Hello lovelies! I’m trying to enjoy all of this rain that we are getting here in Western NC…but it’s so hard when what I really want to be doing is hiking and enjoying the beauties of this state! Don’t get me wrong….I do love the rain. But recently I have been craving those hiking trips in the warm Spring air, experiencing breathtaking views of sunsets, waterfalls, and mountaintops. The past few years I have loved exploring new places in NC and I am excited to do the same this year. I love traveling to new states and countries, but the the hidden jewels of this state should not go unnoticed. Hiking or exploring somewhere new always gives me a sense of gratitude and humbleness for the opportunity that I have to live in such an incredibly diverse place of culture and nature. On the path of exploration, I feel like a little kid on a treasure hunt, avidly searching for the buried gems. When the clearing opens up and the road comes to a close, the destination has been reached and I can do nothing but stop and stare. Joy, bliss, relief, awe, wonder, all wrapped up into one amazing feeling that the hidden treasure has been found and it was definitely worth the wait. Below I have listed a couple of my favorite hikes and views in NC, and I hope you get the chance to explore and experience them as I did. There will be many more adventures to come for me! (These are listed in no particular order).

  1. Sliding Rock– Sliding Rock is a waterfall near Brevard, NC that you can actually slide off of (hence the name). It is so much fun! This natural water-slide flows into a big swimming hole, making it perfect for cool refresher on a hot Summer day! 10478542_653094101444187_7831084389332289665_n
  2. Looking Glass Falls-This gorgeous waterfall is right beside Sliding Rock, so visit both in the same day! Not only is this waterfall absolutely breathtaking, but it has a swimming hole as well. We even climbed up under the waterfall which was kind of scary, but incredible. There is no hiking required to get to this waterfall.10322812_653098311443766_2547030379744522748_n FullSizeRender (27) FullSizeRender (29)

FullSizeRender (28)

 

3. Crabtree Falls– Crabtree Falls is a 70 ft. waterfall near the Blue Ridge Parkway. The hike down into the falls is such a peaceful, wooded trail. It’s a somewhat strenuous hike, so wear some good hiking boots or shoes. I loved hiking this trail with my wonderful Mother. It was a perfect spot for her to get some great shots for her photography website.

10438403_678217202265210_1970158540881986344_n 10550859_678217292265201_3868752293113376427_n

 

4. Chimney Rock- Chimney Rock holds a very special place in my heart. Not only is in one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been, but it marks the day that I (unofficially) started dating my boyfriend. He never actually asked me, but we both felt that was the day that we knew we were meant to be together. We spent an amazing day exploring Chimney Rock, trekking up the millions of steps (at least that’s what it felt like, it was actually 500). I’m not gonna lie…the hike to the top of the rock is pretty brutal. There is an elevator that takes you to the top, but Luke and I decided that it was only for wimps…and we were NOT wimps. We very much regretted this decision halfway through the hike. However, the view over Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge made everything worth it. We were so proud of ourselves once we reached the top…overlooking what seemed like the entire world. By my choice, we ended up hiking to the very top of the mountain which was Devil’s Head lookout. We were exhausted by the end of the day, but it was a day that we will never forget.

10349897_676330489120548_762121338199438489_n 10377359_676330672453863_7169805522351052976_n - Copy 10411302_564870180108_6783586789807127893_n

5. Hickory Nut Falls- This waterfall is at Chimney Rock State Park, and we hiked the trail in the same day as we hiked to Chimney Rock. This waterfall is famous for its debut in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. It is a simple hike, but I recommend doing it before hiking to the top of Chimney Rock (if you decide to conquer the steps).

FullSizeRender (26)10527392_676330602453870_6448961658364415044_n

6. DuPont State Forest– This trip was yet another that I got to experience with my love. Our trip included visits to all 3 of the best waterfalls at DuPont: High Falls, Triple Falls, and Hooker Falls. Each waterfall was so different and unique in its own way. It’s pretty much an all-day trip, so plan accordingly. The hikes are not rigorous, but if you hike to all 3 then it does take a while. Definitely one of my favorite places I’ve been; High Falls is absolutely captivating.

Triple Falls
Triple Falls
Hooker Falls
Hooker Falls
High Falls
High Falls

7. Grassy Creek Falls- This intricate and unique waterfall is located near Little Switzerland. The hike is not difficult at all, and you can even go up under the waterfall. I got to hike this trail with my best friend (practically brother) Rome. We had such a blast…after all of our bad luck. We weren’t quite sure how to get there so we attempted to take his car up the trail…..yeah that didn’t happen. It got stuck in mud and we had to practically push it out. It was pretty funny afterward though and made for a memorable adventure.

1620751_674841799269417_697832235639384726_n 10405225_674841729269424_3972432627574957404_n10532876_674841955936068_2800597536387963716_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Elk River Falls I also got to see this beautiful waterfall with Rome. This adventure was a little less difficult than the previous one, and just as rewarding. This waterfall was GORGEOUS! The hike was extremely easy, and there was a huge place to swim and lay on the rocks or sand and sunbathe.

FullSizeRender (30)

9. Roaring Fork Falls– I hiked this beautiful trail with my Mom in the fall, and it was beautiful, surrounded by colorful fallen leaves. Not a difficult hike at all.

11DC8D3B-60DC-43EF-92C9-E27BCEF990A6
Found this super cool leaf on the trail, so of course I made Mom take a picture!

11219622_905133509573577_4146903834885005775_n

10. The Cut-This trail was definitely an adventure. I had heard people talk about how awesome the view of Asheville at this place called The Cut, but I could never figure out where it was. My boyfriend and I decided to go one night and hopefully find where it was. I’m still not sure how we found the trail….but the view was INCREDIBLE! Asheville is such a beautiful city, and the sunset over the mountains and buildings was something out of a romance novel. M boyfriend and I were about to kill each other before we got to the The Cut (I decided to wear Ugg boots….and let’s just say that it was a struggled hike) but we were all hugs and kisses once we FINALLY reached the top.

12065780_910589819027946_5186519315429947455_n

If you aren’t able to travel to far away places this Summer, try exploring the places in your own state; you never know what secrets lie hidden in nature right under your nose.

Take a hike,

Ashlyn Tori <3