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John Rock: 37 miles from Asheville will find you at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and the trail to this rock summit where you will be treated to a panoramic view of Looking Glass Rock. Cedar Rock Falls is on the way and a perfect place to take a break on this five-mile loop. Lover’s Leap: A great trail 36 miles from Asheville is the short 1.5-mile loop of the Appalachian Trail that starts in downtown Hot Springs. You will cross the French Broad River and climb the ridge to a rock outcropping for some beautiful views of the valley, river and the town. Complete the outing with a hot soak in the mineral springs. Rainbow Falls: There are a number of great hikes that take you to beautiful cascading waterfalls, many times frozen in glistening formations, dotted with rainbows as the sunlight catches the crystals. Located 53 miles southwest of Asheville, Rainbow Falls is one of four falls on a two-mile stretch of the river in the Nantahala National Forest. This three-mile round-trip hiking trail is rated moderate and begins from the Gorges State Park access area. Rattlesnake Lodge: Located 14 miles north of Asheville, this local favorite is part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and can be accessed from Ox Creek Road. This three-mile roundtrip hike takes you on the old carriage road up the ridge on a gradual climb to the ruins of a summer lodge from the early 1900s. Make sure you check the weather forecast before heading out and remember that it can be much colder in the higher elevations. Also check with the Forest Service for updated trail closings (their website address can be found at the bottom of this article). TAKING TO THE SLOPES

Here are some excellent places to hike that are easily accessible. Bearwallow Mountain: 19 miles from Asheville will find you at this spot where you can access a two-mile round-trip moderate-rated hiking trail created by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. At 4,232 feet, Bearwallow Mountain straddles the Eastern Continental Divide at the western rim of the Hickory Nut Gorge and treats hikers to a grassy meadow at its summit, along with a nearly 360 degree view. Chimney Rock: Chimney Rock State Park is located 25 miles southeast of Asheville. A number of trails offer sweeping views, many of which are open during winter. An excellent choice is the Four Seasons Trail, which is 1.2 miles round-trip, but quite steep. This trail provides you with a choice to climb to the top of the Chimney or to the bottom of the falls. 44 Fine Homes & Design | Winter 2017

While winters in Asheville are typically milder, the higher elevations of the mountains in WNC bring plenty of snow and an excellent opportunity for some downhill fun. Beech Mountain Ski Resort: Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this resort includes 95 acres of skiable area and 15 slopes and trails designed for all ski levels. The town of Beech Mountain sits at 5,506 feet, which makes it the highest town in the eastern US and a perfect winter spot. A state-ofthe-art snow tubing park is located at the base of the slopes adjacent to the Alpine Village where ice skating is available. [beechmountainresort.com] Cataloochee Ski Area: Located in Maggie Valley, NC, this winter resort is nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains just 40 miles west of Asheville. Its gentle slopes are excellent for those just starting out, while the 1000 foot Upper Omigosh is perfect for the seasoned expert. With 50 acres of skiable area, nighttime skiing is offered and snow tubing is available. [cataloochee.com]

Fine Homes & Design Winter 2017  
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