If you enjoy tough, steep climbs and seldom-used trails, then check out Vineyard Gap at the Turkey Pen access to Pisgah. At just over 4.5 miles round trip, this is an out-and-back hike to a quiet section of the South Fork of Mills River. At the top of Forge Mountain, there are some pretty views when the leaves are off the trees. The best part of the hike is that there are great spots along the river bank to kick back and enjoy the babbling of the water and the sounds of nature. With the water at the destination, bring your furry dog friends that enjoy a swim in the river, but be mindful of horses in the parking lot, as there are other trails from this access that are frequented by those on horseback.
Direction from Brevard: Take NC-280 East towards Asheville. After passing the intersection for the main entrance to Pisgah National Forest, continue on 280 for approximately 5.8 miles to a left onto Turkey Pen Road. The road is gravel, and is often quite rutted, so super low clearance vehicles might have trouble depending on the current road condition. Follow the gravel for about 1.2 miles to the parking lot at the end. The trail starts up the steps to the right of the parking lot.
Local Hiking Expert: Mast General Store
15 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC