With unmatched natural assets and a community intimately engaged in the outdoors, Western North Carolina’s outdoors are something to behold. Step in for a closer look at places and people that are made by mountains.
In one hike up a mountainside, you can walk up from a lush temperate rainforest into northern hardwoods and boreal forests, as if you were hiking to Canada and back in a day. The region’s incredible biodiversity, countless rivers and waterfalls, abundant trails, beloved public lands, and the highest mountains in the eastern US combine to make it a destination for outdoor adventures of all types. Even better, you don’t have to slog through hours of city traffic to enjoy them.
Our outdoors have made us home to Olympic athletes and world record holders, and our rivers and mountains have sparked huge innovations in sport after sport.
But our easygoing, collaborative culture keeps things friendly and fun. Competitive as they might be on race day, people watch out for each other, support each other, and encourage everyone to enjoy the experience. These mountains will challenge you, but they will nurture you too.
And the people who call WNC’s mountains home keep our culture rich and enlivened. Our neighbors don’t just make extraordinary outdoor gear, they are also some of the most celebrated chefs in the country; world-renowned artists honing and teaching their craft; incredible musicians playing to small crowds; storytellers spinning tales that stretch back for generations… After a day’s work or play, we’re blessed to have so many things to enjoy when it’s time to hit the town.
Western North Carolina is within a one day drive of 50% of the United States population – over 178 million people.
What Makes WNC Special
WNC is the perfect testing ground for outdoor makers to push the limits of their new designs right in their own background. Home to the highest point in the Eastern United States, Mount Mitchell, and the two most visited national parks in the country.
Rivers, Streams & Lakes
From dozens of flatwater lakes to miles and miles of world class rapids, WNC is a paddlers paradise and home to some of the biggest companies, outfitters, professional athletes and pioneers of the paddlesports industry.
Mountain Towns & Cities
Authentic communities, large and small, serve as a gateway to the outdoors. Our neighbors are chefs, artists, makers, and musicians who you pass on the trails or see at a local brewery and share your passion for the outdoors.
Iconic, bucket list worthy trails that lead to craggy summits, down long descents, and traverse through varying landscapes, all accessible after work!
WNC has a small business and entrepreneurial support network rivaling major metros with a collaborative spirit unlike anywhere else.
Great Outdoor Companies
Our outdoor recreation companies compete brilliantly on the international stage, but they are dedicated to supporting one another at home and helping grow the outdoor industry here.