10 Great Things to Do in Pisgah National Forest – An Adventure Guide!

Pisgah National Forest, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, offers a diverse range of activities for nature enthusiasts.

This expansive forest, covering over 500,000 acres, is a haven for outdoor activities, wildlife observation, and exploring the natural beauty of the region. In this article, we’ll explore ten great things to do in Pisgah National Forest, providing an in-depth look at each activity to help you plan a memorable visit.

10. Hiking the Trails

Hiking the Trails

Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Pisgah National Forest. The forest boasts hundreds of miles of trails that cater to all skill levels. The trails wind through lush forests, lead to stunning waterfalls, and offer breathtaking mountain views. One of the most famous trails is the Art Loeb Trail, a challenging trek that spans over 30 miles and offers some of the best views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hikers can experience a variety of landscapes, from dense forests to open balds with panoramic vistas.

9. Mountain Biking Adventures

Mountain biking enthusiasts will find Pisgah National Forest a paradise. The forest is renowned for its challenging and diverse mountain biking trails. Trails like the Black Mountain Trail and the Bent Creek Trail System offer a range of difficulty levels, from beginner-friendly paths to adrenaline-pumping descents for more experienced riders. The terrain varies, with some trails featuring rocky paths, steep inclines, and tight switchbacks, ensuring an exciting ride through the natural landscape.

8. Fishing in Pristine Waters

Fishing in Pristine Waters

Pisgah National Forest is home to some of the best trout fishing in North Carolina. The forest’s streams and rivers, such as the Davidson River and the North Mills River, are stocked with trout and provide excellent opportunities for fly fishing. Anglers can find rainbow, brook, and brown trout in these waters. Fishing in the serene surroundings of the forest offers a peaceful escape and a chance to connect with nature.

7. Exploring Waterfalls


The forest is famous for its stunning waterfalls, each offering a unique experience. One of the most visited waterfalls is Looking Glass Falls, easily accessible and majestic in its beauty. For those willing to hike, Moore Cove Falls provides a spectacular view, and the falls cascade over a rock ledge, creating a natural amphitheater. Exploring these waterfalls involves short hikes through beautiful forested areas, leading to some of the most picturesque spots in the forest.

6. Camping Under the Stars

Camping Under the Stars

Camping in Pisgah National Forest is an experience like no other. The forest offers a range of camping options, from developed campgrounds with amenities to primitive backcountry sites for a more rugged experience. Camping allows visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the forest, with opportunities to stargaze, enjoy campfires, and wake up to the sounds of nature. Campsites are available throughout the forest, offering a variety of experiences depending on the location.

5. Horseback Riding Through Scenic Trails

Horseback Riding Through Scenic Trails

Horseback riding is another way to explore the vastness of Pisgah National Forest. The forest offers several trails designated for horseback riding, providing a unique perspective of the landscape. Trails like the Trace Ridge Trail and the Wash Creek Horse Trail offer scenic rides through the forest, meadows, and along streams. Horseback riding in the forest is a relaxing way to experience the tranquility and beauty of the natural surroundings.

4. Wildlife Observation and Photography

Wildlife Observation and Photography

For wildlife enthusiasts and photographers, Pisgah National Forest is a treasure trove of biodiversity. The forest is home to a wide range of wildlife, including black bears, deer, wild turkeys, and numerous bird species. The diverse habitats in the forest provide excellent opportunities for wildlife observation and photography. Visitors can capture stunning images of the flora and fauna, along with the beautiful landscapes that make the forest a photographer’s paradise.

3. Picnicking Amidst Nature


Picnicking in Pisgah National Forest is a delightful way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. The forest offers several picnic areas, some located near streams or with mountain views, providing a perfect setting for a leisurely meal. Picnic areas like the Pink Beds Picnic Area and the Coontree Picnic Area offer tables, grills, and nearby hiking trails, making them ideal spots for a day trip in the forest.

2. Canoeing and Kayaking


The waterways of Pisgah National Forest offer excellent opportunities for canoeing and kayaking. The French Broad River and other smaller streams provide varying levels of difficulty, catering to both beginners and experienced paddlers. Paddling in the forest allows visitors to explore the waterways at their own pace, enjoying the serene environment and the chance to see wildlife along the riverbanks.

1. Educational Programs and Visitor Centers

Pisgah National Forest offers educational programs and has several visitor centers that provide valuable information about the forest’s history, ecology, and recreational opportunities. The Pisgah Ranger District Visitor Center and the Cradle of Forestry in America offer interactive exhibits, guided tours, and educational programs for all ages.


Are there any guided tours available in Pisgah National Forest?

Yes, Pisgah National Forest offers guided tours, particularly through the Cradle of Forestry in America. These tours often focus on the historical and ecological aspects of the forest, providing an educational experience for visitors. Additionally, local adventure companies offer guided hiking, biking, and fishing tours.

What are the options for lodging near Pisgah National Forest?

While camping is popular within the forest, there are also various lodging options nearby. These include cabins, inns, and bed-and-breakfast establishments, providing comfort close to the forest. The towns of Brevard, Asheville, and Pisgah Forest have a range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences.

Is Pisgah National Forest accessible throughout the year?

Pisgah National Forest is open year-round. However, certain facilities and areas might be closed during the winter months due to weather conditions. It’s advisable to check the current conditions and operating hours for specific areas and amenities before planning your visit.

Are there any restrictions or permits required for activities in Pisgah National Forest?

While general access to the forest doesn’t require permits, specific activities like backcountry camping, fishing, and gathering certain forest products may require permits. It’s best to check the latest regulations and permit requirements on the official website or at a visitor center.

Can I bring my pet to Pisgah National Forest?

Pets are allowed in most areas of Pisgah National Forest, but they must be kept on a leash. It’s important for pet owners to be responsible, especially regarding wildlife interactions and ensuring their pets don’t disturb the natural habitat.

Are there any unique plants or animals to look out for in Pisgah National Forest?

Pisgah National Forest is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Unique plants include the Pink Lady’s Slipper and the Flame Azalea. For wildlife, visitors might spot salamanders, which are abundant in the forest, and birds like the Peregrine Falcon. Always view wildlife from a safe and respectful distance.

Final Words

In conclusion, Pisgah National Forest is a remarkable destination that offers a diverse array of activities and experiences for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you’re trekking along its scenic trails, mountain biking through rugged paths, fishing in its pristine waters, or simply enjoying a peaceful picnic amidst the forest’s natural beauty, Pisgah provides a unique and unforgettable experience.

The forest not only serves as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts but also plays a crucial role in wildlife conservation and environmental education.

As you plan your visit, remember to respect the natural environment and cherish the memories you’ll create in this extraordinary slice of nature’s bounty. Pisgah National Forest is more than just a destination; it’s a gateway to exploring the wonders of the natural world and rediscovering your connection with nature.