Bring Your Family to Pilot Cove

Transylvania County offers the ideal destination for adventure and fun for the entire family!

Activities for Kids

Brevard and Pisgah Forest have activities for everyone! The area’s largest natural water slide, Sliding Rock, is a popular attraction for families and kids. Also the nearby the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education offers an engaging and educational experience. The area’s many festivals, including the White Squirrel Festival, Mountain Song Festival, Brevard Music Festival, Halloweenfest, and the Holiday Twilight Tour bring live music, food and craft vendors, and activities for kids. The Forest Discovery Center at the Cradle of Forestry connects children with the history of forestry in the United States. On a rainy day, visit the Brevard Rock Gym, O.P. Taylor’s Toy Store, or the Co-Ed Theater downtown.

By far, the wide range of outdoor activities is the most popular draw for Transylvania County visitors. Pisgah Forest is a natural playground for family members of all ages, and offers endless educational and recreational opportunities. Bring the family and create memories that will last a lifetime!



Transylvania County is often referred to as the Land of Waterfalls. Accessibility to the plentiful waterfalls range from park-and-view, to moderate or strenuous hikes. For an organized waterfall viewing experience, consider hiring a guide for a waterfall tour, where your day can be customized based on your desired activity level. It would truly take a lifetime to see all waterfalls in Transylvanis County – locals have tried! Come experience the majesty for yourself.


Tubing on the French Broad River or the Davidson River offers a fun family activity during the warmer Summer months.  Many local outfitters offer tube rentals and shuttle services, and can advise on river conditions and weather advisories, making your family experience simple and enjoyable.

Horseback Riding

Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest are great places to horseback ride and enjoy the mountains with your equine companion. Whether you are a beginner and just want to get outside for the day, or if you have your own horse and are an experienced rider, there are many trails from which to choose. Pisgah Stables and Mountain Horse Adventures are excellent resources for horseback riding questions and guide services. Please note we do not allow horses at Pilot Cove and do not have any stables.


The Blue Ridge Parkway is among the greatest treasures in Western North Carolina, not to mention one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in America. The 469-mile road stretches from North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. It’s often dubbed “America’s Favorite Drive,” earning more than 15 million visitors every year. 

Some of those visitors are tourists from far-flung corners of the world, who choose to drive along the route and stop at a number of the stunning scenic overlooks. Others are locals who are always looking for new places to hike, camp, and explore. No matter who you are or what brought you to the Blue Ridge Parkway, this guide will provide you with ample ideas on how to spend your time once you’re here. And best of all — all of these ideas are just minutes away from Pilot Cove! 

This guide focuses specifically on locations and activities closest to Pilot Cove, located between Highway 191 at Brevard Road and US 74 in Waynesville, North Carolina. This section of the Parkway is one of the most spectacular, reaching the highest elevations of any motor road in the Eastern US above 6000’.

A Brief History of the Blue Ridge Parkway

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Skyline Drive in Virginia. At that time, the senator from Virginia, Harry Byrd, suggested connecting that site with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. And thus, the Blue Ridge Parkway was born. Leaders from Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee came together to plan and fund the proposed highway.

Like any great idea, The Blue Ridge Parkway faced its share of controversy. The City of Asheville heavily protested the original plan, insisting that the parkway pass through their city to help their struggling economy. Eventually, they gained approval, and with a budget of $16 million, a combination of private contractors and public works programs were employed to make the parkway a reality. 

The project hit another snag when World War II struck; by the 1950s, only half of the Blue Ridge Parkway was completed. So the National Park Service launched Mission 66, a development plan to complete the highway by 1966. They were mostly successful, completing all but 7.7 miles. That final stretch, at Grandfather Mountain, was protested due to the risks to Grandfather Mountain’s Terrain. After much negotiation, the Linn Cove Viaduct was completed in 1987, constructed in such a way that it protected the mountain’s ecology. 

And thus, the Blue Ridge Parkway was completed!

Blue Ridge Mountain sunset

Stunning Views of the Blue Ridge Parkway

While many of the visitors to this area are outdoor enthusiasts, enjoying the Blue Ridge Parkway doesn’t require strenuous outdoor activities. There are endless scenic overlooks along the parkway that are easily accessible by car. Scenic overlooks are an excellent place to take a break from the car, enjoy stunning mountain views, and practice your photography skills. In the busy season, you can also mingle with fellow Blue Ridge Parkway travelers. If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the scenery, look no further than any of these incredible overlooks: 

  • Beech Gap Overlook
  • Cherry Cove Overlook
  • Chestnut Cove Overlook
  • Cradle of Forestry Overlook
  • Cowee Mountains Overlook (incredible views!)
  • Devil’s Courthouse
  • East Fork Overlook
  • Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway
  • Graveyard Fields Overlook
  • Log Hollow Overlook
  • Looking Glass Rock Overlook
  • Pink Beds Overlook
  • Pisgah Ledge Overlook
  • Pounding Mill Overlook
  • Richland Balsam Overlook — The highest point on the parkway! 
  • Wagon Gap Road Overlook

Bonus: If you fall in love with the view and want to stay overnight, these overlooks (and many more like them) are mere minutes from some of the region’s best lodging, including Pilot Cove.

best mtb trails

Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway near Pilot Cove

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers access to hiking trails that are suitable for everyone from families and beginner hikers to experienced explorers. Whether you’re looking for an easy 1-mile route or the starting point for a long-distance trek, the Blue Ridge Parkway has plenty of options for you. Here are some of our favorites: 

Buck Springs Trail: If you’re looking for a moderate challenge, Buck Springs Trail could be for you. It’s a 6.2-mile trek one way with moderately steep climbs. It culminates at the Mount Pisgah parking area, from which you can reach the apex of Mount Pisgah or continue on to Asheville from the Shut-In Trail. It is intersected by Barnett Branch and Section 2 of the Mountains to Sea Trail. 

Mount Pisgah Trail: Despite being a much shorter trek than Buck Springs Trail (just over 2 miles round trip), it’s not an easy hike. However, the steep, rocky climb to the summit of Mount Pisgah is well worth the effort. The path is rife with colorful flowers, and the views from the top are breathtaking. It’s one of the most popular hikes in the region, and Mount Pisgah is one of the most historically significant peaks in Western North Carolina.

Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail: This 1.5-mile round-trip hike is gentle but continuously steep, making it a moderate choice. During spring and summer, the trail is ablaze with wildflowers and blueberries, adding charm and color to the path. And from the peak, there are stunning views of Fryingpan Mountain and the surrounding area. The historic fire lookout tower at the top is a popular tourist destination and adds to the scenery. 

John Rock Hike & Cedar Rock Falls: The John Rock Hike is a 5-mile loop, with a longer entry and a shorter return trip. The hike ascends about 1,000 feet to a summit of 3,320 feet, and include not only scenic wildflowers but also access to Cedar Rock Falls along the way. It intersects with several other trails and is close to many other trails and swimming holes. You can access it from the John Rock Hike Parking Area.

Mountains to Sea Trail: For the most experienced adventurers, the Mountains to Sea Trail offers a long-distance hiking option all the way from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Outer Banks. The trail is over a thousand miles long (1,175 to be exact), so unlike the other options here, it’s certainly not suitable for a day trip! However, sections of the trail are accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway if you want to explore the early trails, and they intersect with other nearby trails, allowing you the freedom to spend as much (or as little) time as you want.

Devil’s Courthouse: For those seeking a family friendly short hike with incredible views, don’t miss Devil’s Courthouse! Follow the paved trail from the parking area to the summit to enjoy sweeping vistas over the surrounding mountains. There is a lot of history and folklore here too, including the Cherokee legend spoken to early mountain settlers about the devil holding court in a cave within the mountain. 

Looking Glass Rock 2

Camping Along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Pilot Cove

For those who can’t get enough of the scenery, there is no better way to enjoy nature in all its splendor than by camping at the Mount Pisgah Campground. It’s one of the top-rated campgrounds in the nation, and it offers 125 campsites – some of which require reservations and many of which are available for walk-ups. You can camp with tents or RVs, depending on your preference – and you can camp solo or with large groups. The campsites come with fire pits and access to bathrooms and showers to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. The campground also has access to swimming holes, hiking trails, and local accommodations such as restaurants and museums. The peak season runs from May to October, so expect plenty of other campers within those months, and reserve your spot ahead of time if possible. 

Group of kids in forest walking

Family-Friendly Activities on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Pilot Cove

There are many family-friendly options for recreation along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including many of the hiking trails and scenic overlooks we discussed above. 

If your family loves to swim, check out local attractions such as Moore Cove Falls, Looking Glass Falls, Skinny Dip Falls, and Sliding Rock. 

You can also access numerous educational resources, such as the Cradle of Forestry in America Heritage Site, which celebrates early forestry and conservation efforts in this region. You can look about environmental stewardship and sustainability through educational exhibitions, art and drama performances, guided tours, crafts, and more. 

And just a short drive away is the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center, which teaches visitors about the history and cultural significance of the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can tour the Green Building known for its cutting-edge conservation technology, and they even have a theater that shows The Blue Ridge Parkway – America’s Favorite Journey. The film will give you a closer look at parts of the parkway you may not have been able to see otherwise. 

There are many reasons to visit the magnificent Blue Ridge Parkway, and no matter what type of traveler you are, we guarantee that you will find something to love about this place. Come see us at Pilot Cove, and we can point you to even more local treasures!

family fun hiking

A Guide to Western North Carolina’s Summer Camps

Western North Carolina is famous for its breathtaking beauty and wide range of interesting things to do. Tourists from all over the world, not to mention the growing number of people who call these mountains home, love this area for the outdoor adventures, fine dining and craft brews, and artistic and cultural hubs.

And the best part is, WNC offers excitement for all ages, including hundreds of summer camps! There are many camps close to Pilot Cove in Transylvania County, Henderson County, Buncombe County, Haywood County, and beyond.

Whether you’re looking for an overnight co-ed adventure camp, an artsy all-girl day camp, or even a camp for special-needs adults, Western North Carolina has a perfect fit for everyone – and every budget. Here’s an up-close look at some of the camps that are offered within just a short drive of Pilot Cove!

Science & Astronomy Summer Camps at PARI

Explore the universe and beyond with the Learning Center at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute!  These one-of-a-kind experiences are offered at our historic, 200-acre campus in the Pisgah Forest and offer campers a truly otherworldly adventure. More info on these great summer camp experiences can be found here.

Camp Highlander

Camp Highlander is a co-ed residential camp in Mills River, NC. Their sessions run through June and July, with special family sessions taking place in May and September. Activities include stage performances, soccer, horseback riding, arts, and more. Their focus is on helping kids (aged 5+) develop life skills in a safe, supportive, fun environment.

Camp Pisgah

Is a ladies-only camp your preference for your daughter? Camp Pisgah offers a variety of day and overnight camps just for girls. Their sessions run through June and July, and young girls from first through twelfth grade. There are leadership-focused sessions, as well as opportunities for archery, rock climbing, ceramics, and even a slumber party with sharks! Camp Pisgah is held in Brevard, NC.

Camp Carolina

Looking for an all-boys camp instead? Camp Carolina could be the place. Established in 1924, Camp Carolina is a place where boys of all ages come together to explore the outdoors, gain confidence, and engage in community-building activities. The camp is located in Brevard and provides a wide range of activities for their campers.

Camp Illahee

Since 1921, Camp Illahee has given girls the opportunity to explore their interests, seek new adventures and forge friendships and memories that last a lifetime. In the Cherokee language, Illahee means “heavenly world.” This expresses the very best of what campers, counselors and staff create in our remarkable community every summer.

Camp Muddy Sneakers

Camp Muddy Sneakers is a co-ed day camp for children aged 4 to 14. This Brevard-based camp uses outdoor adventure and experiential learning to provide kids with everything from science education to an introduction to mountain sports, not to mention crafts and games. Sessions run from June into August. Camp Muddy Sneakers was awarded a Best of the Blue Ridge 2019 award.

Keystone Camp

Since 1916, Keystone Camp has encouraged girls to become strong individuals. Teaching life-long skills and values in a fun and nurturing environment is the hallmark of the Keystone summer camp experience. Nestled in the mountains of North Carolina is a place for girls (only!) — where friendships, fun, and adventure wait around every bend. In this place the only thing you have to be is yourself.

Eagle’s Nest Camp

Located in Pisgah Forest, Eagle’s Nest Camp is a co-ed overnight camp for kids from kindergarten all the way through eleventh grade. They focus on self-expression, skill building, and personal growth. They provide a supportive, compassionate environment that their campers often consider a second home, returning year after year. Sessions run from June into August, and activities include everything from outdoor sports to cooking classes and arts and crafts.

Camp High Rocks

Camp High Rocks is a traditional boys’ Summer Camp in the North Carolina Mountains. We create a purposeful atmosphere based on four key pillars: community, adventure, leadership, and independence that is geared to a camper’s needs and interests. Aided by a well-trained staff we seek to teach and to inspire lasting skills and values.

Green River Preserve

Green River Preserve offers one-, two-, and three-week residence options from June into August for second through ninth graders. The camp is located in Cedar Mountain, NC, and is open to both boys and girls. From yoga and theater to pottery, music, mountain biking, fly fishing, and more — there’s an activity for everyone at Green River Preserve. The camp focuses on making meaningful connections and deepening campers’ passion and respect for their peers and the environment.

Rockbrook Camp For Girls

Rockbrook is a sleepaway summer camp for girls located in the “heart of a wooded mountain” in Brevard, North Carolina. Founded in 1921, our summer camp continues to provide an exciting and enriching, fun and formative, camp experience for girls and teens ages 6 – 16. Each summer Rockbrook provides a unique overnight camp program of recreation, adventure, creativity and fun. From horseback riding, whitewater rafting, pottery, and swimming to camp fires and exploring a chilly stream, each day at camp is filled with new experiences and great opportunities to develop lasting friendships.

Gwynn Valley Camp

Situated on 400 acres in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Brevard, NC, Gwynn Valley Camp has been a summer camp for boys and girls since 1935.  We offer a farm, wilderness, and traditional program where we foster community building, lifelong friendships, and a connection with the land. Our founder, Mary Gwynn created a camp based on the values of simplicity, acceptance, a non-competitive program, and an appreciation of the natural world. These core values continue to be embraced at Gwynn Valley today.

Camp Kahdalea for Girls and Camp Chosatonga for Boys

Camp Kahdalea for Girls & Camp Chosatonga for Boys are two separate North Carolina camps about a mile apart in location but very close in fellowship. In the Blue Ridge Mountains, these camps have wonderful in-camp programs as well as great mountain adventure programs. We are known for our unusually wonderful staff who believe in goodness and make it work in this culture

Camp Pinnacle

Established in 1928, Camp Pinnacle takes much of the magic that makes Adventure Treks special and translates it into a more traditional summer camp experience for girls and boys ages 7–15. We’re all about helping children discover the outdoors, be part of a close community, and spread their wings away from home. We carefully orchestrate Camp Pinnacle so every single camper, regardless of age, gets exciting, significant outdoor experiences. And to make preparation easier for parents, camp tuition is all-inclusive; all trips and activities, even outdoor equipment, is included.

The Wilds

The Wilds offers a wide variety of camps, from traditional children’s camps to full-family camps, college retreats, and even camps for adults. All of their camps are packed with activities, from hiking and swimming to the rifle range to table tennis, and they’re also centered on Biblical teachings. The Wilds is located in Brevard, NC.

Camp Joy

Located in Flat Rock, NC, Camp Joy is an event specially designed by Christian Education Ministries for adults with mental handicaps. Camp Joy is hosted at the Bonclarken Conference Center, and provides their campers (and their friends) with opportunities for Bible study, worship, and recreational activities. The five-day sessions run through June and July.

Talisman Summer Camps

Talisman Programs provides everything you expect of a traditional summer camp – but it also focuses on specialized programming for young people (ages 6 to 22) with autism spectrum disorders and learning disabilities such as ADHD. Their programs provide fun, exciting opportunities for their campers, while helping build confidence and social skills among ASD youth. They are passionate about and dedicated to their mission. You can find them in Zirconia, NC.

Camp Mondamin

Camp Mondamin is a highly regarded summer camp for boys located on Lake Summit in Henderson County NC.

Blue Star Camps

Founded by the Popkin family in 1948 with a vision of creating a vibrant and inclusive Jewish camp community where campers could learn about their shared history and identity, Blue Star Camps always has been acamp with purpose.” Family owned and led since its founding, Blue Star continues to nurture the vision of our camp’s founders, instill the values of kindness, inclusion, social justice and environmental stewardship, and empower children and young adults to contribute positively to the world around them.

Camp Bonclarken

Camp Bonclarken is the conference center of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church.  The ARP Church is a conservative evangelical Christian denomination that has been faithfully preaching the Gospel for over 200 years.  Our roots are traced to the Reformation, particularly the work of John Calvin and John Knox. Located in Flat Rock NC in Henderson County.

Camp Glen Arden

Tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina, Camp Glen Arden began as a private sleepover camp for girls nearly 70 years ago and has been positively influencing the growth and maturity of young women since then. Our camp focuses on developing well-rounded, wholesome individuals who, removed from the distractions of technology and social media, encourage one another in learning new life skills and developing lifelong friendships. Glen Arden’s sessions serve girls from 1st through 11th grades and are available in two, three, and four week options.

Camp Green Cove

Located in the Mountains of Western North Carolina for 74 years, Camp Green Cove emphasizes outdoor activities such as horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, mountain biking, and rock climbing. We believe in fun, adventure, safety, and great instruction. Our program is non-competitive, which encourages experimentation, and non-regimented, which fosters self-direction. Our strengths lie in the quality of our staff and the depth of our program. We value diversity, attracting campers from all 50 states and several other countries.

Camp Greystone

Nestled in the blue ridge mountains, Camp Greystone allows girls to grow in a safe and uplifting environment. Located in Henderson County NC.

Camp Judea

Established in 1961, Camp Judaea is a small, Jewish, Israel-centered summer camp community for boys and girls ages 7-15 located in Hendersonville, NC. At Camp Judaea, we offer a wide variety of really fun activities in a loving family atmosphere. This allows campers to grow and even transform themselves every summer they return.

Camp Kanuga

Since 1931, Camp Kanuga campers have been forming lifelong friendships, experiencing new adventures and exploring their faith in our welcoming Christian community. Camp Kanuga is a co-ed summer camp affiliated with The Episcopal Church and located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. We are accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA) the industry leader in setting standards for camp program quality and youth development education. We are committed to promoting growth and fun in a safe, nurturing environment. All of our programs are designed to build independence and self-confidence in youth while teaching the importance of respect toward each other and the world around them.

Camp Pinewood

Established by Marty and Tina Levine in 1967, Camp Pinewood has provided thousands of children with fun-filled summers and lifetime memories. From the beginning, it was Marty and Tina’s vision to provide a safe and wholesome environment where children can grow and develop self-reliance, learn new skills and form lasting friendships.

Camp Tekoa

Camp Tekoa has two separate seasons for use:  the summer camp season and our retreat season. Summer camp primarily runs from the end of May until the middle of August each year. Our Retreat season runs from the middle of August until summer camp begins in May. Tekoa offers four main programs during the summer camp season. These programs are designed for many different population groups, including age, gender, ability, and camper interests. Our four types of summer camp programs are: Day Camps, Overnight (TKO) Camps, Adventure Camps, Special Needs Camps.

Camp Ton-A-Wandah

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, Camp Ton-A-Wandah is a summer camp for girls established in 1933.  Our summer camp provides an unspoiled summer retreat for girls ages 5-16. Our mission is to create a community that fosters friendship and sisterhood. This community is created to help develop young ladies to become women of substance who are leaders throughout the world!

Camp Wayfarer

Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, near Asheville, Camp Wayfarer is a sleep away camp for boys and girls ages 6-16. More than just a traditional coed summer camp, Wayfarer is a close-knit family consisting of campers, counselors, alumni and parents. Together our Wayfarer family is building a wonderful home away from home.

Falling Creek Camp

Since 1969, Falling Creek Camp families have recognized the value of the camp experience and the critical role it plays in their sons’ development as confident gentlemen who have a bright outlook on the future. Falling Creek’s mission is to provide a setting, a program, and dedicated leadership to allow our boys a maximum opportunity for personal growth and fun as they develop an understanding of their relationship with nature, their fellow man, and God.


Not convinced that any of those are right for you? Not to worry! There are plenty more to choose from. Check out the links below to find out more details on who can attend these day camps and overnight camps, what their schedules and rates are, and what kind of activities their campers can look forward to!

WNC Day Camps

Adventure Center of Asheville

Appalachian Institute for Creative Learning

Artemis Archery Asheville

Asheville Art Museum

Asheville Community Theater

Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association (ABYSA)

Asheville Christian Academy

Asheville Creative Arts

Asheville Creative Arts Preschool

Asheville Farmstead School

Asheville Jewish Community Center

Asheville Museum of Science

Asheville Music School

Asheville Parks and Recreation

Asheville Performing Arts Academy

Asheville Racquet Club

Asheville School App Development Camp

Asheville School of Film

Ballet Conservatory of Asheville

Bears Wrestling Club

Black Mountain Center for the Arts

Bricks 4 Kidz LEGO Engineering Camps

British Soccer Camp

Budo Mountain Nature Adventures

Camp Cedar Cliffs

Camp Folkmoot

Camp Invention

Camp Rockmont

Carolina Day School

Center Stage Dance Studio

Christ School Revolution Lacrosse Camp

Climbmax Climbing Center


Earth Path Education

Elevate Life and Art


Emmanuel Lutheran School

Evergreen Community Charter School

Fired Up! Creative Lounge

Fun Learning About God (FLAG) Camp

Franny’s Farm

Girls Rock Asheville

Growing Wild Forest School

Gwynn Valley Camp

Hahn’s Gymnastics

Hanger Hall

Hickory Nut Gap Farm

High Vista

Holston Presbytery Camp

Kids Garden

Koko Bike Park at Adventure Center of Asheville

Lakeview Putt-Putt

LEAF Arts & Parks Camp

The Little Gym


M’s School of Arts

Mars Hill University of Music Camp

Mars Hill University Dance Camp

Molly Angel’s Art Camps

Montreat Conference Center “Clubs” Summer Day Camp

Mountain Roots

Music Academy of Asheville/Rock Academy

N.C. Arboretum Discovery Camp

N.C. Stage Company

N.C. State Pre-College Programs

Odyssey Ceramic Arts

Osega Gymnastics


Rainbow Community School

RiverLink French Broad RiverCamp

Rock Academy

Roots + Wings School of Art and Design

Run Wild!

Transylvania Community Arts Council

Ultimate Frisbee Camp

UNC Asheville Piano Camp

UNC Asheville Summer Jazz and Contemporary Music Intensive

Warren Wilson College Soccer Camps

WNC Down Syndrome Alliance Buddy Camp

WNC Nature Center

Xplore USA

YMCA of Western North Carolina

Zaniac Learning

family fun in Brevard, NC

WNC Overnight Camps

Adventure Treks

Appalachian Christian Camp

App Development Camp at Asheville School

Appalachian Institute for Creative Learning

Buffalo Cove Outdoor Education Center Earth Camp

Camp Cedar Cliff

Camp Celo

Camp Chatuga

Camp Cheerio

Camp Chosatonga

Camp Fire Georgia

Camp Grier

Camp Harrison

Camp Henry

Camp High Rocks

Camp Illahee

Camp Kahdalea

Camp Lutherock

Camp Pinnacle

Camp Thunderbird

Camp Woodmont

Cheerio Adventures


Clemson Summer Scholars

Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute

Climbmax Climbing Center

COMPASS Programs at Montreat College


Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Gwynn Valley Camp

Holston Presbytery Camp

Keystone Camp

Land of the Sky Wilderness School


Mars Hill University Dance Camp

Mars Hill Summer Music Camp

North Carolina Outward Bound

N.C. Trout Unlimited

Project P.R.O.M.I.S.E. Health Careers Summer Camp

Quaker Lake Camp

Ridge Haven

Rockbrook Camp for Girls

South Mountain Christian Camp

Western Carolina University

Xplore USA

YMCA Camp Greenville

YMCA Camp Watia

Let Muddy Sneakers enhance the outdoor aspect of your camp, organization, or group. Our programming can be tailored to fit your needs, incorporated into existing activities or presented as a standalone experience that’s sure to build lifelong memories.

Camp Muddy Sneakers is based on a philosophy that the best way for children to develop a connection to the natural world is through meaningful and fun outdoor experiences. Our day camp encourages kids to follow their imagination and curiosity as they actively engage with the world around them. Campers get to learn about various ecosystems through experiential activities while exploring the forests and streams of Western North Carolina. All our sessions are led by highly qualified Muddy Sneakers naturalists in small groups.

Pilot Cove Winter Adventure Guide-01

The winter season brings a wonderful mystique to the Pisgah National Forest and Brevard NC. This amazing land covering more than 500,000 acres offers incredible hardwood forests, waterfalls and plentiful trails. In fact, Transylvania County and Brevard, NC offer more than 400 miles of trails for hiking and cycling! While some areas are shut down during the winter, others offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy this incredible land enveloped in winter beauty.

Year-Round Trails

Many of the best hiking trails in the Brevard area are found in the Pisgah National Forest. Here’s a look at some of the best hiking trails for the winter found throughout Transylvania County and Brevard.

John Rock Trail (Pisgah National Forest)

A five-mile loop, this trail offers a wonderful summit found 3,320 feet up. The Cedar Rock Falls are found on the way and are easily spotted due to the leafless trees. This hike stars as the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and it’s found about 37 miles from Downtown Asheville.

Moore Cove Falls Trail (Pisgah National Forest)

A family-friendly trail offering about three-quarts of a mile of fun, the Moore Cove Falls Trail includes an observation deck, and a beautiful waterfall. When the rocks are not icy, you can walk behind the waterfall, as well. This hike is found near the John Rock trail along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway.

Looking Glass Rock (Pisgah National Forest)

While this hike isn’t for the faint of heart, it does provide incredible 180+ degree views of the area. The trial is 6.5 miles round trip and includes climbing about 1,700 feet in elevation. It’s also found close to the John Rock trail.

Art Loeb Trail (Pisgah National Forest)

The Art Loeb trail is 30 miles long and extends from the Davidson River Campground to the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp near Cold Mountain. This is one of the most spectacular trails in the Eastern US for scenery, traversing high peaks and ridges above treeline with expansive views in every season. In winter the access is more difficult as the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed, rewarding the brave few that make the trek with solitude and natural beauty.

South Mills River Trail (Pisgah National Forest)

This trail follows the beautiful South Fork of the Mills River for approximately 12 miles. Fly fishermen will love this trek, as there are many opportunities for private fishing holes. Additionally, there are many connecting trails in the area to create longer hike or mountain bike options. Note there are many stream crossings on this hike, so be prepared for your feet to get wet! The easiest access is to park at the Turkeypen Trailhead off Hwy 280, about 10 minutes away from Pilot Cove.

Pink Beds Loop (Pisgah National Forest)

The Pink Beds are a unique geological formation in Pisgah National Forest, encompassing a high elevation flat valley with rare mountain bogs, creeks, streams, rock formations, and endangered species. This hike is also near the Cradle of Forestry in America, where modern forestry techniques were born. This loop is relatively flat 5 mile loop hike is a great option for the family or naturalists seeking to enjoy a rare ecosystem. The easiest access for this hike is off Hwy 276 just past the entrance to the Cradle of Forestry in America.

Other great winter hiking and mountain biking trails near Brevard include:

  • Mountains to Sea Trail (accessed along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Hwy 276 or Hwy 215)
  • Davidson River Trail (Estatoe Path)
  • Bennett Gap Trail (great views of Looking Glass Rock!)
  • Gorges State Park and the Rainbow Falls Trail
  • Courthouse Falls (Pisgah National Forest)
  • Bridal Veil Falls (DuPont State Forest)
  • Wintergreen Falls (DuPont State Forest)

Blue Ridge Parkway Winter Access

The Blue Ridge Parkway is generally closed during the Winter months due to icy and hazardous weather conditions. Even though the Blue Ridge Parkway may be close during portions of the winter, you can still walk, cycle, snowshoe, hike or even cross-country ski on the Parkway! In fact, some of the best winter hiking with panoramic views is found along the closed Parkway.

Top Waterfalls for Winter Photography

Waterfalls are incredible during the summer and offer great opportunities for pictures. However, the winter brings a completely different type of look and feel to the waterfalls found near Brevard, NC. Some of the most spectacular waterfall photography is taken in the winter months when the trees are leafless and the views are clear. Also the waterfalls can freeze over in cold weather spells, making for a unique and breathtaking experience!

If you’re looking for a great picture this winter, check out these top waterfalls found near Brevard.

Triple Falls (DuPont State Forest)

Many waterfalls are found throughout DuPont State Forest and the winter makes for a quiet time to get that perfect photograph. A three-mile hike will allow you to see and capture the Triple Falls, along with Hooker Falls and High Falls, which are all found in the DuPont State Forest. If you go another four miles, you can also capture Bridal Veil Falls.

Moore Cove Falls (Pisgah National Forest)

Moore Cove Falls is accessed from a short 3/4 mile hike off Hwy 276. The beautiful waterfall falls over a ledge with a rock outcrop formation, allowing visitors to walk behind the waterfall! In winter the falls can freeze from the bottom up, creating a unique ice formation similar to a stalagmite formation in a cave.

Cove Creek Falls (Pisgah National Forest)

The winter brings out the best for Cove Creek Falls. This beautiful cascading waterfall offers incredible photography opportunities. In addition, it’s found close to Daniel Ridge Falls meaning you can hike to both in the same day for amazing pictures.

Looking Glass Falls (Pisgah National Forest)

Another great choice in Pisgah National Forest, Looking Glass Falls offers an easily accessible waterfall for winter photography. Looking Glass Falls is located directly off the road, making enjoyment easy for the entire family

Slick Rock Falls (Pisgah National Forest)

If you can catch Slick Rock Falls after a bit of extreme cold weather, you may be able to capture a picture of the falls frozen in motion. However, if it’s not quite as cold, you may be able to hike behind the cascade and check out the incredible ice formations.

A few other great waterfalls for winter photography include:

  • Whitewater Falls (Nantahala National Forest)
  • Panthertown Valley (many waterfalls!)
  • Estatoe Falls (Private property yet accessible)
  • Courthouse Falls (Pisgah National Forest)
  • Sliding Rock (Pisgah National Forest)
  • Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls (Gorges State Park)

Since the trees don’t have any leaves, the photography options become more plentiful during the winter at these waterfalls near Brevard. In addition, the snow and ice can make for incredible pictures.

Amazing Sunsets and Sunrises

While the waterfalls alone are enough for a great photograph, you won’t want to miss out on the incredible sunsets and sunrises during the winter. This season of the year may be the absolute best for viewing the sunsets and sunrises.

The main reason the sunsets and sunrises are so amazing in the winter has to do with the crisp, clear air. During the summer, the air circulation is more sluggish, which causes a haze and keeps the sunset and sunrise from becoming as vivid as they are in the winter. The winter season offers a clear and cold air at the dawn and twilight hours, which causes the more vibrant colors.

In addition, the Brevard area isn’t nearly as crowded during the winter, which makes for a peaceful time to enjoy the sunrise and sunset.

Five More Reasons to Visit Brevard NC and Pilot Cove During the Winter

If the hikes, waterfalls and amazing winter photography options aren’t enough, here are a few more great reasons to visit the Brevard area and Pisgah National Forest during the winter months.

  1. The darker skies make for incredible sky watching.
  2. Less crowded trails! Mountain bikers will rejoice at the splendid riding and solace they find without the crowds.
  3. Fewer people on routes making for great rock climbing opportunities.
  4. Skiing is available within 1.5 hours at Wolf Ridge in Mars Hill and Cataloochee in Maggie Valley.
  5. Less of a crowd at the area shops, restaurants and breweries.

Many visitors come to the Brevard area during the summer and fall seasons. However, the winter may be one of best “secret” times to visit. If you want to keep away from the crowds, enjoy incredible views without leaves on the trees and capture some of the most amazing pictures, the winter is the ideal season to visit Brevard, NC and the Pisgah National Forest.

Are you looking to book your Winter getaway to Brevard NC and Pisgah National Forest? Whether you are looking for an adventure, some rest and relaxation, or both, Pilot Cove offers the perfect affordable luxury accommodations for your vacation. Pilot Cove shares a ~1 mile border with Pisgah National Forest, offering the closest accommodations you can possibly find to the forest entrance without camping. Position yourself in the ideal location with the nicest accommodations! More information can be found on our lodging page, or by contacting us at or 1-866-758-2683.

Also Pilot Cove is running a promotion in the December, January, and February winter months. If a guest books 2 nights, then the 3rd night is free! (Excludes Dec 23-Jan 1). More info can be found here.

319 Gateway Junction Dr - living room

Guided hiking tours, camping tours, beer and wine tours, fully-equipped van rentals, and more with customized itineraries to your needs. Also custom elopement ceremonies in the beautiful Western NC mountains!

Pure, natural, and uncensored artisanal honey from a property bordering Pisgah National Forest. Tours available!

Killer Bees Honey

The Brevard Clay gallery features a collection of functional, affordable ceramics as well as other local crafts. We offer a curated collection that honors quality craftsmanship as well as aesthetic quality. Brevard Clay also offers a paint your own pottery studio for a fun experience with the entire family!

Fun for the entire family with an outdoor education center and recreation opportunities. Also offering weddings and corporate retreats. Located near Lake Toxaway.

cycling in fall in Pisgah National Forest

The Blue Ridge Parkway has long been recognized as the most scenic road in the United States. Managed by the National Park Service, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs for 469 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The Blue Ridge Parkway is easily accessible from Pilot Cove via a 15 mile scenic drive or bike ride along Highway 276.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Dubbed “The Coolest Store on Earth”, this established toy store offers something for children and customers of all ages. Located in Downtown Brevard.

Indoor bowling alley near Downtown Brevard on Rosman Highway.


Early-19th-century movie house featuring first-run films on a single screen. Located in Downtown Brevard.

Guided horseback rides throughout Transylvania County. Open seasonally April – October.

Rock gym and guide service located near downtown Brevard.

One of the most magnificent estates in America, if not the world. Located about 45 minutes away from Pilot Cove, near Asheville.

Nestled in Pink Beds Valley is the Cradle of Forestry in America, the birthplace of science-based forest management and a living legacy made possible by George and Edith Vanderbilt of the nearby Biltmore Estate. Some 87,000 aces of the Vanderbilt’s “Pisgah Forest” tract became the nucleus of the Pisgah National Forest, established in 1916. This 6500 acre historic site in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, NC was created by Congress in 1968 to “preserve, develop, and make available to this and future generations the birthplace of forestry and forestry education in America.”

Cradle of Forestry

Hosted by the Steep Canyon Rangers this festival is a must see.  Held annually in early September at the Brevard Music Center.

Crystal Mountain Gem Mine brings you and your family the unique experience of Gem Mining for your very own gem stones, keep everything you find! Located in Downtown Brevard.

Float or fish the majestic French Broad River at your leisure! Located at the confluence of the West Fork and the North Fork of the French Broad River, this full service fly fishing shop also offers guided trips, tubing rentals and shuttle service, a taproom, and canoe/kayak rentals to complete your day on the water.

Pilot Cove Amphitheater

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