Alternative Sports and Extreme Adventures Near Asheville, NC
With its gorgeous weather year-round, its panoramic mountain views, and its culture of “outdoorsiness,” there’s really no wonder why so many sporting enthusiasts flock to Asheville, North Carolina in both winter and summer. Between the hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, rafting, kayaking, and dozens of other active adventures, there’s a little something for everyone here. But word travels fast – at this point, most people know that Asheville has great hiking, and many are looking for outdoor opportunities that are a little different. There are dozens of other ways to enjoy the outdoors and keep active: here are just a few of the alternative sports and extreme adventures that can keep your heart racing and your interest piqued all around this beautiful mountain town.
Go vertical with Fox Mountain Guides and Climbing School.
Hiking is one way to appreciate the majesty and grace of the mountains, but scaling their granite faces is quite another. For serious climbing in Asheville, try Fox Mountain Guides and Climbing School. It’s the only AMGA-Accredited guide service in the American South that sends AMGA certified instructors or guides on every trip (both rock climbing and ice climbing). The Fox Mountain Guides have been around since 1994 – trust Fox to get you that “above the clouds” view of Asheville with an exhilarating (but safe) rock-climbing adventure.
Get ready to get soaked on a whitewater rapid adventure.
If whitewater rafting calls to you, Nantahala Adventure Center has you covered. The French Broad River is just 30 minutes outside of Asheville: careen down this majestic river as you tackle class II and III rapids with a three-to-five hour, half-day tour from the Nantahala Adventure Center. For the true adrenaline junky, try out class IV rapids with the full-day tour. It’s a relatively low-cost way to see the river, pump some serious adrenaline, and get soaked!
Time to slow down a bit? Try out Ultimate frisbee!
The Asheville Ultimate Club meets three times weekly to shoot the breeze, revel with friends, and toss some discs. Because games can be played both indoor and outdoor, this is a great year-round sport and very popular among the more eclectic athletes in Asheville. The team often meets up at the pub afterward to go over the highlights of the game and enjoy local craft brews: it’s a low-key, down-to-earth group that still manages to have a ton of fun (and is always welcoming of new players).
Take in the scenery from a totally different vantage point with Asheville Hot Air Balloons.
Hovering high above the Blueridge Mountains, feeling that gentle breeze that moves you through the clouds, is at once exhilaration and peaceful. Ascending to a height of nearly 2,000 ft, Asheville Hot Air Balloon patrons get to gaze down upon the Pisgah National Forest in comfort and safety. While the trajectory of your trip may not be predictable (the wind is fickle that way), what is certain is that you’ll have a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience in a place that’s unflaggingly beautiful.
Go faster with Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures!
Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures offers guided trips through Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Park. Trips include a trail snack or lunch and you can partake of either full or half-day adventures. Take in the magnificence of the forest… quickly. You’ll be flying by from the seat of your bike, but don’t stress: guides are all locals who are certified to keep you safe and there to make sure you have fun (and don’t go flying head-over-heels).
“Snow doesn’t just fall at the resorts” says I Ski NC.
If you’re an avid skier, your options in Western North Carolina are vast and include heli-ski and backcountry skiing from a truck or guided tour. Visit the website http://www.iskinc.com – here you’ll find a one-stop-shop for all things skiing, including where to go, what companies to go with, timely snow conditions and other FAQs. These adventures are not for the faint of heart, but if you’re feeling bold, heli-skiing and backcountry skiing will certainly give you an epic way to see the mountains, pump some adrenaline, and have an amazing time.
Go bellyaking. Yes, you heard that right: Bellyaking.
This off-shoot of kayaking started in Asheville, so you should try it in Asheville! Lying face-down on a board that’s somewhere between a kayak and a stand-up paddleboard, and with paddled gloves on your hands, practitioners propel themselves through the water face-first! Stick to calm water when you’re starting off, but then don’t be afraid to get a little crazy: there is a subset of bellyakers who only travel in whitewater rivers. It’s still a relatively undiscovered sport but offers loads of fun and a seriously good time (as long as you’re not afraid of getting a little wet).
Dozens of outdoor adventures await in Asheville for the adrenaline junky and intrepid explorer in each of us. Whether you’re visiting in summer or winter, you’re sure to find activities that will get your blood pumping, boost your endorphins, and let you create lasting memories in this beautiful mountain town.
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