Are you looking for an outdoor adventure lover’s paradise? Asheville is consistently voted as one of the top spots for adrenaline sports, in the USA. Noted by National Geographic and SportsEvents magazine, the region’s natural wonders create the ultimate playground for hikers, bikers, rafters and thrill-seekers.
Let’s take a look at the top seven Asheville adventure activities.
1. Adventure Centre of Asheville
Action awaits for the whole family at The Adventure Centre of Asheville, located just five minutes from downtown. Choose from an array of exciting options with views of the city, mountains and majestic treetops. You’ll even learn about the history of Asheville while zooming across 11 ziplines, with Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures.
For children, the centre also accommodates KidZip, the first zipline adventure in the US for ages four to ten. With a professional guide, climbing elements and canopy tours closer to the ground, it’s the perfect introduction to high-flying fun. As if that’s not enough, you’ll also find adventure trails, rappelling challenges, harnessed tree climbing, the QuickJump free fall and Kolo Bike Park with purpose-built trails.
2. Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking
With six rivers in the nearby region, Asheville adventure activities make a splash with rafting and kayaking enthusiasts. You don’t need experience or equipment either, as each area provides tours and guides to help you get out on the water.
Close to many Asheville real estate hotspots, such as Grove Park Cove, the French Broad River is the world’s third-oldest, situated in the Pisgah National Forest. While exploring the river you’ll see an abundance of wildlife, including eagles, heron and maybe even a black bear or two. Class II rapids make rafting trips ideal for families with children.
3. Mountain Biking
Mountain biking in Asheville offers incredible views with every ride. Trails for all levels of experience wind through forests, rolling terrain and wildlife habitats. For beginners, cross footbridges over Bent Creek on the Homestead Trail. Deer Lake Lodge starts on a downhill run at the Rice Pinnacle parking area, for twists and turns through woodland.
Explore mountain laurel tunnels on the Wolf Branch trail, which is mostly flat but technical enough for intermediate riders. Those looking for speed find it at Green’s Lick. The advanced single track drops for 800 feet, with big jumps for thrills. Finally, biking is a family-friendly, fun way to discover the Biltmore Estate and the French Broad River.
4. Horseback Riding
Whether you have your own horse or just like to go for a canter on the weekend, Asheville provides scenic opportunities. Situated within the natural wonders of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wolf Laurel Stables offers tours for all skill levels. The team at Cedar Creek Stables guide you over trails lined with laurel thickets, across creeks and towards mountain top views.
In the DuPont State Forest, you can explore a two hour loop to see cascading waterfalls, on a self-guided tour. Then, there’s the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with approximately 550 miles of trails. They’re specifically designated for horses and you can pick up a map from the visitor’s center.
5. Fly Fishing
Anglers flock to Asheville, with pristine streams and creeks swarming with trout, large mouth bass, crappie, sunfish and more. Wilson’s Creek, off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is so clear you’ll spot your fish before you even get to the water. The Davidson River offers easy, roadside access, big trout and an array of fishing styles.
Thick rhododendrons and Brook Trout await at Mills River, south of Asheville. Locals love Shelton Laurel Creek, a delayed harvest stream stocked with more than 3,000 trout each season. If you’d like professional instruction you can learn the basics of casting on the French Broad River, at the Biltmore Estate Fly Fishing School.
6. Asheville Adventure Activities on the Snow
Winter in Asheville is pleasantly mild, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on snowy Asheville adventures. With 15 ski runs, 4 chairlifts and a ski school, The Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is just a short 30 minute drive from town. Further afield, Sugar Mountain Resort is perfect for a weekend escape, with tubing, ice skating and snowshoeing over 125 acres of skiable terrain.
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sapphire Valley boasts a state-of-the-art quad lift, a 500-foot snow tubing run and a 1,600 foot main run with a vertical drop of 200 feet. Then, there’s the Cataloochee Ski Area in the Great Snowy Mountains, with 18 slopes, three lifts and 50 acres for fun in the snow.
7. Adventure in the Skies
Taking to the skies is one of the best ways to soak up Asheville mountain views. Options abound, including sunrise hot air ballooning over the Great Smoky Mountains. Asheville Helicopter Tours give you a bird’s eye view of landmarks and the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Finally, for serious thrill-seekers, Skydive Caroline will take you 14,000 feet into the North Carolina sky.
With so many Asheville adventure activities to choose from, this is a city that truly lives up to its reputation as one of the top global destinations for adrenaline sports.
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