National and State Parks

Wilderness hiking, mountain biking, waterfalls and mountain tops with panoramic views can be found within easy reach from the Lodge for a day’s activity.

Dupont State Forest
About an hour’s drive from the Lodge, Dupont State Forest is approximately 10,300 acres with hiking trails varying from easy to strenuous. The whole forest is dotted with breathtaking waterfalls, including Triple Falls pictured here. The state of North Carolina obtained the property in three different transactions between 1995 and 2000. Two of the most accessible large waterfalls were part of the last acquisition, being the result of the state government using its’ power of imminent domain to block a developer from creating an upscale private development around the waterfalls.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Formed in 1934, the park is located on the Tennessee, North Carolina border within distance for a day trip. With wilderness areas, hiking trails and historic representations of Southern Appalachian culture there are a wealth of options to choose from. One area with preserved heritage, buildings and graveyards, is the Cataloochee Valley. Wayne Caldwell wrote a novel named “Cataloochee” about the people who lived and farmed that valley while the United States was working to acquire the land that is now the national park. A short hike will take you to the graves of some of the people whose lives are included in the book. The book details how the land owners are given the choice to sell their property to the government or continue to live and farm their land for the rest of their lives. He has followed that book with “Requiem by Fire” which continues the story of the people who decided to stay and their interaction with the new park officials.

Pisgah National Forest
Part of the Appalachian Mountains, Pisgah National Forest has some of the best hiking, views and waterfalls according to a lot of locals. Located along the North Carolina, Tennessee border as well as a section bordering the Nantahala National Forest, it is within reach for day hikes. One of the first tracts of land purchased for the creation of the national forests in the United States is included in the over 500,000 acres. Waterfalls, whitewater rivers and high mountain peaks are some of the attractions of Pisgah National Forest. The historic site of the first school of forestry in the United States is preserved at The Cradle of Forestry in America in the park.