Hiking Near Pilot Cove

Transylvania County and the vast Pisgah National Forest offer some of the best hiking in the United States. Containing some of the highest mountains in the East, the area is home to a diverse range of hiking options suited to hikers of all ages and skill levels. The possibilities are endless!

Hiking Pisgah National Forest

Transylvania County and the Pisgah National Forest is home to hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Divided into four main ranger districts, the forest covers approximately 500,000 acres of wilderness. Pilot Cove is located adjacent to the Pisgah Ranger district, with the Davidson River area being the most accessible from the property.

Whether you are looking to spend a leisurely day exploring the forest or are seeking a longer adventure covering multiple miles of trail, this area of Pisgah has a host of trails to choose from.

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Waterfalls

Experience the Land of the Waterfalls! Transylvania County is home to more than 250 majestic waterfalls. The ever-popular Looking Glass Falls is located just 6 miles away and features its own parking area, with Sliding Rock also nearby. Many trails are accessible with just a short hike, including Moore Cove Falls, Daniel Ridge Falls, Skinny Dip Falls, and Log Hollow Falls. If you’re looking for a more strenuous route to view the falls, check out Twin Falls, Cedar Rock Falls, or any of the other hundreds of waterfalls in Transylvania County!

Children Having Fun And Balancing On Tree In Fall Woodland

Family Hikes

Many waterfall hikes are family friendly, including Moore Cove Falls and Log Hollow Falls. A local favorite family-friendly destination is the Cradle of Forestry, located about 10 miles away. The Forest Discovery Center is another favorite stop for kids, with a 2 mile paved, accessible trail that features restored turn-of-the-century buildings and educational exhibits about how forestry began in the United States. Nearby is another Pilot Cove favorite: Pink Beds, a 5 mile loop trail that’s great for a half-day hiking adventure.

Looking Glass Rock 2

Mountain Views

Looking Glass Rock is a famous landmark in Pisgah National Forest, offering breathtaking 180 degree views from the top! It’s accessible from Looking Glass Rock Trail, a 6.5 mile round-trip hike from the trailhead, located less than a 10 minute drive from Pilot Cove. For other nearby hikes with mountain views, check out Bennett Gap, the Art Loeb Trail, Devil’s Courthouse, Mount Pisgah, and Black Balsam Knob. The Art Loeb Trail, named one of the best hikes in the United States by many outdoor magazines, has its southern terminus located less than a mile from Pilot Cove – the views from this trail are unparalleled in the Southeast!

Also, when the trees are void of leaves in Winter, mountain views are visible from nearly every trail. This is also the least crowded season for Pisgah National Forest, making it a splendid time to visit!

LOCAL RESOURCES

2021 Guide to Summer in Pisgah

It’s starting to feel like summertime in Pisgah! Beginning Memorial Day weekend, many families make their way to Brevard and Transylvania County for vacations, outdoor adventures, and summer camp excursions. It’s an ideal time for travelers of all ages to experience the majesty of the mountains, forests, roadways, and streams of Pisgah National Forest.

Popular Summertime activities include:

Mountain Biking – Pisgah National Forest was recently named a Top 10 mountain biking destination in the US by National Geographic! Nearby DuPont State Forest offers nearly a hundred miles of flowy singletrack trails. No matter your skill level, the Brevard area is a great destination for mountain bikers.

Road Cycling – The Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most scenic roads in the Country, is accessible throughout Transylvania County. Also there are hundreds of miles of state highways, paved mountain roads, and gravel USFS roads to choose from for your ideal distance and ride conditions.

Hiking & Backpacking – The options are endless for hiking throughout Pisgah National Forest. Here is more information on trails in the Davidson River area, which is directly adjacent to Pilot Cove. Whether you are an experienced backpacker looking to plan an extended trip, or a casual day hiker, Pisgah offers plentiful opportunity to see the sights afoot. Check out this comprehensive guide to all trails in Pisgah.

Summer Camps – Every year thousands of campers come to Transylvania and Henderson Counties. Parents can have their own vacation when picking up or dropping off their children, enjoying Brevard’s upscale dining opportunities and nightlife. Some even stay for a week or longer!

Waterfalls – Come experience the Land of Waterfalls! Here is more info on notable waterfalls in the area.

Sliding Rock – This natural 60 ft water slide on Looking Glass Creek is a popular attraction in Pisgah National Forest.

Fly Fishing – Transylvania County is home to some of the most pristine stretches of mountain water in the Southeast, offering an estimated 500 miles of fishable water within an hour drive of Brevard.

Tubing – Cool off in a refreshing mountain stream! Tubing is a fun activity for the entire family. Tubing options include the Davidson River and the French Broad River.

Kayaking / Canoeing – Grab your paddle and hit the water! The French Broad River and other area rivers offer great paddling and canoeing options.

Stand Up Paddleboarding – Quieter sections of the French Broad River, along with area lakes and larger swimming holes, offer unique opportunities for stand up paddleboarding.

Snorkeling – Snorkeling in Western North Carolina? Why not! Local guide Oxbow River Snorkeling gives the opportunity to experience pristine mountain rivers and streams from an underwater perspective.

Rock Climbing – Western North Carolina boasts the most rock climbing options East of the Mississippi. Some of the most notable crags are nearby Brevard, including John’s Rock, Cedar Rock, Laurel Knob, and the iconic Looking Glass Rock. There are plenty of bouldering options too!

Shopping, Dining, and Breweries – Brevard is a town abuzz with great food, diverse shopping, local breweries, and authentic mountain culture. Come experience the small town charm and Southern Hospitality!

Camping – A yearly camping trip to Pisgah National Forest is a highlight for many families.

Golf – Come hit the links! Beautiful mountain golf courses await your next visit.

Asheville – A short day trip from Brevard, the ecclectic City of Asheville was recently named the #1 destination in the US by Lonely Planet!

Biltmore Estate – The Biltmore Estate is a special place. Guests can step back in time to experience the largest private residence in the US, surrounded by manicured gardens, pastures, and vineyards.

Wildlife Viewing – Summertime brings out abundant wildlife in Pisgah National Forest! The forest is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Blue Ridge Parkway – The Blue Ridge Parkway has long been recognized as the most scenic road in the United States. Take a joyride to experience the sweeping mountain views from higher elevations!

Horseback Riding – DuPont State Forest and Pisgah National Forest both offer miles and miles of equestrian friendly trails.

At Pilot Cove, we were booked solid for Memorial Day weekend with families and adventurers alike. We enjoyed hosting our great guests! The reservation calendar is steadily filling up for the coming months, explore here for more info on your perfect Summer vacation to Brevard and Pisgah National Forest.

Looking Glass Rock 2

Majestic Looking Glass Rock mountain along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Spring Guide to Pisgah National Forest

Spring has sprung, as they say, in Pisgah National Forest! This is one of the best seasons to vacation in Brevard and Transylvania County, whether it’s for wildflower viewing, hiking, fly fishing, kayaking, festivals, or other outdoor adventures. Like all seasons in Pisgah, Spring promises in its distinct way to be a great time to visit the area. We hope this guide helps you plan your trip and excursions among these gorgeous mountains and forests.

Spring Guide to Pisgah National Forest

Trees & Wildflowers

Trees in Western North Carolina start to leaf out in April and May, and the wildflowers? Where do we begin? With more than 1,600 blooming plants in these mountains, we have one of the best climates in the world for wildflower blooming. March is the start of the Spring bloom season, with most of our notable, awe-inspiring, and spectacular shows of color happening between April and June. You can even expect to see things in bloom as late as October in our temperate climate! Here are some of the most commonly-known blooms you can find here in the Pisgah area month-by-month in Spring (some bloom for much longer than the typical starting month listed here):

  • March: daffodils, irises, buttercups, and yellow violets
  • April: dogwood, trillium, redwoods, tulip
  • May: crabapple, mountain laurel, flame azalea, violets, and magnolia
  • June: pink and white rhododendrons

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Spring Hikes & Outings

  • Cradle of Forestry in America opens again for the season in April. This heritage site is the birthplace of science-based forest management. Programs include interactive exhibits, drama, interpretive trails, nature programs, guided tours, crafts, and more
  • Pink Beds is actually named for its springtime array of brilliant pink blooms and is an excellent hike or trail run to do this season. This is a relatively flat loop hike across a mountain bog. It’s a pretty spectacular Spring outing and is located right next to the Cradle of Forestry. Directions can be found here. 
  • If you decide to venture up to Asheville, try the Biltmore Estate (here’s an excellent guide to the blooms you can expect to see there throughout the year) and the North Carolina Arboretum for their incredible gardens.
  • Take a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy the overlooks. Much of the Parkway closes during the Winter, but most sections reopen by May, and some earlier. The National Park Service updates this list of parkway openings and closures daily, so that before you head out for the day you can make sure you’re in for gorgeous overlooks and a relaxing drive instead of a “Road Closed” sign.
  • Enjoy some of the best sunsets in Western North Carolina. Mild Spring temperatures mean a more comfortable experience when the sun drops below the horizon! Here are a few spots for prime sunset viewing, and there are plenty close to Pilot Cove as well.

Spring Activities 

  • Fly fishing: Spring is an incredible time for fly fishing in the area, especially because scheduled stream stocking usually happens around March. Here’s our guide to fly fishing near Pilot Cove and Brevard.
  • Waterfalls: With Spring showers comes excellent water flow. This can create ideal days to view our many waterfalls in the area. Looking for waterfall hikes near Pilot Cove? Here are some ideas to get you started.
  • Kayaking: Due to high water levels, it’s also a great season for kayaking in our area! Check out our guide to water sports in Transylvania County.
  • Mountain biking and road cycling: You’ll experience great temperatures for biking on our mountain roads and trails during Spring! Check out our guide to biking near Pilot Cove.
  • Dine out, shop, and explore Brevard and the surrounding area: Here are some ideas to get you started. Plenty of our local restaurants are currently open (make sure to call ahead to confirm) or have takeout options. Or stay in and cook in your fully-equipped Pilot Cove cabin’s kitchen! Area stores include outfitters, art galleries, gift shops, and much more.
  • Hiking, rock climbing, and so much more is always in season in Pisgah. Explore our guides to your year-round options here.

Spring Events

While the COVID pandemic has altered or canceled some events around the country, we are optimistic that more of our fantastic events will come back soon. Some already plan to take place in 2021!

  • Arts in March is an annual event held in (you guessed it) March in historic downtown Brevard. The weekend event celebrates local arts and culture, showcasing studios and galleries, special menus at local restaurants, live music, and more.
  • White Squirrel Festival: This fun street festival held annually in May in downtown Brevard honors its namesake with free concerts, a Memorial Day parade, street festival, food and art vendors, and more.
  • Asheville Yoga Festival: Local and nationally-acclaimed instructors come together in July to offer more than 90 practices, including yoga, meditation, outdoor recreation, and more.
  • Mountain Biking and Cycling Events: Check out the 13th annual Pisgah Stage Race in April and a number of other race season events over at Pisgah Productions.
  • Explore the Brevard events calendar
  • Learn more about Brevard and all it has to offer

However you choose to spend your days when you’re visiting Pisgah in the Spring, we know you’ll have no shortage of options! We look forward to seeing you at Pilot Cove.

Guided mountain bike rides throughout the Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest.

www.redwolftours.com/

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!

https://www.nclineadventures.com/

White Dot Adventures was created to help facilitate your next running adventure. Our guides hold intimate knowledge of Pisgah National Forest and want you to have a trail running experience you’ll never forget. The places we’ll take you are the same places you’ll find us on a regular basis, even when we’re not guiding.

We don’t care if you’re new to running or an experienced mountain runner looking for a new challenge, we cater to all. Western North Carolina is home to a massive amount of trail, and we simply want to show you why we live here.

www.whitedotadventures.com

A great opportunity for guided MTB adventures with top-tier athletes and coaches! Explore the beautiful trails of Pisgah National Forest, Dupont State Forest, and Paris Mountain State Park with experienced and certified CTS Mountain Bike Guides. No matter your ability level, we can craft unique half-day, full-day, and multi-day guided mountain bike tours for you. Book a trip with CTS to experience a thrilling ride and get a real taste for the stunning Brevard area MTB trails!

Carmichael Training Services – Guided Tours

Guided mountain bike trips from an accomplished cyclist, personal trainer, and endurance athlete – Steven McHone. Personalized experiences highlight great trails and provide cycling instruction and fitness consulting, with optional yoga and massage therapy. Have fun and learn how to treat your body well!

http://stevenmchone.com/

Guided rock climbing and instruction. At Pisgah Climbing School we strive to provide access and adventure to the public in the mountains through the highest quality climbing education.

https://www.pisgahclimbingschool.com/

Full service guide company offering climbing, canyoneering, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking,waterfall tours, adventure race instruction, and paddling trips. We also provide you with an opportunity to see the North Carolina mountains through any variety of these activities over one day or a series of days.

http://pvadventures.com

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

www.pisgahstables.com

The Bike Farm is here to show you the best mountain biking in western North Carolina. We provide half, full, and multi day guided rides custom tailored to an individual or groups abilities, desires, time, and budget. All trips are private, so you will never be put with another group.

For coaching, The Bike Farm team will create a customized program based on the individual or groups abilities, desires, time, and budget. Whether you are a beginner looking to learn the basics or a seasoned rider looking to break through to the next level our coaches can help you reach your goals.

www.thebikefarm.com

Oxbow River Snorkeling is the first company to focus on guided river snorkeling in the United States. Our mission is to provide a full scale river snorkeling adventure, while our customers create lasting memories of our ancient watershed. We have designed several tours along the upper French Broad River and its tributaries. You will see examples of different types of aquatic communities and each adventure is packed full of potential surprises around every bend! Come join us as we venture below the surface of some of the oldest rivers in the world and remember to bring your waterproof camera or GoPro! ​

http://www.oxbowriversnorkeling.com/

Check out one of the coolest outdoor experiences in Transylvania County and Western North Carolina with our totally mobile company. We bring the adventure to you! Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) offers a fun, relaxing way to play on the local rivers and lakes. Our guide brings a unique and fun experience to every outing making this an adventure that is just for you!

http://whitesquirrelpaddleboards.com/

Conveniently located walking distance from Pilot Cove, this full-service fly fishing shop and guide service offers the gear, expertise, and local knowledge to make the most of your fishing experience.

http://www.davidsonflyfishing.com/

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.

http://www.headwatersoutfitters.com/

The Pisgah Field School will introduce you to the unique recreational, natural and cultural wonders of Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest and the surrounding landscapes of the Southern Appalachians. Let us guide you around the original backyard and classroom of the Biltmore Estate through hikes, tours, and science-based workshops, while discovering the local businesses and charm of beautiful downtown Brevard, NC. Our staff and expert guides share an enthusiasm for this incredible area and will help to strengthen your appreciation for the natural world and our mountain heritage.

http://cfaia.org/pisgah-field-school-brevard-nc/

Blue Ridge Hiking Company - logo

Jennifer Pharr Davis founded Blue Ridge Hiking Company to share her love and knowledge of the hiking and to expose people to the majestic beauty of the southern Appalachian mountains. Blue Ridge Hiking Company’s skilled guides hold a high degree of experience, regional knowledge, and professional expertise. We delight in working with beginners and revel in creating a challenge for more adventurous clients. Regardless of the hike’s duration and destination, our company values remain the same: “Respect for self, others, and the environment.”

http://blueridgehikingco.com/

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Hike of the Week: John Rock Trail

One of our favorite recommendations for a Winter hike in Pisgah National Forest, John Rock trail is a 5-mile loop with a wonderful summit at 3,320 feet. The John Rock hike starts at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. You’ll pass Cedar…
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Guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway near Pilot Cove!

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…
Looking Glass Falls
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Davidson River | Pisgah National Forest | Visitors Guide

Davidson River & Pisgah National Forest During every season, tourists and locals alike flock to Pisgah National Forest to take advantage of its famous hiking, fishing, road cycling, mountain biking, camping, and other outdoor recreation…

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