Outdoor Adventures

From 1 to 20 miles!

   

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Tubing in Marion, may we suggest Catawba River Outdoors 828-442-6048. They exceed our rigid standards for local fun.

 

 

   

 

   

ENJOY GLAMPING!

MANICURE AND ESTHETICIAN

We have a salon on site, treat yourself!.

   

 

   
PET NEWS: We regret that we have put restrictions on Pit Bulls and Rottweiler's. They are no longer welcomed at the campground.
   

 

Outdoor adventures between 1 and 20 miles from the campground

 

Hikes close by

Although beautiful to see, waterfalls can be very dangerous. Every year people fall TO THEIR DEATH after a slip on wet rocks above and around the falls. Never climb around waterfalls or play in the water above a waterfall, or allow pets to roam freely. Stay on the established trails and enjoy the view from the overlooks.

ARMSTRONG CREEK 3640 ft. Primitive hiking trail on old logging road. Take NC 226A to Armstrong Fish Hatchery Road (1443). Trail head begins past hatchery parking lot. Distance 6 miles, easy-moderate.

BAD FORK 2940 ft. Primitive trail connects with
Woods Mountain and Armstrong Creek Trails. Take NC 226A to Armstrong Fish Hatchery Road (1443). Drive 3 miles to trail head on left side at confluence of Bad Fork with Armstrong Creek. Distance 8 miles, moderate.

BETSY RIDGE 3160 ft. Old logging road trail, with views of Black Mountains , intersects Little Buck Creek Trail and ends at Woods Mountain Trail. Take US 221, north of Marion . Left on Tom's Creek Road (1434). Take first right onto dirt road. Trail head is second dirt road on left. Distance 9 miles, easy-moderate.

BLUE RIDGE PINNACLE 5665
ft. Prominent peak near Mt. Mitchell , awesome views. Begin at swing-bar gate on road at Parkway Milepost 354.8. Distance 3 miles, easy.

KITSUMA PEAK 3195 ft. Short , 20-minute trail. Breathtaking views and unusual Carolina hemlocks. Take I-40 westbound to Ridgecrest exit. Turn onto "Old US 70." Park at Ridgecrest Overlook. Distance 1 mile, moderate.

LEAD MINE GAP 3460 ft. Mixed forested environment with long range views. Take
Curtis Creek Road from US 70, east of Old Fort. Continue about 8 1Z?2 miles to trail head. Trail ends at Hickory Branch Trail, which after 2 miles rejoins Curtis Creek Road at lower point. Distance 5 miles, moderate.

LINVILLE GORGE 3400
ft. Eastern America 's most scenic and rugged gorge. On NC 183 in village of Linville Falls, turn right at dirt road (Kistler Memorial Highway, #1238) 3/4 mile from intersection with US 221. There are multiple strenuous trails accessible from Kistler Memorial Highway . Obtain Linville Gorge Wilderness Map from US Forest Service Grandfather District Office in Nebo, 828-652-2144

LITTLE BUCK CREEK 3600 ft. Excellent views of Marion , Lake Tahoma , and Black Mountains . Take US 70, west of Marion . Turn right on NC 80 and go past Lake Tahoma . After crossing bridge over lake headwaters, turn right onto dirt road. Turn left at first intersection and go 1.5 miles to trail head (at turnout with USFS sign and gate). Distance 5.8 miles, moderate-strenuous.

MACKEY MOUNTAIN 3400 ft. Excellent views in bear sanctuary. Take Curtis Creek Road , off US 70, east of Old Fort. Trail head is 9 miles at entrance to Sugar Cove Road . Distance 16 miles, moderate.

NEWBERRY CREEK 4300 ft. Scenic trail ends at Parkway. Take
Curtis Creek Road , off US 70, east of Old Fort. Left at Newberry Creek Road (FS 482A). Trail begins after 4 miles at end of road. Distance 5 miles, easy-moderate.

WOODLAWN FITNESS TRAIL 1600 ft. Fitness trail consists of 7 stations, 2 exercises per station, on a 1/4 mile jogging path. Additional 1-mile loop surrounds exercise trail.
Woodlawn Work Center is 6 miles north of Marion on US 221. Trail is behind picnic area on left. Distance 1.25 miles, easy-moderate.

WOODS MOUNTAIN 3600 ft. Excellent views of
Black Mountains , Little Switzerland, Armstrong Creek watershed area, and Table Rock from section of North Carolina 's "Mountains to Sea Trail." Trail begins near Buck Creek Gap overlook at intersection of Blue Ridge Parkway and NC 80. Trail may be exited on US 221, at US Forest Service rest area near Woodlawn. Distance 13 miles, moderate-strenuous.

YOUNG'S RIDGE 3165 ft. Trail begins at Old Fort Picnic Area. Incredible views of
Kitsuma Peak where trail ends. From US 70, west of Old Fort, take first right onto Mill Creek Road (1407). Old Fort Picnic Area is several miles on left and marked by National Forest Sign. Distance 7 miles, easy-moderate. Close to campground.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.

Hikers unfamiliar with local trails should acquire appropriate maps from the US Forest Service. For more hiking information, contact our local
US Forest Service office at 828-652-2144..
The following links will take you to specific hikes, bike trails and backpacking trails.

 

Mountain Biking

Recreation areas with activity Mountain Biking:

·       Boone Fork Campground

·       Curtis Creek Area

·       FSR 482

·       Jarrett Creek Road

·       Mortimer Campground

·       FSR 45 Watauga Turnpike

·       FSR 981 Roseboro Edgemont

·       Old Fort Picnic Area

·       Kitsuma/Youngs Ridge Trail 204

·       Point Lookout Trail

·       Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River Area

·       Greentown Trail 268

·       Holly Springs Trail 273

·       Wilson Ridge Trail 269

·       Woodruff Ridge Trail 256

 

Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

·       Curtis Creek Area

·       Curtis Creek Campground

·       Hickory Branch Trail 213

·       Snooks Nose Trail 211

·       Linville Gorge Wilderness area

·       Babel Tower Trail 240

·       Bynum Bluff Trail 241

·       Cabin Trail 246

·       Conley Cove Trail 229

·       Devils Hole Trail 244

·       Hawksbill Trail 245

·       Linville Gorge Trail 231

·       Pinch -In Trail 228

·       Rock Jock Trail 247

·       Spence Ridge 233

·       Mortimer Campground

·       Thorps Creek Trail 279

·       Old Fort Picnic Area

·       Kitsuma/Youngs Ridge Trail 204

·       Point Lookout Trail

·       Table Rock

·       Shortoff Mountain Trail 235

·       Table Rock Trail 242

·       Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River Area

·       Big Lost Cove Cliffs Trail 271

·       Bill Crump Trail 257

·       Darkside Cliffs Trail 272

·       Greentown Shortcut Trail 268A

·       Greentown Trail 268

·       Harper Creek Trail 260

·       Holly Springs Trail 273

·       Hunt Fish Falls Trail 263

·       Little Lost Cove Cliffs Trail 271A

·       Lost Cove Trail 262

·       Lower Steels Creek Trail 238

·       North Harper Creek Trail 266

·       North Harper Creek Falls Trail 239

·       North Harper Shortcut Trail 266A

·       Persimmon Ridge Trail 270

·       Philips Branch Trail 252

·       Pine Ridge Connector Trail 255A

·       Pine Ridge Trail 255

·       Raider Camp Trail 277

·       Steels Creek Trail 237

·       Thorps Creek Trail 279

·       Timber Ridge Trail 261

·       Upper Creek Falls Trail 268B

·       White Rocks Trail 264

·       Wilson Creek Spur Trail 258A

·       Wilson Ridge Trail 269

·       Wison Creek Trail 258

·       Woodruff Ridge Trail 256

·       Yellow Buck Trail 265

·       Wisemans' View

Backpacking

Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

·       Hickory Branch Trail 213

·       Snooks Nose Trail 211

·       Linville Gorge Wilderness area

·       Babel Tower Trail 240

·       Bynum Bluff Trail 241

·       Cabin Trail 246

·       Conley Cove Trail 229

·       Devils Hole Trail 244

·       Hawksbill Trail 245

·       Linville Gorge Trail 231

·       Pinch -In Trail 228

·       Rock Jock Trail 247

·       Spence Ridge 233

·       Table Rock

·       Shortoff Mountain Trail 235

·       Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River Area

·       Greentown Shortcut Trail 268A

·       Greentown Trail 268

·       Harper Creek Trail 260

·       Lost Cove Trail 262

·       Lower Steels Creek Trail 238

·       North Harper Creek Trail 266

·       North Harper Creek Falls Trail 239

·       North Harper Shortcut Trail 266A

·       Philips Branch Trail 252

·       Steels Creek Trail 237

·       Timber Ridge Trail 261

·       Wilson Creek Spur Trail 258A

·       Wilson Ridge Trail 269

·       Wison Creek Trail 258

·       Yellow Buck Trail 265

 

NC's Grand Canyon

Linville Gorge Wilderness Area

 (Gravel Road, Steep and Winding, very tight for two cars) 


This drive is worth the trip any time of the year, but it is absolutely incredible in the fall of the year. It will take at least 1/2 day to do this trip to give it justice. Pack a picnic lunch and have a picnic at Wiseman Overlook. Set your odometer you will be going 13 miles to the first major turn at Wal-Mart. From the campground go back to Exit 73 entrance and turn left to go into Old Fort, at the stop light after the railroad track turn right on Hwy 70. Follow this road to the intersection of Hwy 221, (next to Wal-Mart), turn left. You will follow 221 (21 miles) to Linville Falls turn right on Rt. 183. (There are several restaurants and gas station at this corner) Go 3/4 miles and Linville Gorge Wilderness Area entrance will be on your right. There is a welcome center at the start of the road. This road is a total of 15 miles and the most speed you should do is 10 miles per hour. You will come upon a fork in the road (within 1 mile after the visitor center) with a sign pointing to the left to Wiseman Overlook. Follow this sign to a parking area and follow the walking trail to the overlook. There is a bathroom in a small block building at the parking lot. There is also a wheel chair path; the path is paved and very good. I won't even try to describe this overlook, it is breathtaking. There is a grass area to have a picnic (watch your children, the overlook is on the edge of a long cliff). After returning to the road follow the road back down the mountain, there are many hiking trails along the way you can stop and enjoy Towards the bottom of the road you will see an incredible view of Lake James. The road will soon turn into a highway, at the first stop sign turn right on Hwy 126W follow this to Hwy 70W and turn right, this will take you into Marion. Turn right on Main St (the courthouse is on your left). Follow this through the five lane to Hwy 70W stop light (there are two left turning lanes) This will take you past Wal-Mart on your right and back to Old Fort. 

Fantastic Drive

Curtis Creek State Park 

(Gravel road, Steep & Winding)


If you are wishing to drive on the Blue Ridge or visit Mt. Mitchell this is the way to go. From the campground go back to Exit 73 entrance and turn left to go into Old Fort, at the stop light after the railroad track turn right on Hwy 70. Travel past Ethan Allen Plant and IAC Plant; make your first left after the IAC plant and the Emergency Services, turn on Curtis Creek Road. Follow this road into the State park; the road will turn into gravel. This road winds and curves up the mountainside and will soon intersect the Blue Ridge hwy. Turn left; you will soon reach the entrance to Mt. Mitchell State Park on your right. Follow this road to the top. For your return trip you can continue west on the Blue Ridge Pkwy to Asheville or go back East to Little Switzerland or Boone. You can spend the entire day traveling the Pkwy and not see all the sights

mount mitchell

Right here on the campground

The first trail up the mountain from Old Fort to Ridgecrest followed the Catawba River. It was called the 'Suwali' trail. It may have been in use by the Cherokee thousands of years before the Spanish explorers in 1550. The gap traversed by the trail was know as "Suwali-Nunnaki". The first road followed this trail. It is believed that a section of this trail is still preserved and visible running through Catawba Falls Campground, on Catawba River Road. Click on picture for a full size view. Come and walk the trail.

 

In the early 1800s, the route between Old Fort and Ridgecrest was changed. The stage coach traveled beside Mill Creek to the mouth of the Little Swannanoa River by the Old Fort Picnic Grounds, and followed it to the Swannanoa Gap. The Western Turnpike occupied the same roadbed.

When the Western Carolina Railroad was built a new stage road followed the railroad through the Gap. It later became NC 10. Next came US 70, which curved around the North side of the hills and ran past Point Lookout, which in turn, overlooked the Royal Gorge. 

In 1962, a section of I-40 was started, running straight up the slope from Old Fort along the ridge between the two waterways, south of the Kitasuma Peak, and through the gap to Ridgecrest, a new "Suwali-Nunnaki" (Story taken from article by Binkie Adams, The News Bulletin, Old Fort, NC.)

Catawba Falls

There is no one else closer to these magnificent falls. Spend a day or two to explore this one of a kind waterfall.

 

  Lower Catawba Falls

 

   
   
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