Welcome to the Asheville Adventure Guide’s Best Outdoor Events section. Below you will find information on the best events in the Asheville, NC area including the Mountain Sports Festival, the French Broad River Festival, LEAF, and the Rockin’ RiverFest.
In its 12th year, the French Broad River Festival has a definite Asheville-vibe to it. What originally started as an event for paddlers with one keg and one bluegrass band has grown to include a stellar music line-up with national acts such as The Reverend Horton Heat and Acoustic Syndicate. In recent years the event has expanded to include a Kid’s Village, a mountain bike race, lots of local flavor, and plenty of opportunities to get wet. Likewise, a portion of the proceeds go to a local cause. Since 1996, they have donated over $50,000 to local charities. The 2010 dates are April 30 – May 2.
If Mavericks in California is the most prestigious big wave surf competition in the world, then the Green River Narrows Race is the “Mavericks” for paddlers. Since 1996, this homegrown affair in the Saluda, NC area draws some of the best paddlers in the world to test their courage on a half mile of some serious Class V whitewater. The race takes place in the Green River Gorge on the first Saturday in November and takes about an hour to hike to the viewing spot. Parking is sketchy, dress warm, don’t expect plush accommodations, and do your research before heading to this event.
Since 2001, the Mountain Sports Festival has been Asheville’s premier multi-sport event. Whether you’re a hardcore athlete or just looking to try something for the first time, this festival has something for you. This festival pretty much covers any sport you can think of: running, cycling, disc golf, climbing, paddling, skateboarding, dodge ball, and even unicycling. Some events we recommend are the Sunset Stampede, the Rock 2 Rock Trail Run, the Mountain Disc Golf Experience, and the Iron Kids Competitions. After your event be sure to head down to the festival center (Carrier Park) to sit in the grass and enjoy the free, top shelf music.
The 2010 dates are May 28 – 30.
The Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) has one of the best outdoor settings of any art and music festival in Western NC. Set amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains on a 600 acre site, LEAF not only serves up an eclectic music line-up but also offers camping, swimming, canoeing, zip lining, and miles and miles of trails. The 2010 dates are May 6 – 9 and October 14 – 17 and usually sells out so get your tickets early.
The 2010 Fletcher Flyer returns June 6th for its 7th year of full, metric and half century rides that wind through the valleys south of Asheville. Keep in mind this is a “ride” and not a “race” so you can ride at your own leisurely pace. They say this is one of the least hilly rides in Western NC. You decide: the century (100mi) has an elevation gain of 4044 feet, the metric (64mi) has a gain of 3037 feet, and the half century (50mi) has a gain of 2216 feet.
This festival is all about getting on the river and letting your creative juices run wild. The center piece of the day is the raft “race” down the French Broad River in homemade water crafts (I use that term loosely). Sure, someone does make it down the river the fastest but most folks covet the Most Creative, Funniest, Ugliest, and Best Theme awards. This family friendly event also includes a kid’s parade, excellent live music, plenty of food, kayak demos, a music competition, and plenty of Asheville sunshine. The 2010 date is August 7.
The Fall Flash Fest has been Asheville’s premier climbing competition for 15 years. The 2010 event will take place at the Climbmax Climbing Center in late November. This full fledged bouldering competition is part of the American Bouldering Series and has been known to attract top-notch climbers year after year. Even if you don’t think you can hang with the big boys we recommend at least catching this event as a spectator. Also, be on the look-out for all of Climbmax’s climbing events that appeal to all levels and ages of climbers.