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Red Spruce & Carolina Flying Squirrel

Red Spruce & Carolina Flying Squirrel

Red Spruce & Carolina Flying Squirrel A 78-Foot Red Spruce from Pisgah Travels to DC as the US Capitol Christmas Tree The assortment of fir trees and evergreens that thrive in the higher elevations of Brevard and Transylvania County is one of the area’s most scenic and treasured signs of life in our mountains.  Among these, the red spruce stands tall and is particularly important not just to our area but to the region beyond. Known as the “Redwoods of the East,” North Carolina’s red spruce is the largest conifer indigenous to the Southern Appalachians. Its spindly, high-reaching branches rise up like an island in the sky over the high tops of the Blue Ridge, providing color and texture to the landscape and a critical pocket ecosystem for flora and fauna, among them Carolina Northern Flying Squirrels, which are listed as federally endangered. These delightful, furry aviators enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the red spruce via a particular underground fungus. These fungi provide water and nutrients for the trees and receive sugars in return. The squirrels then spread the spores through the forest, which helps the red spruce. Many decades of logging and wildfires led to a precipitous decline in the Appalachian red spruce by the middle of the 20th century. In 2013, Transylvania County’s Southern Highlands Reserve (SHR), a nonprofit, high-elevation native plant garden and research center, undertook a partnership with the Nature Conservancy to restore red spruce trees to the Southern Appalachians. Two years later, in 2015,... 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
Cedar Mountain Cool

Cedar Mountain Cool

Cedar Mountain Cool The Latest Word on a Small Community with Plenty of Big Fun Once a secret gem of a spot, the tiny, scenic hamlet of Cedar Mountain has become one of Transylvania County’s liveliest and most rewarding communities. It’s a great place to kick back and enjoy delicious food and beverages in an area full of art and fantastic hangouts. An excellent day trip while visiting Brevard, Cedar Mountain is perfect for catching your breath on the doorstep of outdoor adventure. Here are a few great places to get a sense of what makes Cedar Mountain so special: 1 1 FALL(s) IN LOVE For many visitors to Brevard and Transylvania County, Cedar Mountain is the entry point to DuPont State Recreational Forest. This beloved 12,500-acre state forest has trails, woodlands, beautiful views, and some of Transylvania County’s most  popular  waterfalls, including High Falls, Triple Falls, and Hooker Falls, as well as Wintergreen Falls, Grassy Creek Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls.  Nearby Connestee Falls also offers up gorgeous views of a spectacular plunge from an accessible viewing area. 2 2 THROW THINGS Long known for its pottery studios and local art scene, Cedar Mountain is a great place to check in on what’s coming off the wheel. See what’s new at Studio 276, Mud Dabbers Pottery, Cedar Mountain Pottery, Lezard Brevard, and Hemlock’s Studio, and perhaps get inspired to take up a new hobby. 3 3 SIP AND SNACK Cedar Mountain has a host of delightful and unconventional... Read More
Be Waterfall Wise

Be Waterfall Wise

Be Waterfall Wise Waterfalls are part of the identity of Brevard and Transylvania County. There are more than 250 cascades scattered throughout the county, earning us the nickname “Land of Waterfalls.” While we encourage visitors and residents alike to enjoy these natural wonders, we also want to remind everyone to Be Waterfall Wise when you are in their proximity. Every year, people are seriously injured and even die around waterfalls. Over the past several years, the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority has worked closely with our forest and park managers and a variety of public safety organizations to raise awareness about the dangers of waterfalls by creating a campaign to promote safe practices around waterfalls. As a result, the number of injuries and fatalities has been dramatically reduced. But accidents still happen, and we’re committed to sharing our safety messaging to keep you and your loved ones safe. If you’re planning a trip to Brevard – or anywhere near waterfalls – please familiarize yourself with these seven simple waterfall safety tips: OBSERVE all posted signs leading to waterfall areas. DO NOT swim or wade upstream near a waterfall. STAY on marked trails and observation areas. WATCH for slick rocks around waterfalls. DO NOT jump off waterfalls or dive into pools. WATCH your children and pets at all times. DO NOT climb on rocks above waist height. Follow @explorebrevardnc on Instagram and @explorebrevard on Facebook to stay abreast of current conditions and the latest waterfall advisories. You’ll also find helpful... Read More
Winter Weather Checklist

Winter Weather Checklist

Winter Weather Checklist Seven Safety Tips for Winter Adventures Wintertime brings a host of exciting options to adventurers eager to get on the trails in the amazing forests of Brevard and Transylvania County. From more expansive views to ice climbing to a car-free Blue Ridge Parkway, the opportunities for experiencing our natural landscape in a whole new way are many.  Like any season, winter comes with risks as well as rewards. Weather can change quickly. Temperatures drop at higher elevations. Knowing how to prepare yourself for cold weather is a critical component of how you can Leave It Better out on the trail, and it will keep you safe and worry-free on your next cold snap adventure. Here are a few tips so you don’t head out (snow) blind: 1 1 CHECK IT OUT BEFORE YOU GO. Many of Brevard and Transylvania’s public lands operate with smaller staffs during the winter months. That’s why it’s critically important to check on the status of trails, roads and landmarks before you go. Updated information can be found here: Pisgah National Forest       |      DuPont State Recreational Forest Gorges State Park      |      Blue Ridge Parkway 2 2 KNOW THE FORECAST. Understanding the local weather forecast goes a long way in knowing what type of conditions to anticipate. If the forecast calls for storms or dropping temperatures, consider rescheduling a long hike or a camping trip for milder conditions. Waterfalls can be particularly treacherous in winter... Read More