Get Outdoors at Walnut Cove—Hike, Paddle, Pedal, and More Nearby

Outdoor activities around The Cliffs at Walnut Cove

The area surrounding Walnut Cove offers some of the best hiking and outdoor activities in all of Western North Carolina. Residents are just minutes from incredible trails carved in rolling mountains and river valleys, with some trails right inside the gates of this private community.

Explore some of the country’s most beautiful state and national parks, forests, and protected wilderness regions—including 75 waterfall hikes just 30 minutes from their gates.

Explore the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains—right in your own backyard.

The majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains is unrivaled. This mountain range, which stretches from Georgia to Pennsylvania, offers a wide range of recreational options and spectacular vistas. Members of The Cliffs at Walnut Cove have the unique opportunity to live amongst this natural treasure. It’s no wonder why these properties attract those looking for world-class mountain activities such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding.


mountains in Autumn
mountains in summer

Outdoor Amenities in The Cliffs

Members of all seven residential communities enjoy all the outdoors the Carolina mountains have to offer. Miles of private hiking and mountain bike routes, private lakeside beaches, vineyards, and access to equestrian riding trails are all within the gates. Get exclusive access to world-class golf courses, wellness centers, and clubhouse facilities, all constructed by some of the sport’s best players and course designers. Whatever your outdoor interests, Walnut Cove provides a truly unique opportunity to pursue new interests, form lifelong friendships, and see your passions through.

Hiking around Walnut Cove

The breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway are right in Walnut Cove's backyard. Explore miles of easy and challenging hiking trails through picturesque wildflower fields, forests, and mountain laurel. Feeling even more adventurous? Venture further into Western North Carolina and experience over a dozen beautiful natural parks via one of the nation’s most scenic parkways.

The Cliffs at Walnut Cove Outdoor Pursuits offers members a variety of guided hiking excursions for all skill levels, featuring hikes inside and outside the communities. Each of the seven communities also hosts its own hiking club.

  • Craggy Gardens


    Enjoy incredible vistas on this short 1.4-mile stroll designated by the state of North Carolina as a National Heritage Area. Easily accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Craggy Gardens is home to unique plants and wildlife.

  • Green Knob Trail


    Nestled in Julian Price Park, Green Knob Trail is a shorter, flatter trail, perfect for casual hikers and trail runners. This trail offers an escape from bigger crowds within the Blue Ridge Mountains—and a great opportunity to explore these forests. 

  • Graveyard Fields


    Graveyard Fields offers a short, moderate hike down to Lower Falls—a gorgeous waterfall and swimming hole. Hikers can also traverse grassy meadows and wading ponds, perfect for Summer day trips. Come for the hike, stay for mountaintop blueberry picking in late Summer.

  • Mount Pisgah


    South of Asheville, the Mount Pisgah Trail is recognized for its spectacular views of Buncombe, Henderson, and Haywood counties. At 5,721 feet, Mount Pisgah is a striking landmark, visible throughout the region. Trekking to its peak also includes a scenic trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • Linville Falls


    Linville Falls is one of the Blue Ridge Mountains' most remarkable and popular waterfalls. Visitors can visit the Erwins View Trail and the more challenging Linville Gorge trail, each offering their own perspectives of the falls.

  • Boone Fork Trail


    Hike along the Boone Fork River for a delightful array of serene sights and rushing water. This 5.5-mile looping trail is near Boone and Blowing Rock, two popular mountain towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Paddling and watersports near Walnut Cove

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for a whitewater adventure or a casual paddler looking to get out on the water with friends and family, Lake Keowee and the rivers of Western North Carolina offer just about any experience you’re after. Lake Keowee's gorgeous blue water and 300 miles of shoreline give members and their families endless outdoor options all year long.

  • Lake Keowee

    18,500 acres of water and hundreds of miles of shoreline make Lake Keowee a popular spot for boating, fishing, water skiing, swimming, camping, and picnicking. Through The Cliffs at Walnut Cove Outdoor Pursuits program, members have access to private kayak tours, paddleboarding excursions—even wakeboarding!

  • Green River

    The Lower Green River flows through the lush woodlands of the Green River Gorge and is great for paddlers of all levels, including beginners. Two tubing spots along this portion of the river make it perfect for casual fun. Rent a tube and float for an hour or the entire day.

  • Oconaluftee River

    Have some paddling experience and looking for a fun, scenic river run through the rapids? Not far from Cherokee, North Carolina, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Oconaluftee River is the perfect place to paddle through Class I and II rapids in a beautiful mountain locale.

  • Deep Creek

    Deep Creek, located in in Bryson City, North Carolina, is the most popular river tubing spot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The creek offers a variety of terrain and water features that appeal to casual tubers and more adventurous paddlers.

  • French Broad River

    The French Broad River, one of the world's five oldest rivers, is accessible all year from several spots along its 218-mile length. A number of launch stations are accessible from city parks and landing spots in Asheville. The French Broad is great for swimming in most areas.

  • Tuckasegee River

    The Tuckasegee is great for beginner rafters and paddlers, families with small children, and anyone looking for a more relaxed river experience. At the peak of Summer, the river warms to a very comfortable 65°F to 70°F as it winds through six reservoirs. Warm water, as well as Class I and II rapids, make this a one-of-a-kind experience.

Pedaling near Walnut Cove

Cyclists—both road and mountain—travel to Western North Carolina from all over the world to ride this area's roadways and trails. Members have access to a genuinely unparalleled cycling program led by a legendary team of accomplished cycling guides who host group rides, informative discussions, clinics, and more. This landscape is ideally suited for cyclists of all ages and skill levels, including those looking for easy local rides around the community. Gorgeous backdrops, steep, rocky trails, and meandering streams combine to offer cyclists endless opportunities for adventure.

  • Bent Creek

    The Bent Creek Experimental Forest is within a 20-minute drive from downtown Asheville. Unlike many of the legendary trails in the surrounding Pisgah National Forest, Bent Creek is reasonably beginner-friendly, offering courses to fit a wide range of rider skills. It's an excellent area for younger or more inexperienced riders to practice their abilities and get some exercise before tackling tougher terrain.

  • Dupont State Forest

    The Blue Ridge Mountains' Dupont State Forest is one of the best waterfall rides. Biking routes range from easier forest roads to more challenging mountain biking paths. With seven miles of downhill slopes, the Ridgeline Loop is a favorite choice for riders looking for a thrill. Looking for family fun? Check out the kids' loop, which offers obstacles for practice and skill development.

  • Emerald Outback

    The Emerald Outback Trails are nearly seven miles long, offering single and double track trails for those looking for challenging rides, as well as grassy spaces and dirt or gravel routes. Among the highest mountain biking trails in the Eastern United States, with elevations ranging from 4,700 to 5,400 feet, riders can take the chair lift to the peak of Beech Mountain for incredible views.

  • Biltmore Estate

    Come out for a relaxing afternoon touring the grounds of the country's most famous residence. In addition to many miles of hiking, the Biltmore Estate features over 20 miles of biking trails. Bikers can bring their own bikes or rent one on the spot. These routes are fun for both beginners and experts.

  • Bracken Preserve

    Widely regarded as one of the best cycling areas of the Southern United States, Brevard offers numerous mountain biking paths to explore. Pick between two primary trails in the Bracken Preserve. Neither are technical and can be ridden by both beginners and experienced riders.

  • Rocky Knob

    The Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park was built for mountain biking. This 185-acre park is located just east of Boone and features nine miles of trails with varying difficulty levels. The Rocky Branch Trail is highly practicable, although none of the routes are designed for new riders.

More to explore outdoors around The Cliffs

If you have yet to visit Walnut Cove or wonder what more this area offers for outdoor enjoyment, here are just a few other activities.

  • Take in the views.

    Living in Walnut Cove gives you a front-row seat to some of the most magnificent panoramas in the country. Within these gates, miles and miles of natural beauty surround the residences in each of The Cliffs' seven neighborhoods. Whether you pull over on the Parkway or hit the hiking trails, there are endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the Carolina mountains.

  • Find a mountain town.

    Looking to connect with the rich culture of Appalachia? Visit one of the many small towns that dot the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Marshall, Cherokee, Crossnore, Franklin, Rutherfordton, and Marion. Each offers quaint enjoyments, rich history, and cultural touchstones.

  • Go birdwatching.

    Western North Carolina offers outstanding birding. At higher elevations, birdwatchers are treated to birds found nowhere else in the South. Thanks to the rugged geography and four-season climate, there’s no better place to watch such a diverse range of birds.

  • Visit Carolina wine country.

    Looking for a different kind of wine tasting experience? More than 185 vineyard tasting rooms are set against the breathtaking background of North Carolina's lush mountains and rolling landscapes. The state is home to five separate grape-growing regions that have been designated as American Viticultural Areas.

  • Go for an unforgettable drive.

    The North Carolina mountains offer one of the most magnificent scenic drives in the world. The Blue Ridge Parkway is perhaps the most popular attraction in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Take a drive and enjoy the scenery as you pass through landscapes with tiered mountain views, mesmerizing blue haze, and clear blue skies.

  • See fantastic Fall foliage.

    Western Carolina's fall foliage gives New England’s a run for its money. Visitors come from miles around to see the Fall colors in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Members are surrounded by breathtaking colors all Autumn long.