Another of Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine’s home bases, Asheville, N.C., has long been celebrated as a top outdoor hub. It was named Beer City, U.S.A., and is considered one of the best craft beer destinations in the country. It also has an impressive music scene, a burgeoning local food movement, and is home to Biltmore Estate—whose surrounding grounds are home to miles of intown singletrack.
The French Broad River flows right through town, and breweries line its banks in the River Arts District, making it possible to float downriver and climb ashore at a pub for a perfect summer afternoon.
A growing number of trails and greenways are being built in town, including extensions to the Reed Creek Greenway and the UNC-Asheville Trail system. The Mountains to Sea Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway also run right through town.
But the best adventures are found just outside city limits; Bent Creek and surrounding Pisgah National Forest are home to some of the best singletrack in Southern Appalachia. Trail runners flock to the area for epic races like Shut-In and the Mount Mitchell Challenge. Road cyclists love to train and race the steep, winding mountain roads surrounding Asheville. Asheville is especially known for its world-class paddling community; the French Broad, Pigeon, Nolichucky, and Nantahala Rivers are all nearby, and so is the Green River, which hosts one of the biggest downriver races in the country.
DID YOU KNOW? The Mountains to Sea Trail—which passes through Asheville—stretches more than 900 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park all the way to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. And the newly constructed French Broad River Paddle Trail stretches 140 miles from the headwaters of the French Broad all the way to Douglas Lake in Tennessee. enables paddlers and canoeists to
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