Head.
DuPont State Forest
DuPont State Forest is located southeast of Brevard, and is in what the locals call, waterfall country. This region of Western North Carolina is remarkably alluring, and with a little exploration, at any of the 250 waterfalls this area boasts, one can come to appreciate and recognize just why Transylvania County is so spectacular. DuPont is home to approximately 100 miles of trails, unforgettable waterfalls, pristine lakes, and stunning vistas. To visit many of the falls and beautiful scenes one will need to do a minimal to moderate amount of walking or hiking. From Asheville, take I-26 east to Exit 40, and then take NC-280 toward Pisgah Forest. Turn left (east) on US-64 and go 3.7 miles to the Texaco station in Penrose. Turn right on Crab Creek Rd. and continue 4.3 miles and turn right on DuPont Rd. for 3.1 miles.
Note: Connestee falls are also very rewarding, and are in the same general vicinity, making them a great side trip.
Learn more about DuPont State Forest waterfalls by visiting our Waterfalls page.