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Explore Brevard’s 48-Hour Winter Wonderland

Explore Brevard’s 48-Hour Winter Wonderland

Explore Brevard’s 48-Hour Winter Wonderland If you’re looking to escape the winter doldrums, there’s no better destination than Brevard and Transylvania County. Explore Brevard’s Winter Wonderland itinerary is perfect for a weekend (or weekday) getaway. Our handy accommodations finder and specials page will help you find a great deal and locate the perfect spot to hang your hat – or your wool stocking cap. Day 1 Day 1 ​ Morning – The Enduring Appeal of Pisgah Winters in Transylvania County are typically mild, which means that with the right clothing choices, you can be quite comfortable exploring the outdoors. Better yet, the winter views are generally spectacular with the contours of the mountains even more pronounced. You’ll also see how prolific our evergreens, rhododendron, spruce, and mountain laurel are – great swaths of dense green color provide an appealing contrast to the rest of the forest in its winter adornment. On your first day, start in Pisgah National Forest. Here you’ll find multiple trails of varying lengths and features. Some to consider are Looking Glass Rock, John Rock, Moore Cove Falls and the Pink Beds. We recommend downloading the AllTrails app (free) as a handy way to determine which trails are most appropriate for you interests and fitness level. The Pisgah Forest Ranger Station is also a great resource for information on trails and insights into the local flora and fauna. While there, don’t miss the Andy Cove Trail. It’s a short (less than a mile) hike into a... Read More
Safety in the Outdoors

Safety in the Outdoors

This workshop will introduce a risk assessment and safety management model. Then that model will be applied as we investigate the most common dangers and hazards in the backcountry and explore steps to mitigate those risks. Topics will include: encounters with wildlife (snakes, bears, insects, etc.), lightning and weather related hazards, toxic plants, water crossings, sketchy humans, hazards in camp, sound decision-making, and more. Class sizes are intentionally small to offer participants guided hands-on practice. Visit our website to... Read More
Outdoor “Thrival” Skills

Outdoor “Thrival” Skills

“Survival” skills have captured the imagination of many armchair adventurers, but do you know the actual skills needed not just to survive but to THRIVE in the outdoors? In this half day hands-on workshop we will focus on what you REALLY need to know. Topics will include the 10 Essentials, creating a shelter, finding and purifying water, fire building, signaling, navigating, and more. Don’t become a search and rescue statistic. Join us and become more responsible and self-sufficient in the outdoors. Class sizes are intentionally small to offer participants guided hands-on practice. Visit our website to... Read More
PARI Summer STEM and Space Exploration Camps/Secrets of a Spy Station

PARI Summer STEM and Space Exploration Camps/Secrets of a Spy Station

PRESENTED BY PARI AND CLEMSON UNIVERSITY CRYPTOGRAPHY & SECRET MESSAGES SET IN A FORMER SPY BASE Campers will explore the origins of codes and ciphers and how they have evolved from written messages to complex digital encryption methods in use today. They will learn how to recreate these techniques themselves and crack the messages sent by their fellow cryptographers, all while reinforcing skills in math, language, and pattern recognition. What better setting than PARI, which once operated as a spy station for the Department of Defense during the Cold War, where messages were being intercepted and deciphered? Another element in the sending of secrets is how you transport them from place to place. We’ll take a look at the technologies, both past and present, that allow information to zip out to distant satellites and back down to Earth. How do we make sure our sensitive transmissions don’t end up in the wrong hands? From messages based on playing with words and numbers, to hiding information in plain sight in images and everyday objects, you’d never suspect all the ways cryptography is used all around us. Campers will leave with an understanding of the principles that drive the world and keep our data... Read More
PARI Summer STEM and Space Exploration Camps/Above and Beyond

PARI Summer STEM and Space Exploration Camps/Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond is PARI’s signature camping experience designed to immerse high school students in the world of space science and research while building confidence and critical thinking skills. Originally developed in partnership with Duke University and refined for nearly two decades, this space camp explores the universe through astronomy, physics, and astrobiology, while also providing time for adventure and fun. The process followed by scientists and researchers who’ve made space science their career is modeled to show how new discoveries are made about the universe. Campers are provided the tools and guided through the process by professionals who have made space their life’s work. From determining the expansion speed of a super-nova remnant, to characterizing an exo-planet or finding evidence of dark matter; your data will reveal and your conclusions will add to humanity’s knowledge of the... Read More
Four Fantastic Fall Drives

Four Fantastic Fall Drives

Four Fantastic Fall Drives Whether you’re behind the wheel of a fancy convertible or the family minivan, a fall driving tour of Transylvania County is an unforgettable experience.  Sure, you can speed through these routes and see plenty of sights, but the ideal way is to take your foot off the gas and plan to make several stops along the way. 1 1 ​ TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY LOOP (3 – 7 hours, depending on stops) When it comes to driving tours, this is the Big Kahuna. It serves as both a wonderful introduction to the county and a splendid opportunity to see fall color thanks to the dramatic elevation changes along the route. To start, enter Pisgah National Forest on US 276 and begin heading north. You’ll encounter a number of great attractions and stops, including the Pisgah Ranger Station and Visitor Center, Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, and the Cradle of Forestry. Once you’re on the Blue Ridge Parkway, numerous overlooks offer up stunning views of the Blue Ridge mountains and the awesome rock monolith of Looking Glass Rock. We especially recommend Pounding Mill Overlook (Milepost 413.2), Graveyard Fields (Milepost 418.8), and Devil’s Courthouse (422.4). Come off the BRP at NC 215 for a winding trip back down into the valley. This stretch also offers abundant opportunities to discover why Transylvania County is known as the Land of Waterfalls, including Courthouse, Bird Rock, Mill Shoals, and French Broad Falls. Head east on US 64 and you’ll be back in... Read More
Headwaters State Forest: Go Wild

Headwaters State Forest: Go Wild

Headwaters State Forest: Go Wild ​Headwaters State Forest A Conservation Laboratory North Carolina’s newest state forest was founded in 2018 and represents another iconic destination in Transylvania County. In terms of beauty and features, it’s on par with Pisgah, DuPont and Gorges. However, its remote location and limited access make it a more appropriate destination for adventurers with good wilderness and map-reading skills. We caught up with Assistant Regional Forester Michael Cheek, who oversees this 6,730 acre mountain wonderland for the North Carolina Forest Service to help us understand the importance of Headwaters and the opportunities for visitors to enjoy its unique topography and features. Q&A Q&A: Michael, what’s distinctive about Headwaters? “Headwaters is located right along the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment and the South Carolina border.  It’s very remote and has a very “back country” feel to it. You’ll find plenty of trails and lots of solitude.” Q&A Q&A: What’s the key mission of Headwaters State Forest? “Certainly, recreation is a part of it, but our primary focus is on the conservation of the headwater streams that feed into the East Fork of the French Broad River. There are over a dozen named streams feeding into the East Fork, totaling some 50 miles. That’s where our clean drinking water comes from, and these headwater streams are key to that. Part of our mission is also to demonstrate good forestry practices – to show the public the best way to manage this important resource. This land has... Read More

Appalachian Folk Festival

This time, the event is on, rain or shine! Enjoy a tour of the 1815 Allison Deaver House, the oldest frame house west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as craft booths, artisans at work, mountain music, presenters, and children’s activities.  Featuring the Junior Appalachian Musicians Ensemble Ravensbrook Road, Skyward Blue, Lynn Goldsmith, and the Jeter Mountain Band. Bring the family, a blanket, or chairs, and join us for the day. ... Read More
Land of Waterfalls for All

Land of Waterfalls for All

Land of Waterfalls for All 9 Super Attractions for Everyone! If you have limited mobility, it’s still possible to experience many of Brevard and Transylvania County’s most magical natural attractions. Here is a list of nine don’t-miss attractions and activities that are easily accessible if you use a wheelchair, a walker, or need other physical assistance. 1 1 Looking Glass Falls One of the most photographed waterfalls in the country, picturesque Looking Glass Falls is situated just off US 276 in Pisgah National Forest. There is limited parking along a strip leading up to the falls, but the area experiences fairly rapid turnover. While there is no designated accessible parking, there are curb ramps that make it easy for wheelchairs to reach an excellent viewing platform adjacent to the falls. Directions 2 2 Whitewater Falls At 411 feet, Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains and one of the most accessible. There are two designated accessible spaces in the paved parking lot at the south end of the trail. Both are van-accessible with striped access aisles. The trail surface is paved asphalt and smooth. It is wheelchair-friendly to the first observation deck, which affords a nice, long-range view of this spectacular waterfall. Directions     3 3 Sliding Rock Welcome to Mother Nature’s very own Slip n’ Slide. The Sliding Rock Recreation Area includes four designated spaces that are van-accessible with striped access aisles and curb ramps. A paved trail surface takes you to the... Read More
Four Extraordinary Things About Toxaway – Sapphire

Four Extraordinary Things About Toxaway – Sapphire

Four Extraordinary Things About Toxaway – Sapphire Toxaway and Sapphire, in Transylvania county’s high-altitude southwest edge, are A+ destinations whether you want to catch a stunning view at the end of a hike or relax in a place long-celebrated for its beauty and history. Here are a few things to know about what makes this place so very special: 1 1 A GEOLOGICAL MARVEL Toxaway and Sapphire are located along the Blue Ridge escarpment. Called the “Blue Wall” by the Cherokee, the escarpment is the line at which the Blue Ridge Mountains plunge into the rolling foothills of upstate South Carolina. This dramatic drop, created by the movement of tectonic plates and eons of water erosion, is site to some of the most spectacular views around. 2 2 REMARKABLE BIODIVERSITY The unusual topography of the escarpment made Toxaway-Sapphire a rich and unique microbiome, with its own climate (temperate rainforest) and diverse flora and fauna. Many rare species of plant life still grow in, around and along the escarpment. While botanists and conservationists alike have stressed the importance of caring for and preserving what grows in this very special place, there is ample opportunity to observe the wildflowers, the towering trees and the many kinds of living things that make the area home. Toxaway’s Southern Highlands Reserve is always an excellent resource. 3 3 GRAND OLD HISTORY Toxaway and Sapphire have been a storied vacation destination for more than a century. The end of the 19th century brought the railroad... Read More