Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service.
Activities & Interests
Pisgah National Forest
The half-million+ acres of Pisgah National Forest drape like a cloak around the Asheville, North Carolina area and provide easy access to some of the most dramatic scenery and outstanding recreational opportunities in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Pisgah National Forest is named after Mt. Pisgah, a 5,000 foot high peak located at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 407, near the Cold Mountain of book and movie fame. Pisgah National Forest became the first National Forest in the eastern United States in 1916.
The Pisgah National Forest offers excellent recreational opportunities year-round. Containing over a thousand miles of trails and wilderness areas, it is a hiker's dream in any season.
In warmer weather, its rivers and streams provide excellent fishing, boating, and whitewater sports, while high mountain peaks and deep gorges call to rock climbers and mountain bikers. Camping facilities range from full service RV sites to primitive camps.
In the fall, Mother Nature's colorful show brings leaf-peepers by the thousands, and in winter, the snow-covered slopes in the far northeastern corner of the Pisgah National Forest beckon skiers.
Three fish hatcheries in the National Forest raise more than a half million brook, brown, and rainbow trout annually which are used to stock public mountain trout waters in the North Carolina mountains.
The Pisgah National Forest is distinguished by a number of treasured natural attractions:
• Cradle of Forestry - site of America's first school of forestry
• Linville Gorge and Falls - deepest gorge in the eastern United States
• Looking Glass Rock - a striking mountain landmark popular with hikers and rock climbers
• Mount Hardy - a 6,110 peak protected by a Wilderness Area
• Pink Beds - lush forested area known for its profusion of mountain laurel and rhododendron blooms
• Richland Balsam - the highest peak on the Blue Ridge Parkway
• Roan Mountain - five-mile ridge known for its spectacular display of rhododendron blooms
• Rocky Bluff Recreation Area - a park near Hot Springs popular with hikers, anglers and campers
Pisgah National Forest is served by four ranger districts. For maps and further information, contact the Supervisor's Office or one of the ranger districts directly:
US Forest Service/National Forests in North Carolina
160A Zillicoa Street
Asheville, NC 28802
Appalachian/French Broad Ranger District
PO Box 128
Hot Springs, NC 28743
The ranger district office is on US 25/70 in Hot Springs.
Grandfather Ranger District
Route 1, Box 110-A
Nebo, NC 28761
Exit 90 off I-40 at Nebo/Lake James exit. The ranger district office is about 9 miles east of Marion.
Pisgah Ranger District
1001 Pisgah Highway
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
The ranger district office is on US 276, north of Brevard.
Appalachian/Toecane Ranger District
PO Box 128
Burnsville, NC 28714
The ranger district office in on US 19-E bypass in Burnsville.
- Big Ivy Historical Park (6 miles)
The Big Ivy Historical Park preserves the unique history of the region near Dillingham and Barnardsville, NC.
- Craggy Gardens (7 miles)
Craggy Gardens is one of the most dramatic viewpoints on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Folk Art Center (8 miles)
The Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC showcases Southern Appalachian craft and is the Blue Ridge Parkway’s most visited attraction.