Asheville located in the heart the Western North Carolina mountains has been named one of the top outdoor adventure destinations in the US and there are so many ways to explore the mountains such as: white water rafting, canoeing kayaking, and numerous other outdoor sports.
Asheville and Buncombe county parks and recreation have over 50 parks in the area for you to enjoy. These parks offer a wide range of outdoor activities that include golf, swimming, tennis and skateboarding. There are parks with playgrounds, ball fields, picnic areas, trails and community centers.
Asheville is a major center for whitewater recreation, particularly whitewater kayaking, in the eastern US. The annual Green River Race is just one attraction. This year the International Canoe Federation (ICF) chose the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) to Host the 2015 ICF Wildwater Canoeing Junior World Championships
There are many kayak manufacturers located in the Asheville area and some of the most distinguished whitewater kayakers live in or around Asheville. In 2006, American Whitewater named Asheville one of the top five US whitewater cities.
This sounds very intense for the average, flatwater paddler looking for a few quiet, scenic weekends to paddle, relax and enjoy the great outdoors. However, there is a quieter, gentler side of Asheville where paddlers, their families and friends can experience hours celebrating some of the best outdoor recreation Western North Carolina has to offer. Here are a few suggestions
375 WESLEY BRANCH ROAD
ASHEVILLE NC 28806
Lake Julian Park
406 Overlook Extension
Arden, NC 28704
Lake Lure Town Hall
P.O. Box 255
Lake Lure, NC 28746
P.O. Box 340, 6883 NC Hwy 126,
Nebo, NC 28761
Lake Powhatan Homestead Trail
Lake Powhatan is 15 minutes from Asheville, North Carolina. The campground is convenient to a variety of cultural and natural attractions, including art and music venues, shopping and dining in Asheville, scenic driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, numerous hiking trails and lakeside recreation.
The campground is situated in a heavily wooded area on the banks of Lake Powhatan in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. The elevation is 2,200 feet. The surrounding land boasts mile-high peaks, cascading waterfalls and slopes thickly forested with hardwoods and conifers.
Visitors have a number of different activities to choose from. Kids love the lake's sandy swimming beach and anglers enjoy the calm waters for trout fishing. The French Broad River, popular for fishing, is also nearby.
The forest is known for its hiking and mountain biking trails, several of which are located near the campground. Visitors wishing to learn more about the area can attend interpretive programs during the summer.
The shaded, private campsites are organized into four loops, all within walking distance of the lake. The facility provides picnic tables, tent pads, lantern posts and campfire rings with grills, in addition to restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets. A few sites have full hookups. Campers can purchase ice and firewood.
Among the more popular nearby destinations are Sliding Rock, Looking Glass Falls, the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, an arboretum and the Biltmore Estate.
Activities and Amenities
• Accessible Flush Toilets
• Beach Access
• Dump Station
• Educational Programs
• Mountain Biking • Parking Area
• Picnic Area
Within 10 Miles
• Fuel Available
• Gift Shop
• Grocery Store • Restaurant
• Scenic Drive
Bent Creek Mountain Biking
Bent Creek Mountain Biking (Powhatan)
The collection of trails is well suited to beginning and intermediate mountain bikers, families, and groups. With some trails containing large climbs and technical sections, more advanced riders will have fun here as well. The nearly 10 miles of doubletrack and singletrack open for biking in Bent Creek Forest are comprised of a 6.5-mile loop, with a 1.6-mile one-way out-and-back (3.2 miles total). The Hardtimes Trail follows a gated road leading to Lake Powhatan. The road leads into a part of the original 1,100 acres George Vanderbuilt purchased south of Asheville, part of which now contains the Biltmore House.
Lake Lure North Carolina
Lake Lure is located 45 minutes from Asheville. It is well worth taking a day to enjoy. There is a very nice clean public beach. Rent paddleboats and inner tubes. Take a boat tour of the lake. This is a nice quiet family getaway. Visit nearby Chimney Rock.
Located in Western North Carolina, Lake Lure sits in the heart of Hickory Nut Gorge. East of Asheville, the Rocky Broad River tears its way in a series of rapids down through Hickory Nut Gap. This crystal clear water flows through a valley shaped roughly in the form of a Maltese cross to make Lake Lure.
Great stretches of water, three long bays, an island of seven acres and many small bays and inlets with a background of tree clad hills and mountains.
The climate is unusually good as Lake Lure lies in the "Thermal Belt."
Lake Lure and the surrounding areas are famous for hiking, bird watching, fishing (fly, spinning, lake and river), rock climbing, skiing, shopping, golfing, swimming and boating. Click here for more information about what to do in the Lake Lure area.
Dining: From hot dogs to fine dining, there are many locally-owned restaurants. Enjoy romantic candlelit dinners by the lake, fine dining with incredible views, pubs & grilles, BBQ, Italian, Mexican & down-home on the river we have it all! Click here for a list of restaurants!
You may also call or write to us:
Lake Lure Town Hall
P.O. Box 255
Lake Lure, NC 28746
Mountain Lake Lure NC
Lake Lure, NC, the “gem” of the North Carolina mountains, is located at the entrance to the Hickory Nut Gorge, just below the well know tourist attraction, Chimney Rock State Park. The actual lake and town are situated with a backdrop of dramatic mountains, lush vegetation, and rock cliff faces. The Rocky Broad River rushes down through the gorge winding beside the town of Chimney Rock to fill the 720 acre Lake Lure. The lake was built in 1927 to provide power for Lake Lure and areas down the river. This resort area is a natural playground for visitors and residents of the beautiful western NC Foothills.
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina Picture
Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center
91 North Lakeshore Drive Lake Junaluska, NC 28745
( view map )
With over 400 lodging rooms we can easily accommodate groups of all sizes and budgets. All of our facilities are unique inside and out. From the historic columns of Lambuth Inn to the spectacular views from the Terrace Hotel dining room, our lodging will make your visit exceptional and memorable. Also available are the Lakeside Lodge, a motel style facility as well as the Sunnyside Lodge and Mountain View Lodges, with dormitory style rooms with private baths. The Junaluska Apartments are great for families and youth groups with kitchenettes in most units, and a wide range of accommodations are available at our Lake Junaluska Campground from 30/50 amp full RV hookups, tent sites, rustic cabins, apartment efficiencies, and Laundromat
Things to Do
Whether you come with your family or with a group of colleagues, you will enjoy the fellowship and recreation that Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center has to offer. Gather the kids for a stroll around the lake and enjoy our peaceful mountain setting. Along the way you will enjoy the beauty of the Rose Walk, the tranquility of the Frances Asbury Trail as well as our spectacular butterfly garden and waterfall. Your kids will also enjoy our Children's program during the summer. While you are here, relax poolside and enjoy the beautiful views from our aquatic center, which also includes canoe and paddleboat rentals for further exploration of our 200-acre lake.
Along with our spectacular grounds and lovely vistas, please make sure that you take advantage of our many activities during your stay with us. You can enjoy a round of golf on our on-site 18-hole golf course, which is perfect for a tournament with colleagues or just a round with your friends. Or, take in a game of tennis, basketball, horseshoes, mini golf or shuffle board. All of these activities are located on-site, making group logistics and organization easy and fun.
Coming from East (from Asheville-25 miles):
• From I-40, take exit 27 onto US 19-23.
• Drive 3-4 miles.
• Do not take exit 104 -- it is easy to get lost.
• Take exit 103 and drive about 1 mile until you see Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center front entrance gates on the right.
• Bear right and follow the main road to the Bethea Welcome Center.
Fall Foliage Getaway
Lake Junaluska is here to provide a place for you to relax and escape the everyday stresses of life. Do not miss spectacular mountain fall colors. Take advantage of our affordable Fall Foliage Getaway Package, which includes lodging, and breakfast for two.
South Pointe, Lake James, NC
P.O. Box 340, 6883 NC Hwy 126,
Nebo, NC 28761
Lake James is located in Nebo near Marion North Carolina at the base of Linville Gorge. Fish for bass, trout, crappie, bream and catfish or go camping, boating, swimming or hiking. It is 45 minutes to 1 hour from Asheville via I-40.
Boating: Two boat ramps, Hidden Cove and Canal Bridge, offer access to Lake James where power boats, sailboats and smaller craft have ample room to enjoy the water. Both boat ramps are located along NC 126 within two miles east of the park entrance. Hidden Cove operates according to park hours and must be vacated by closing time. Canal Bridge is open 24 hours.
Canoes and kayaks are available for rent from the park. Canoes will hold 2-3 people and the kayaks are for 1 person. See the "Facilities and Fees" page for more information.
Nearby, a number of other launching sites and marinas offer boats and motors for rent. Fishing tackle, bait, ice and snacks are also available.
Camping: Twenty backpack campsites are located along or near the lake shoreline. Each site is approximately 150 to 300 yards from the parking lot. The trail to the campground includes an elevation change of approximately 100 feet. Campers are encouraged to pack lightly. Two of these sites are reserved for persons with disabilities. Each campsite provides a firepit, picnic table and tent space. Approximately every five sites apart, a water faucet is located, and a washhouse with hot showers is accessible near the parking lot. Campsites are available from March 1 through November 30.
Education and Events: Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Lake James State Park.
To arrange a special exploration of Lake James State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
Educational materials about Lake James State Park have been developed for grades 2-4 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Lake James program, Aquatic Critters (an Environmental Educational Learning Experience) introduces students to the lakeshore environment, focusing on the plants and animals that live there. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators. To learn more about environmental education or to search our database of upcoming workshops, please click the Education tab, above.
Fishing: The cool mountain waters of the Linville and Catawba rivers flow into hilly terrain to form a deep lake with enough points and coves to challenge any fisherman. Water level fluctuation, due to hydroelectric power production, keeps aquatic vegetation at a minimum and concentrates fish populations, especially in winter.
Cool, deep waters and warm surface waters provide a variety of sport fishing. Largemouth bass is the most sought-after fish in the lake. The early morning and late afternoon hours during April through October are the best times to angle for this tackle-buster and its smallmouth relative.
Walleye, first introduced in 1951, is another prized game fish in the lake. White bass spawn in May, and crappie fishing is best during May through July. Bluegill, robin and catfish are available year round, and record specimens of muskellunge have been caught in the lake.
Other fish include bream, sunfish and perch. A fishing license is required. All Wildlife Resources Commission regulations apply.
Hiking: Taking a hike on the extensive trail system at Lake James State Park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors at your own pace. A walk in the spring when the air is scented with sweet wild azalea and rhododendron blossoms or a stroll in the fall when the leaves are ablaze in colors is tonic for the soul. There are hiking trails at both Catawba River and Paddy's Creek areas to satisfy all ages and thirsts for adventure; from the .75-mile Holly Discovery Trail, to the historically significant, 1-mile section of the Overmountain Victory Trail, to the scenic vista at the end of the Lake Channel Overlook Trail, there's something for everyone here.
Picnicking: You bring the food and we'll supply the atmosphere. There are picnic areas available on a first-come, first-served basis at both the Catawba River and Paddy's Creek areas of Lake James State Park. Picnic sites include tables, outdoor grills and trash and recycling receptacles. Drinking water and restrooms are located within a short walk of all picnic sites. Three large picnic shelters with 10-12 tables each are available for groups. The shelters are available by reservation.
Swimming: Swimming is permitted in the Paddy's Creek Area only within the designated swimming area. Swimmers must remain inside the swim line. The swimming area is open May 1 through September 30, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., every day. A fee is in effect when lifeguards are on duty. Swimming is free of charge when there are no lifeguards on duty. See the "Facilities and Fees" page for more information.
Lake James State Park
Tucked away in rolling hills at the base of Linville Gorge is Lake James, a 6,510-acre lake with more than 150 miles of shoreline. This impressive waterway is the centerpiece of Lake James State Park. The park offers a variety of activities, including swimming, boating and fishing. The park has a well maintained campground for public use, with twenty backpack campsites, each with fire pit, picnic table and tent space. Water and washhouse with showers is also nearby. Campsites are available March though November for a modest fee on a first-come basis.
Lake Julian Park
Lake Julian Park is a family recreational facility located on the banks of 300 acre Lake Julian in Arden. The park offers picnicking, boating, fishing, a playground, outdoor games and special events. Learn more by reading our Lake Julian brochure (PDF).
Lake Julian has an abundance of bass, catfish, brim, crappie and imported Tilapia. Because Lake Julian is used as a cooling agent for Progress Energy the lake is “thermal.” Some of the best fishing occurs from October through March.
Anglers may fish from the shore, from privately owned fishing boats (electric motor only) or from Jon boats that are available for rent (fishermen provide their own electric boat motor). A boat launch is also available for private fishing boats. There is a daily or annual fee to use the boat launch. A North Carolina Fishing License and a local lake permit is required.
A North Carolina fishing license is required in all Buncombe County Rivers and Lakes.
[Where to Get an NC Fishing License]
Paddle boats and canoes are available for rental. These boats can be rented by the ½ hour or by the hour.
A pontoon boat is offered at no charge for use by People with Disabilities, Senior Citizens and for Educational Student Tours. Reservations are required in advance. A Lake Julian Park staff will be the captain and tour guide.
A boat launch is available for the launching of private craft including fishing boats with electric motors, canoes, kayaks and sailboats. There is a daily or annual fee to use the boat launch.
A sand volleyball court and horseshoe pits are available for use on a first come/first served basis. Volleyballs and horseshoes are offered for use by Park patrons at no charge with proof of a driver’s license.
From Asheville take I-26 East to Exit #37. Turn
left at the light onto Long Shoals Road. Travel 1.1
mile to Overlook Road traffic light. Turn right on
Overlook Road Extension. Travel .1 mile. Park
entrance is on the left.
LAKE JULIAN FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Enjoy over 50 animated light displays and thousands of colored lights from the comfort of your vehicle. This driving tour runs from December 7 through the 23rd. The cost is $5 per car, $10 per van and $25 per motor coach. A portion of the proceeds benefits Buncombe County Special Olympics.