Whether you’re moving your family to the Cullowhee River Club, retiring to the mountains or making the Western North Carolina (WNC) community your second home, you’ll never have a dull moment — unless you want one. Between the extensive outdoor activities available in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains, the history of these hills and the urban centers tucked in between the slopes, you could spend every day, every weekend and every season on a new adventure.
Many people visit — and often end up moving to — Western North Carolina for the scenic trails. From your home at the Cullowhee River Club, you have access to many hiking options, including some you can reach without ever getting in your car. Nearby Western Carolina University has a 6.8-mile trail system consisting of seven winding, narrow, single-track trails.
You can find other trails that attract hikers from all over the world. Yet they’re easily accessible off the Blue Ridge Parkway, less than 10 miles away. Hike the Appalachian Trail from entry points in Asheville, Hot Springs or Cherokee. Trek through the United States’ most visited park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, known for its splendor, views and diversity of animal and plant life. In fact, the elk populations are flourishing in the park since being reintroduced in the 2000s. The best time to visit is around leaf season.
Just north of Asheville, the Pisgah National Forest features hiking and backpacking trails through the more than 500,000 acres of land. The reserve sports some of the highest peaks in the South, including Grandfather Mountain and Cold Mountain. But not all hiking trails are rugged climbs; the waterfalls in Dupont State Forest and Linville Falls are easy for most people.
Fishing is a competitive sport and amateur pastime that’s embraced year-round in Western North Carolina. Start your fishing adventure at the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians in Bryson City. Then head to Sylva to fish along the renowned Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail on the Tuckasegee River — the same Tuckasegee that flows right by the Cullowhee River Club.
Fish for brookies, smallmouth bass and sunfish in the Pigeon River in nearby Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In Asheville, try your hand at reeling in brim, catfish, sunfish and bass at Lake Julian, which even stocks the lake with tilapia. And some of the best family fishing takes place outside of Hot Springs on one of the world’s oldest waterways — the French Broad River.
Catch brown, brook and rainbow trout in one of more than 100 miles of creeks, rivers and streams in these mountains. You’ll even find Donaldson and golden trout under the thick canopied cover in the Nantahala National Forest and Smokey Mountains where these fish breed. No matter what your level, you’ll enjoy fishing these waters.
Cullowhee River Club is the epicenter of adventure and fun in The Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Whatever direction you and your family decides to take for the day outside our community, you'll find wonder and magic awaiting you in these old mountains.
WNC has many options for active adults who appreciate being out of doors, including mountain biking trails, tennis courts, golf courses and even skate parks. There’s nothing that compares to golfing at high-altitude courses. Play a round at exclusive courses like the Smoky Mountain Country Club, Sequoyah National Golf Club, Maggie Valley Golf Club, and Arnold Palmer Signature Golf at the Balsam Mountain Preserve. Warm-weather ziplines from Highlands Aerial Park, Ridge Runner Ziplines or Navitat provide excitement along with majestic views. During winter, take your skis, snowboards and tubes to Cataloochee Ski Area in nearby Maggie Valley.
Enjoy 50 skiable acres, with the longest run coming in at 3,500 feet. Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, near the Tennessee border, offers 54 acres of slopes. The most convenient ski resort to Cullowhee River Club is Cataloochee Ski Resort offering some of the best snowmaking equipment in the world. It’s not skiing in the Rockies, but it will scratch that itch. Perhaps the most popular seasonal adventure near your new home at the Cullowhee River Club is whitewater rafting. The Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City is the most famous outlet, but numerous rafting companies throughout the area rent private rafts or provide a guide for thrilling rides on roaring rapids through scenery that takes your breath away.
On those days when you just feel like driving, the Blue Ridge Parkway has more than 450 miles of breathtaking scenery, with many places to stop, take pictures or have a quiet lunch. Cherokee isn’t far from your new home, and it offers a cultural mecca with museums, shops, restaurants and summertime shows. The Oconaluftee Indian Village will entertain and educate you and your family.
Brevard, close to the Cullowhee River Club, is known as the Land of Waterfalls. Its 250 waterfalls usually require a short hike to enjoy, but reward your efforts. Whitewater Falls, Dry Falls, Cullasaja Falls, Rainbow Falls, Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock and Bridal Veil Falls all provide spectacular views within reach.
Take a day trip to the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City. Sit in an open gondola and ride through river gorges, valleys and tunnels carved out of the mountains. And don’t forget the mountain lakes! Bear Lake and Wolf Creek Lake are very close, but Lake Fontana, Lake Glenville and Lake Junaluska are worth the trip. Spend the day of boating, kayaking, canoeing or swimming.
From the university theater at WCU to the many community theaters, stage productions abound across the region. Professional stage performances in Asheville and nearby Greenville, South Carolina, give you even more options. Live musical concerts from national entertainers of every genre— including symphonies, pop, jazz, and bluegrass —abound in Asheville, Hendersonville and Cherokee. Outdoor concerts under the sun or stars let you sit and sip wine while enjoying the sounds.
Close to the Cullowhee River Club is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, where you can try your hand at one of hundreds of gaming tables or take in national touring shows and comedians. Visit the Biltmore Estate, one of the largest family-owned estates in the country. Tour the gardens for acres of beautifully sculpted landscapes and trails for walking, biking, jogging or horseback riding.
Fine, casual, outdoor, and downhome eating awaits you in every nook and cranny of the mountains surrounding your home. Asheville has made dozens of best-of lists when it comes to the culinary arts, with some of the most talented chefs in the world. And arts, crafts, and home goods are available from local artisans. Fill your home with custom furniture and one-of-a-kind artwork. Galleries, special shows and outdoor festivals pepper the region with opportunities to explore the new and old Appalachian art
of Western North Carolina.