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Parks & Forests

The name Transylvania, though evocative of folktales and old world mystery, translates as “across the forest.” This is an apt description for a county thick with lush forests and magnificent natural vistas. Almost fifty percent of the land in Transylvania is publicly owned and protected ensuring all with a desire for exploration the chance to enjoy some of the Southeast’s most extraordinary natural landscapes.

Pisgah National Forest

One of the first national forests in the Eastern United States, Pisgah National Forest was established by the federal government in 1916. It covers over 500,000 acres in twelve counties in Western North Carolina and contains original portion of George W. Vanderbilt’s once-vast Biltmore Estate. The roots of American Forest Conservation lie in Pisgah at the Cradle of Forestry, the brainchild of George Vanderbilt, Frederick Law Olmstead and Gifford Pinchot. Transylvania County contains a significant portion of the forest, as well as some of its most memorable landmarks, including Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock and the Cradle of Forestry Historic Site and Museum.

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Dupont State Recreational Forest

Spanning over 10,000 acres of rolling hills and rocky crags between Brevard and Hendersonville, NC, Dupont State Recreational Forest houses some of Transylvania County’s most exciting climbing, biking and hiking opportunities.

The forest was established in 1996 following the generous sale of the land from the Dupont Corporation. The magnificent 2200 acre tract at the very heart of the forest, containing High Falls, Triple Falls and eerily beautiful Bridal Veil Falls was added to Dupont in 2000. Easily accessible from downtown Brevard, Dupont State Recreational Forest offers myriad opportunities for fishing, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and horseback riding. Other notable waterfalls in DuPont include Grassy Creek Falls, Wintergreen Falls and Hooker Falls.

DuPont has also served as a backdrop in several major motion pictures. Scenes from The Last of the Mohicans were shot at Hooker Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Triple Falls. Many pivotal action sequences in the smash film The Hunger Games were also shot in DuPont.

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Gorges State Forest

The newest addition to Transylvania County’s numerous parklands, Gorges was founded in 1999 following a generous sale from the Duke Energy Corporation. The lush park straddling the high edges of the Jocassee Gorges is temperate rainforest and home to at least twelve species of endangered plant and animal life, as well as an impressive roster of rare plant and animal species, unique to Gorges’ unusual ecosystem. The dramatic topography features many beautiful waterfalls and allows for all kinds of things to do, including hiking, climbing, mountain biking, fly fishing and camping.

Recent improvements have made Gorges State Park more visitor friendly than ever. Access roads, parking areas, trails and an impressive new visitor center have transformed Gorges into North Carolina’s best state park.

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