Last Updated on May 3, 2023
Are you ready for the ultimate destination in outdoor adventures? The unincorporated community of Pisgah Forest, NC, is surrounded by more than 100,000 acres of public land. That makes the area a choice spot for biking, camping, climbing, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, fishing, paddling, sightseeing—and so much more!
Whether you’re vacationing or stay-cationing, Pisgah Forest offers residents and visitors alike many opportunities to Live Abundantly in WNC. Here’s a quick itinerary for an eventful weekend in Pisgah Forest, NC.
Friday evening in Pisgah Forest, NC
Check “inn” at the Key Falls Inn
Relax, enjoy, and breathe in all that the Key Falls Inn has to offer. This 1860s Victorian home turned bed and breakfast comes complete with its own waterfall and creek that flow into the French Broad River. The beautifully landscaped grounds include a tennis court, horseshoe area, and an onsite restaurant called The Pavilion. There’s even a hiking trail available for your enjoyment. In addition to the main house, the Pisgah Forest Cabin can serve as a romantic weekend getaway or private group hub, as it sleeps six.
Don’t be afraid to get messy at dinner
Pisgah Forest is home to some of the best barbecue in Transylvania County. Mountain bikers, hikers, campers, local patrons, tourists, and leaf lookers all enjoy a satisfying visit to Hawg Wild BBQ. In 1997, it started as a neighborhood gathering place at the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest for great barbecue, fun, and life-long memories. The locally owned and operated restaurant specializes in Eastern and Western-style BBQ pork, in addition to slow-smoked chicken, brisket, and ribs. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to leave with a smile—and maybe some sauce—on your face.
Wind down with a local brew
You don’t have to go far from Hawg Wild for an after-dinner beer. Ecusta Brewing is just next door. The brewery is located at the entrance to the Pisgah National Forest and offers outdoor seating next to the beautiful Davidson River. If you ask us, that makes it the perfect place to wind down after a long day. Their taproom features signature brews and a few seasonals, and dogs are always welcome on the patio.
Watch for shooting stars
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) in nearby Rosman is a protected astronomical site with more than 30 buildings, four radio telescopes, 11 optical telescopes, five weather and atmospheric monitoring stations, and various other instruments and educational features. PARI is the state’s second certified Dark Sky Park, and its forested location makes it a prime spot to view the starry sky. They host stargazing during SkyTrek Observing Sessions throughout the year at a specially built observation deck high on a ridge.
Saturday in Pisgah Forest, NC
Fuel up for the trail
You have a big day ahead, so we recommend fueling up early. If you’re heading out on a trail, make a pit stop at the Velvet Cup Coffee Truck. The Velvet Cup’s entire menu is sourced locally and features all your caffeinated favorites, plus smoothies, protein shakes, and hot, fresh mini doughnuts. For a special treat on a cool mountain morning, we recommend their signature beverage, the Velvet Revolver. It’s a blended concoction of freshly brewed, organic, Fair Trade espresso; organic MCT coconut oil; and organic grass-fed unsalted butter, served hot.
Get your gear! …
There are hundreds of miles of trails to explore around Pisgah Forest on any given weekend. And one of the best ways to do that is on a bike. Mountain bikers take the sport seriously here, so you know you’re bound to find some of the best bike shops around. The Hub is a great place for awesome bicycles, killer outdoor gear, friendly service, and cold craft beer, just to name one.
There are also plenty of outdoor retailers in the area who have the gear you need for other mountain sports. As Brevard’s premier outdoor retailer, D.D. Bullwinkel’s is committed to providing the best items and supplies the outdoor industry has to offer. A few miles west of town, master guides at Headwaters Outfitters help residents and visitors alike take advantage of all the French Broad River has to offer.
… And get outside!
It’s easy to stay active year round in Pisgah Forest and discover countless opportunities for outdoor adventures just over the next hill. 88,000 acres of Pisgah National Forest, the 10,000-acre DuPont State Park, and the 7,600-acre Georges State Park surround you.
Waterfall Hiking in Pisgah Forest
The summer is a great time to hike to a stunning waterfall and spend an afternoon in one of our natural mountain swimming holes. There are also a number of great, dog-friendly hikes in the area, if Fido is with you for your weekend in Pisgah Forest. Among the most popular hikes in the area is the 30.1-mile Art Loeb Trail, also one of the longer and more difficult trails in the state. Traveling mainly along peaks and ridges, it skirts along the southwestern rim of the Davidson River valley; its southern trailhead sits near the Davidson River Campground.
Mountain Biking and Riding in Pisgah Forest
As mentioned above, Pisgah Forest is a great destination for mountain biking, too. Bracken Mountain Preserve, maintained by the City of Brevard, is a great location for beginning and experienced mountain bikers. Although, some of our favorite biking trails are Thrift Cove and Cove Creek. While you’re on the trail, keep an eye out for signs with the horse-use symbol. Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest offer miles of trails for all levels of horseback riders—more than 40 miles in Nantahala alone!
Fishing in Pisgah Forest
If you prefer a quieter approach to the outdoors, the French Broad and its tributaries are home to some prime fishing opportunities. Fly fishing for trout on the Davidson River is one of our favorite activities. DuPont State Recreational Forest contains five lakes that are classified as inland-public fishing waters and are also great spots to catch wild trout.
Enjoy a meal that’s all that and dim sum
It’s a rare small mountain town that can boast of an equal number of barbecue joints and ice cream parlors—and just as many Asian restaurants. But Brevard is a rare place, indeed. Within a short stretch along Asheville Highway, you can take your pick of three delicious Asian restaurants. Sora Japanese offers authentic Japanese and Thai dishes, including the best sushi around. Fuji Yama heaps your plate with no-nonsense hibachi and teriyaki dishes. And located between them, Twin Dragons Grand Buffet takes the “grand” in their name seriously. Visit them for an enormous, all-you-can-eat buffet with as many various options as you can imagine!
Satisfy your sweet tooth
After a long day of sweating off calories in the woods, you deserve a treat. Dolly’s Ice Cream (a.k.a. Dolly’s Dairy Bar) has been a local favorite for decades. Their homemade flavors run the gamut, and so do their flavor names. Enjoy classics like vanilla, peach, or rainbow sherbet. Or try one of Dolly’s Exciting Camp Flavors, uniquely designed by local summer camps each season. If you ask us, Pisgah Perfection lives up to its name! Dolly’s is located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, making it a popular spot to cool off after a long day outdoors.
Sunday in Pisgah Forest, NC
Make it a brew-tiful day
Commune with the mountains over a hot cup of locally roasted coffee. Pisgah Coffee Roasters offers global coffee with a local flavor, right from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They draw inspiration from the natural wonders in the area, which is reflected in both their bag design and roast names. The minority-owned, family-operated company brings 45+ years of experience to every batch they roast. Stop in for one of their signature espresso-based lattes.
Take a walk on the wild side
Western North Carolina is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. But encountering animals in their natural habitat can sometimes be dangerous for both you and them. That’s why we prefer meeting creatures through one of the wildlife programs in our region.
Located next to the state’s largest trout hatchery, the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education & Fish Hatchery promotes North Carolina’s mountain wildlife and habitats through programs, trails, and outdoor skills training. Large on-site aquariums represent five aquatic habitats and hold colorful fish, salamanders, snakes, and toads. In addition, participants of all ages can take hands-on courses from experts in archery, fishing, tracking, and more. As a part of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, admission is free and so are many of their programs.
See where it all began
The Cradle of Forestry heritage site is the birthplace of science-based forest management in America. Today, the destination offers visitors the opportunity to explore environmental sustainability and stewardship through paved interpretive trails, interactive exhibits, guided tours, nature programs, and special events. Each May, blue ghost fireflies (native to the Southern Appalachians) spread their bluish glow over the forest floor. Cradle of Forestry naturalists lead you along paved trails in search of these creatures that have inspired so much local folklore.
Scout out some local art
Everything in nature that you’ve experienced this weekend also inspires local artists who live in and around Pisgah Forest. And many local artists display their work in gallery fronts in the heart of Brevard. The town is a vibrant and walkable hub of independent shops, boutiques, pubs, and eateries. And it features a diverse selection of local art. Put on a pair of comfortable shoes and enjoy a fun evening exploring downtown Brevard’s art galleries. You can discover more local galleries and studios on the Scenic 276 South Fine Art & Craft Corridor, a 13-mile stretch of state road heading from town to the South Carolina line.
Spend every weekend in Pisgah Forest, NC!
Pisgah Forest is an unincorporated community that sits along US Route 64 just northeast of Brevard, NC. The headwaters of the French Broad River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, are located nearby, giving the area proximity to Transylvania County’s 250 waterfalls. More than half of the land in the surrounding county is publicly owned and protected. Together, these lands offer myriad opportunities for outdoor adventures of all kinds.
Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Search for homes in Pisgah Forest now!