EVENTS

Fly Fishing Event

Tenkara Jam, Cherokee, N.C.


Favorites:
Mossy Creek Invitational, Va.
WNC Fly Fishing Expo, N.C.

For two days, tenkara junkies from far and wide flock to the Smokies to learn about rods and gear, clubs and stream advocacy, and just about anything else related to tenkara angling. New anglers and seasoned guides alike will learn something new at this one-of-a-kind fly fishing event.

Costumed Event

Superhero Race, Roanoke, Va.


Favorites:
Trick or Treat Train, Ky.
Halloweenfest, N.C.

Everyone can be a superhero! Raise money for a good cause with the entire family. The Superhero Race runs in conjunction with Roanoke’s GO Outside Festival and proceeds go toward Family Promise, a community-based team of volunteers who provide temporary housing and meals for homeless families with children.


Toughest Event

Blue Ridge Marathon, Roanoke, Va.


Favorites:
Off-Road Assault on Mount Mitchell, N.C.
Mount Mitchell Challenge, N.C.

Runners, beware. This race is known to crush souls and bring grown men to tears. With over 7,430 feet in elevation change, 780 of which come in the first two miles, you might not have the energy to appreciate the natural beauty surrounding the course as it traces the Blue Ridge Parkway. After the race, enjoy a cold beverage and some live entertainment in town.

Rowdiest Outdoor Event

Gauley Fest, Summersville, W.Va.


Favorites:
GO Outside Festival, Va.
Burning Can, N.C.

Gauley Fest is one of those events you have to attend to understand the scope of rowdiness. On the water, you’d be hard-pressed to find better entertainment than that of Pillow Rock. Here, hordes of partying paddlers elbow their way to be front and center for the show of rock splats, tombstones, dump trucks, and Creature Craft hijacking. At the festival, the raucousness continues with boat-throwing tournaments and late-night carnage films. Of course, all of this unruliness comes for a good cause—the support of American Whitewater.

Festival

GO Outside Festival, Roanoke, Va.


Favorites:
Lockn’, Va.
Guest Appreciation Festival, N.C.

Appealing to every outdoor enthusiast, no matter their skillset, GO Outside Festival has more than doubled in size in its five-year history. Its success is due, in part, to its inclusiveness and diverse offerings, not to mention the unconditional support of the community. So what’s so great about it? Eventgoers can demo standup paddleboards, slacklines, and bikes. There’s music, beer, and even lumberjack competitions. Over the course of the weekend, there are over 30 bike-related events and races, including free shuttles to the top of Mill Mountain for those demoing mountain bikes. New last year was the addition of camping onsite. And the best part about it all is the price tag: free.

Obstacle Race

Mad Anthony Mud Run, Waynesboro, Va.


Favorites:
Spartan Race, Multiple Locations
Tough Mudder, Multiple Locations

The 6th annual Mad Anthony Mud Run is set to take place February 25th and the conditions could be in your favor, or against. Years past have seen temperatures as low as nine degrees to as high as 60 degrees. Regardless, be prepared to get worked. Obstacles have included mud tunnels, six-foot walls, hay bales, and boggy creek crossings.


Adventure Race

Shenandoah Epic 26-Hour, Bentonville, Va.

Favorites:
Wild Gear Chase, Va.
Pisgah 26.2-Hour Adventure Race, N.C.

Now in its seventh year, this burly race takes participants over 100 miles through the rugged terrain of the Shenandoah Valley. Racers will be required to hike, bike, paddle, orienteer, and even rappel over the course of 24 hours. Think you can hack it? Go solo or bring some friends for teams up to four. You’ll need all of the help you can get.

park-to-park-free-marylyman

Triathlon

Nation’s Triathlon, Washington, D.C.


Favorites:
Off the Rails Triathlon, Va.
SavageMan Triathlon, Md.

The only triathlon in the nation’s capital, this event has attracted more than 600,000 athletes since its inception in 1988. The course takes participants past some of the city’s most historical attractions—swimming in the Potomac alongside the Arlington Cemetery and under the Memorial Bridge, biking past the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, and running adjacent to the Jefferson Memorial and National Holocaust Memorial.


Climbing Event

Big Lick Showdown, Roanoke, Va.

Favorites:
Triple Crown Bouldering Series, Ala., Tenn., N.C.
PsicoRoc, W.Va.

The world of competitive bouldering is a fast-growing sport and at the heart of it in Virginia is River Rock Climbing. A USA Climbing-sanctioned competition, the “Big Lick Showdown” is open to anyone 14 years and older, whether you’re just out to have fun or make it to the regional level.


Paddling Event

NOC Guest Appreciation Festival (GAF), Bryson City, N.C.

Favorites:
Green River Race, N.C.
Gauley Fest, W.Va.

Every year, the NOC says “thanks” to its guests with a fun weekend complete with used gear sales, bike trials, and special releases on the Upper Nantahala. Even non-paddlers will enjoy the weekend’s cornhole tournaments, live music, and games for the kids. Celebrate the outdoors, the river, and the end of summer at GAF!


Bike Race

Big Ring Challenge, Hayesville, N.C.

Part of the Chain Buster Racing series, this six- and three-hour race takes place on the Jackrabbit Trail system in the Nantahala National Forest. Gear into the big ring for this one—with less than 700 feet of climbing in every 10-mile lap, you can crank out as many laps as you can squeeze into the time limit.

Favorites:
Virginia’s Blue Ridge Downtown Twilight Criterium, Va.
Tour de Valley, Va.

Running Race

Park to Park Half Marathon, Stuarts Draft—Waynesboro, Va.

Favorites:
Blue Ridge Marathon, Va.
Asheville Half Marathon and 10K, N.C.

Already in its ninth year, this half takes racers along central Virginia’s rolling hills and scenic countryside. Proceeds from the race are donated to Therapeutic Adventures out of Charlottesville, Va., a non-profit aimed at providing adaptive outdoor recreational opportunities for persons with disabilities.

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