Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, 2,200 feet above sea level, Hendersonville has long been a popular summer destination for those looking to escape the heat. The area has evolved into a four-season travel destination, with scenic marvels to attract visitors of all ages. Offering a variety of interests, including outdoor recreation, live entertainment, historic sites, theatre, shopping and a wide array of restaurants, the area boasts a range of accommodations — from elegant bed and breakfasts to rustic cabins offering a variety of amenities — to satisfy every guest’s desires. No longer just a vacation destination, Hendersonville — with its almost perfect climate, combined with excellent health services, variety of housing options and numerous recreational, cultural and educational opportunities — has earned national recognition as one of the best places to live and retire. Browse the adventures below and be sure to check out our interactive adventure map in the menu above for more information on each activity and to get driving directions. Enjoy your adventure!
Jump Off Rock: For a fun and easy adventure close to town, we like Jump Off Rock: a scenic overlook that provides a panoramic view of rolling pastures and the distant mountain ranges of the Blue Ridge and Pisgah National Forest. There are three hiking trails at Jump Off Rock varying in length and difficulty. Stick around for a nice sunset photo or get a head start on your evening by heading back to Hendersonville and stopping into the Southern Appalachian Brewery for a beer and a game of cornhole on their patio.
Directions from Hendersonville: Jump Off is located about 5 miles from downtown at the end of Laurel Park Hwy in the Town of Laurel Park. To access, take Fifth Avenue West, it becomes Laurel Park Highway, the road dead ends at Jump Off Rock. The park is open daily, sunrise to sunset. Southern App Brewery is located at 822 Locust St on the north side of downtown Hendersonville.
Zip The Gorge: The Gorge, which opened in June 2013, features 11 zip lines, a sky-bridge, and 3 rappels in tree-based platforms. Participants will experience a 3-hour tour immersed in nature. This adventure begins from a deck perched high in the trees overlooking the gorge and finishes 1,100 feet below at the base of the Green River Gorge. Most of the tree-based platforms have stunning views of the gorge, which offers a great chance to size up your next adventure from above.
Paddle The Green River: If you are looking for a high-adventure, heart-pumping whitewater experience, this is it! One of the steepest commercially run sections of whitewater in the Southeast, the Upper Green consists of continuous class II and III rapids and two class IV’s. Green River Adventures is the only company to run trips on this beautiful wilderness section of the Green River, so get away from the crowds and experience one of the rowdiest sections of whitewater in the area.
Jackson Park & The Oklawaha Greenway: Enjoy a bike ride, walk or run on over 3.5 miles of newly constructed greenways just minutes from downtown Hendersonville. This scenic greenway links Jackson Park’s disc golf course, bike pump track and various ball fields to the “field of dreams” at Berkeley Park. In total, this makes for a great in-town adventure with options for some scenic exploration along Mud Creek and the wooded areas of both parks with additional trails connecting to King Park, Sullivan Park and Patton Park along the way. Plans are currently underway to extend this greenway into the proposed Ecusta Trail, an 18-mile railroad line that local advocates are hoping will become a rails-to-trails pathway leading into the Pisgah National Forest and Brevard. Directions from Hendersonville: From downtown, head east on 4th Ave. to Jackson Park.
Fly Fishing: The rivers, streams, and lakes surrounding Hendersonville are filled with rainbow trout, brown trout, and native brook trout, as well as muskie and smallmouth bass. Enjoy an easy catch on the Hatchery Supported and Delayed Harvest trout waters of the Lower Green River. Or, attempt to outsmart the wily, seasoned trout on the Wild Trout Waters of the Narrows of the Green and Pacolet Rivers.
Test Your Legs On The Pinnacle: The Pinnacle Mountain Climb outside of Saluda is arguably the toughest climb in the area and is part of a 17-mile section of road that can be accessed via Pinnacle Mountain Road not far from Flat Rock and Hendersonville. The first climb takes you up to Sky Top Orchard, but that is a false summit. After travelling down the road for a ways, the real climb begins. After a fairly moderate start you’ll turn the corner and see a steep wall to climb. It ranges from 15-25%, very steep, until easing up at the very end. A worn path leads to small boulders near the crest for those who want to rest their legs and take in the hard-earned view.
Directions from Hendersonville: Beginning near Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, head east on Pinnacle Mtn Road for 16 miles to a left turn on Green River Road and follow Green River Road 15 miles back to the orchard.
Explore DuPont State Forest: The 10,000 acre Dupont State Forest is the holy grail for runners and hikers that enjoy waterfalls along the trail.
In Dupont, there are enough trail variations to keep all levels of adventurers excited even after multiple miles of exploring. Triple Falls, Hooker Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Wintergreen Falls, High Falls, Grassy Creek Falls, Cedar Rock Mountain, Lake Dense, Lake Alford and Lake Julia are all accessible. The main trails are wide gravel roads. Need more adventure? Jump off the gravel road and explore down one of the many single track trails throughout the forest. Directions from Hendersonville: Heading out of Hendersonville take US 64 past the small town of Etowah to the stop light in Little River. Turn left onto Crab Creek Road and follow the signs to a right turn onto DuPont Road which becomes Staton Road – Continue to High Falls Parking Lot on left.
Jackson Park is the largest county-owned park in Western North Carolina, covering 212 acres. Jackson Park offers a wide range of ball fields that draw most users during the year, but we like it for it’s scenic nature trails with opportunities for great bird watching. It’s also a great spot to bring the kids for bike rides and the newly developed pump track allows kids and adults to hone their skills and get ready to tackle some of the more challenging trails in the area. The park also features a large playground, dog park and picnic shelters. Thanks to its close proximity to downtown and newly designated bike lanes, riding bikes to access the park is easier than ever before. We recommend heading to Sycamore Cycles and Mast General Store in downtown Hendersonville to get geared up for your adventure before hitting the trails. Directions from Hendersonville: From downtown Hendersonville head east to find 4th Avenue. Follow 4th Avenue to entrance of Jackson Park (Glover Street). Nature trails are on both sides of the road as you enter the park.
Holmes Educational State Forest offers a series of well-marked trails, accented by exhibits and displays depicting ecology of a managed forest. With their educational exhibits and Talking Trees Trail, this 240 acre section of public lands is an especially wonderful option for kids. Those that are not-so-savvy navigating in the forest will appreciate how well each trail is marked and that the trails are on the less strenuous side. For most, the highlight of Holmes Educational State Forest is the Talking Trees Trail, and it’s been attracting kids and families for generations. At about a 1/2 mile in length, even young kids can typically handle the distance. Along the trail are informational kiosks where the kids (or young at heart) can push a button and the pre-recorded message will “talk” about the type of tree that is being viewed. Information about each tree includes habitat information, what the wood can be used for, and other educational tidbits. The trail also winds through exhibits and displays that showcase the ecology and management of the forest. Several other trails explore the diversity of the property, and all are short and manageable. Demonstration Trail, which contains some additional educational components explaining forestry practices, is the longest option, and it’s a 2 mile loop. Picnic sites with tables and a spacious picnic shelter (with grills) are also available. Directions from Hendersonville: Located about 8 1/2 miles from downtown Hendersonville, the forest is open Tuesday-Sunday from mid-March to late November. For additional information call (828) 692-0100.
Bearwallow Mountain (Hendersonville): The hike up Bearwallow Mountain is a strenuous two-mile round trip hike with over 500 feet in elevation gain. The mostly grassy summit of Bearwallow Mountain stands at 4,232 feet above sea level and is the highest peak in the Bearwallow Highlands Range. From the grassy meadow at the mountain’s summit, hikers can take in views of nearby Hickory Nut Gorge, Chimney Rock, Lake Lure and downtown Hendersonville. In the distance, the towering peaks of Mount Mitchell, Mount Pisgah and the Great Balsams Range make for beautiful views as well.
Directions from Hendersonville: Head east on US 64/Four Seasons BLVD for 3.5 miles and turn left onto Fruitland Road. At stop sign, stay straight onto Old Clear Creek Road and go 3.5 miles to a left onto Bearwallow Road. Follow Bearwallow Road for 4.9 miles to a small parking area with trailheads on either side of the road. The hike to the summit heads uphill past a kiosk.
Local Brew: Cruise up the wooded driveway, park under a solar-panel canopy, and head into Sierra Nevada for an experience unlike any other in WNC. While the beer is certainly the main attraction, we recommend starting the day with a behind-the-scenes look at the Sierra Nevada brewery’s outdoor grounds, showcasing many of Sierra Nevada’s sustainability practices and their initiatives to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Check out unique features like solar “trees,” rain and stormwater management systems, and the water treatment facility including their microturbine technology. The tour finishes up near the Estate Garden where visitors can enjoy educational tastings of Sierra Nevada Brewery’s award-winning brews. The tours fill up quickly and reservations must be made online for all tours except the self-guided corridor. Groups not your thing? We get it. For those who prefer to wander solo, the Sierra Nevada Brewery allows guests into their upstairs visitor corridor that includes a raised mezzanine for bird’s-eye views of our copper-clad brewhouse, a real-time look at fermenting beer and a visit to the warehouse and packaging hall. Additional hiking trails are available outside, as well as a boat landing area for canoes and kayaks currently under construction.
Directions from Hendersonville: Head north to Airport Road/U.S. 280 and follow signs past the Asheville Airport to the Sierra Nevada Brewery.
Getting There: Head to the Henderson County Visitor’s Center in downtown Hendersonville (201 S Main St, Hendersonville, NC or visit their website visithendersonvillenc.org) to get the scoop on these and other great adventures and activities in and around Hendersonville.