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A visit to an NC Park  will be a highlight of your mountain vacation. North Carolina mountain parks are among the most pristine and beautiful in the world offering hiking, camping and 1000s of waterfalls, creeks and rivers. Must-see parks and forests include Pisgah Forest, the Blue ridge Parkway, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park nature and educational centers are available for trail maps and visitor information.  
 
 
 
Bass Pro Shops 
 
Must-see NC parks and forests include Pisgah Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park Visitor and Education Centers are available for trail maps and visitor information.
 
Camping Gear at Basspro.com  
 
Mountain Biking in NC National Forests
Mountain biking is the fastest growing recreational sport in North Carolina and the national forests provide an incredibly scenic venue. National forests in North Carolina offer more than 257 miles of trails for mountain biking - 63 mountain biking trails are open year-round and another 8 trails are open October 15-April 15. Trails open to mountain bikers are designated with a bike symbol sign. If no sign exists, the trail is for hiking only. Cyclists may ride most closed roads, which should also be signed if they are open to cyclists. Wilderness areas are off-limits for bikers.

List of Mountain Bike Trails in NC’s National Forests

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SeaEagle.com 
This Month's Special Events at NC Parks
Date:        October 1, 2017
NC Park:  Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock NC
Event:      October Family Fun
Date:        October 1-23, 2017
NC Park:  Blowing Rock / Linville NC
Event:      The Colors of Grandfather Guided Walks
Date:        October 1 - 31, 2017
NC Park:  Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock NC
Event:      Annual Passholder Fall Sunrise Breakfast
Date:        October 7, 2017
NC Park:  Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock NC
Event:      Spring Photo Contest - Give it Your Best Shot
Date:        October 7, 2017
NC Park:  Pisgah National Forest near Brevard NC
Event:        Camping in the Old Style at The Cradle of Forestry 
Date:        October 7, 8, 2017
NC Park:  Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock NC
Event:      October Family Fun
Date:        October 14, 2017
NC Park:  Pisgah National Forest near Brevard NC
Event:       Forest Festival Day and John G. Palmer Intercollegiate
                 Woodsmen’s Meet
Date:        October 14, 15, 2017
NC Park:  Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock NC
Event:      October Family Fun
Date:        October 21, 2017
NC Park:   Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock NC
Event:      Naturalist Niche: Skyline Trail Trek 
Date:        October 20-21, 2017
NC Park:  Pisgah National Forest near Brevard NC
Event:       The Legend of Tommy Hodges outdoor drama at the Cradle of
                 Forestry 
Date:        October 21, 22, 2017
NC Park:  Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock NC
Event:      October Family Fun
Date:        October 28, 2017
NC Park:  Blowing Rock / Linville NC
Event:      Beary Scary Halloween
Date:        October 28, 29, 2017
NC Park:  Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock NC
Event:      October Family Fun
 
NC National Parks and Forests
The Blue Ridge Parkway 
This park has one or more visitors center This park offers trails and hiking this park offers camping or campgrounds biking is permitted in this park this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park offers public restrooms food or dining is availble in this park this park offers lodging
At 469 miles long the Parkway is the nation's longest scenic rural parkway. Now 75+ years  old it is administered  by the  National Park Service and host to  approximately 20 million visits annually. It connects the Shenandoah Valley National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. Along the route are opportunities for lodging, dining, camping, hiking and simply enjoying breathtaking views from easily accessible overlooks and picnic areas. Check for Parkway closures and alerts HERE.

The Blueridge Parkway Association offers a comprehensive website about the Blue Ridge Parkway including Park highlights, events, closings, maps and more. Donations to the organization and purchases from the store help fund the maintenance and preservation of the Parkway.
 
Blue Ridge Parkway Hiking Trails offer hikers of all skill levels the opportunity to explore more than 100 varied and intriguing trails in North Carolina and Virginia. Meandering alongside and crossing the scenic motor road, the trails provide a close-up look at some of the most beautiful wilderness in the country.
Some of the favorite hiking trails along the parkway: Cumberland Knob, milepost 217.5.  Linville Falls and Gorge, milepost 316.3.  Crabtree Meadows and Falls, milepost 339.5-340.3.  Mt. Mitchell State Park, milepost 355.4.  Craggy Gardens, milepost 364.4.  Mt. Pisgah, milepost 408.6.  Looking Glass Rock, milepost 417.  Graveyard Fields, milepost 418.8.  Devil's Courthouse, milepost 422.4.  Mount Hardy, milepost 422.8.  Richland Balsam, milepost 431.

History on the Parkway includes a number of historic homes, Revolutionary War sites, and interpreted natural sites which can enrich the traveler's journey.  Among them are: Brinegar Cabin, milepost 238.5;   Ben Long frescoes at Glendale Springs, milepost 258-259;  Moses Cone Manor and Memorial Park, milepost 292.7;  Historic Flat Top Manor House and Parkway Craft Center, milepost 294;   Museum of North Carolina Minerals, milepost 331;   Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, milepost 331; Mt. Mitchell State Park, milepost 355.4;   Folk Art Center, milepost 382.

Restaurants along the Parkway -   Bluff's Lodge and Restaurant, milepost 241;  Mt. Pisgah Inn and Restaurant, milepost 408.6;  Waterrock Knob Visitor Information Center, milepost 451.2;  The Switzerland Inn, milepost 334. 
Great Smoky Mountains National Park 
This park has one or more visitors center This park offers trails and hiking this park offers camping or campgrounds biking is permitted in this park this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park offers public restrooms food or dining is availble in this park this park offers lodging 
Ridge upon ridge of endless forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America's most visited national park.  

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is truly a nature-lovers paradise. With over 800 miles of hiking trails, world renowned diversity of plant and animal life including 1600 varieties of flowering plants and opportunities for camping, picnics and educational programs.

Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides an additional source of Park information, support and conservation.

Park Roads open in March along with Visitor Centers – The three visitor centers are open daily - Campgrounds and Horse Camps, Picnic Areas, Campground Concessions, and the ultimate "get away from it all" lodging, LeConte Lodge, accessible only by trail.  
Reservations may now be made ONLINE for Cataloochee campground, Elkmont, Cades Cove, Smokemont, and some sites at Cosby. The system allows campers to reserve specific campsites and to make reservations 6 months in advance. Group campsites and picnic pavilions can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Alternatively, book reservations by calling 877-444-6777.

Catalooche Valley a remote area in the Park:
 
Nantahala National Forest 
this park allows fishing and may require a license  This park offers trails and hiking biking is permitted in this park this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park has horseback riding trails this park has areas for water sports this park offers public restrooms 
The Nantahala National Forest anchors the far southwestern corner of North Carolina with 528,541 acres of lush forests, high mountain wilderness, and a whitewater river that cuts through a magnificent gorge so deep that it only gets direct sunlight at mid-day.  The Cherokee called the gorge "Nantahala," which means "land of the noonday sun." Adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Nantahala National Forest is the largest of the four National Forests in North Carolina.  Within its boundaries are three designated Wilderness Areas and two Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Nantahala National Forest is distinguished by a number of treasured natural attractions.

Tsali Recreation Center is located near Fontana Lake and is known for its 42-mile trail system. The 4-loop network is open to hikers and horses, but the system is best known as a challenging mountain bike course. The 42-site campground includes accessible showers and restrooms. The nearby boat ramp, providing lake access, is especially popular with anglers. Tsali is the closest national forest campground to the popular Nantahala Gorge.

The Nantahala Ranger District crosses Macon, Jackson and Swain counties and includes a variety of recreational experiences. It is a diverse, rugged, and mountainous area with raging rivers, granite walls and waterfalls. From  the remoteness of the Southern Nantahala WIlderness to a scenic drives and Whitewater Falls, the highest falls east of the Rocky Mountains, there is something for everyone. Four long distance trails pass through the Nantahala: the Appalachian, Bartram, Foothills, and Mountains-to Sea Trails.

The Tusquitee Ranger District has three large lakes:  Hiwassee Lake, Chatuge Lake, and Appalachia Lake which offer boating, water skiing, fishing, and swimming, as well as a quiet place to relax and enjoy nature’s wonders. Chatuge Lake is excellent for sailing. Hiwassee and Appalachia are located west of Murphy, along the Hiwassee River. Chatuge Lake spans the Georgia-North Carolina State line, south of Hayesville.  Two major rivers, the Hiwassee and Valley, provide canoeing.  
 
Pisgah National Forest 
This park has one or more visitors center This park offers trails and hiking this park allows fishing and may require a license this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park offers camping or campgrounds this park offers public restrooms food or dining is availble in this park 
501,691 acres stretch across the eastern edge of Western North Carolina's mountains in Pisgah Forest offering hiking trails, fishing, camping, picnic sites, and spectacular waterfalls. Some of Pisgah National Forest's attractions include Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, Pisgah Forest State Fish Hatchery, Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, The Cradle of Forestry and the North Mills River Recreational Area. The North Mills River Recreational Area is located in Henderson County, just 13 miles from Downtown Hendersonville picnic sites, campsites, river fishing and tubing. Pisgah Forest Camping Facilities.

The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education  Open Monday - Saturday with exhibits and The N.C. Wild Store offering nature-oriented merchandise. A variety of educational programs including "Nature Nuts", "Eco Explorers", Fly Fishing classes, Group Programs, Educator Workshops and Special Events for ALL ages.

Cradle of Forestry is the site of America's first school of forestry. The Cradle is a place of people, nature, history and the future. The story of the birth of forestry in America is told here through exhibits, guided tours along. Facilities and Recreation:  Discovery Center with Exhibition Hall, helicopter simulator, kids activities. Gift Shop and Cafe. Biltmore Campus Trail with historic buildings and machinery, locomotive. Special events, Educational programs and services. 
 
Linville Gorge and Linville Falls 
This park has one or more visitors center This park offers trails and hiking this park offers camping or campgrounds this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park offers public restrooms 
The Linville Gorge, near the town of Linville NC, is the deepest and one of the most rugged and scenic gorges in the Eastern United States. Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the East, it is protected by the 12,000-acre Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, one of the first to be included in the National Wilderness System with the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. The steep walls of the Linville Gorge enclose the Linville River for 12 miles. The river, which begins at Grandfather Mountain, enters the Gorge at the spectacular Linville Falls then descends over 2,000 feet before breaking into the Catawba Valley on its way to Lake James. Located in Linville NC near Little Switzerland.

Table Rock - short trails along the rim of the Gorge to the summit  and chimneys of Table Rock. 
 
Panthertown Valley 
This park offers trails and hiking this park offers camping or campgrounds this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park has horseback riding trails biking is permitted in this park this park offers public restrooms 
Panthertown Valley is unique to Western North Carolina, with a broad, flat valley floor flanked by granite walls rising 200-300 feet. The scenic valley offers excellent hiking with a network of  25 miles of trails and old logging roads leading  to waterfalls and spectacular overlooks. In 1989 the North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy purchased 6,295 acres of the valley from Duke Power as an addition to the Nantahala National Forest and to protect many natural plants that thrive there, including the rare southern Appalachian bog and the swamp forest-bog community. Located near Cashiers, Sapphire Valley, Lake Toxaway, Highlands.

Additional information Links:
Blue Ridge National Heritage Area
Friends of Panthertown Valley 
 
Buckeye Lake and Recreation Center   Beech Mountain NC
Doughton Park   near Sparta NC
Gorges State Park between Brevard and Cashiers
Holmes Educational State Forest Hendersonville
Mount Jefferson State Park – between Jefferson and West Jefferson
New River State Park – near Jefferson
Pilot Mountain State Park – Pinnacle
Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest between Wilkesboro and Laurel Springs, near Boone
South Mountains State Park – Connelly Springs, near Morganton
Stone Mountain State Park – Roaring Gap
Tuttle Educational State Forest - Lenoir near Hickory 
 
 
 
 
Favorite NC Parks for Family activities and events:
Grandfather Mountain 
This park has one or more visitors center This park offers trails and hiking this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park offers public restrooms food or dining is availble in this park 
Grandfather Mountain is the highest mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountain range at an elevation of 5,964 feet. The Mountain is owned by a nonprofit Stewardship Foundation and is operated as a scenic travel attraction and a world-class nature preserve.

The Mile High Swinging Bridge was one of the original features of the attraction giving visitors easy access to the breath-taking view from Grandfather Mountain's Linville Peak. Today, there are dozens of of things to do and events offered including walking and hiking trails; Naturalist programs; the Nature Museum; birding and geology; wildlife habitats; Mildred's Grill and The Fudge Shop. Grandfather Mountain is located at 2050 Blowing Rock Highway in Linville NC
 
Chimney Rock State Park  
This park has one or more visitors center This park offers trails and hiking this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park offers public restrooms food or dining is availble in this park 
Standing atop Chimney Rock, a 500 million-year-old giant granite monolith overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge, visitors are awed by the breathtaking view that spreads 1200 vertical feet beneath them and 75 miles across the Carolinas.
The state owned park, located in Chimney Rock North Carolina, encompasses 1,000 acres, including the Chimney itself and Hickory Nut Falls. 

The Park, located 25 miles southeast of Asheville North Carolina, offers a variety of experiences including 75-mile views, guided hikes and hiking trails for all ages, a 404-foot waterfall,  special events and nature programs, rock climbing, bird watching and more. 
 
 
 
Lake James State Park 
This park has one or more visitors center this park has areas for water sports this park allows fishing and may require a license This park offers trails and hiking this park offers camping or campgrounds this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins  this park offers public restrooms  
Lake James State Park is tucked away in rolling hills at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in  Linville Gorge is Lake James, at  6,510-acres, the centerpiece of Lake James State Park. Scenic vistas of the Appalachian Mountains and a variety of planned education and recreational activities are offered including boating, fishing, seasonal swimming, hiking and biking..  

Lake James was created between 1916 and 1923 with the construction of dams across the Catawba River and two tributaries, Paddy Creek and Linville River. Lake James Park , one of the newest in the NC Park System, was established in 1987 by the North Carolina General Assembly, the first park in the state's history to receive funds for development and operation upon its acquisition
 
 
Mount Mitchell State Park 
This park has one or more visitors center This park offers trails and hiking this park offers camping or campgrounds this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park offers public restrooms 
As much a spiritual experience as an outdoor adventure, Mount Mitchell rises more  than a mile high and is embraced  by a gentle mist of low-hanging clouds. The summit is cradled in the crest the Black Mountains and is  the highest point east of the Mississippi. A moderate walk up to the new observation tower rewards visitors with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, rolling ridges and fertile valleys. Forested and forever both in and above the clouds, the 1,855-acre Mount Mitchell State Park will provide you with some of the most tranquil moments you'll ever experience. Accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost  355 near Little Switzerland, Burnsville and Spruce Pine
Mount Mitchell State Park view
 
DuPont State Forest 
This park has one or more visitors center This park offers trails and hiking this park offers camping or campgrounds this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park offers public restrooms this park has horseback riding trails
 One of North Carolina's newer parks, DuPont offers more than 10,000 acres of forest,  trails, and 10 waterfalls and is located in Cedar Falls NC between Brevard and Hendersonville North Carolina. You can enjoy the trails by foot, bike or horse or bring the fishing gear and picnic basket. For current Park conditions CLICK HERE.

Get trail and waterfall maps from the Friends of DuPont Forest.
 
 
Pilot Mountain State Park  
This park has one or more visitors center This park offers trails and hiking this park offers one or more picnic areas with tables and trash bins this park offers public restrooms this park has areas for water sports this park has horseback riding trails
Pilot Mountain State Park
The Pilot Mountain "knob" is the focal point of the Park and has been a landmark for centuries, rising more than 2,000 feet. 

The mountain summit remains the principal park area, connected to the Yadkin River section by a 6.5-mile trail corridor. An extensive trail network is augmented by a bridle trail and a canoe trail section on the river. Family camping in a 49-site campground is augmented by riverside group camps and canoe-in sites. Rock climbing and rappelling are allowed on portions of the park’s steep cliffs, and those cliffs perched around the mountain’s summit offer seemingly endless views of the piedmont, Sauratown Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains.
 
Historic and Heritage Parks:
Carl Sandburg Home Historic Site 
This park has one or more visitors center  This park offers trails and hiking  this park offers public restrooms  
Carl Sandburg spent a lifetime exploring what it meant to be an American and asked the eternal questions, "Who am I, where am I going and where have I been?" He did this through poetry, song, lectures, writing and lasting friendships with kindred spirits.

Carl Sandburg Home NHS is located on 264 acres in Flat Rock North Carolina.  In addition to tours of the Sandburg Home, visitors can enjoy over five miles of trails, stroll through gardens and greet the descendents of Mrs. Sandburg's dairy goat herd.  A typical visit lasts 2 hours.
 
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail 
Come on a journey to remember and commemorate the survival of the Cherokee people despite their forced removal from their homelands in the Southeastern United States in the 1830s. The Cherokee people in the southeastern United States built European-style homes and farmsteads, developed a written language, established a newspaper, and wrote a constitution. But they had no equal protection under the law and could not prevent being removed from their homes on the Trail of Tears. 
NC places to visit along the Trail of Tears
 
 
 
This site is dedicated in loving memory to Teacher Beth, whose spirit still climbs every mountain  HOME   NC Mountains Map   NC Mountain News   NC Shops online   NC Favorite Places  Events Calendar
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Links and information for NC Parks and Forests including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, Cradle of Forestry
Grandfather Mountain, Chimney Rock Park, Linville Gorge, Lake James Park
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