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Forest Heritage Scenic Byway

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General Information

Description - Traveling south on SR 215 beginning at the intersection of US 276 and SR 215, you will soon see Lake Logan, elevation 2,902 on your right. Shortly thereafter, you will come upon Sunburst Recreation Area. Like most of the recreation areas, it offers fresh drinking water, picnic tables, grills, either flush or pit toilets, access to fishing streams and hiking trails. At Sunburst, Shining Rock Wilderness Area will be on your left and Middle Prong Wilderness Area on your right. The river you parallel is West Fork Pigeon River. When you reach the Blue Ridge Parkway, you are no longer saddled by wilderness area but are still within National Forest boundaries. The road continues for a short distance with Nantahala National Forest on your right. At Pinhook Gap, the road turns southeast crossing numerous creeks and rivers. This is a fairly long and desolate area with little area to pull off. From Pinhook Gap, at 3,800 feet you will be gradually descending to 2,400 feet when you reach US 64. Head east on US 64 traveling by the town of Brevard and then bear left onto US 276 to head back north. On this side of the Scenic Byway loop, you will have many more opportunities to pull off and rest, picnic and sight see. Within a few miles, you will see the Pisgah Ranger District Office. They have information for free and more detailed information for sale. There are also a few trails which begin in the immediate area. Traveling on you will soon approach one of the East Coast's most popular waterfalls, Looking Glass Falls. It is definitely worth the stop. Just up the road is a fabulous natural wonder, especially if you have children. It is Sliding Rock, which is a natural water rock slide open for water sport during the summer months. The National Forest even provides lifeguards. A short distance up the road is the Cradle of Forestry in America. This is where George Vanderbilt, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the railroad baron, was instrumental in beginning the nation's first forestry education program. There is a visitor center with exhibits and two short interpretive trails highlighting details of the school's inception. After passing the Blue Ridge Parkway, travel about 20 miles to complete the 79 mile loop.

Recreation - There are primitive campgrounds located within the circumference of the Byway. Many of the recreation areas along the Byway permit shoreline fishing. A NC fishing license is required. Group camping is reachable from many of the Forest Service Roads which run off the Byway. Countless trails stretch across the forest which offer access points located in recreation and picnic areas. Many of the trails within the park permit horseback riding. Hunting is permitted throughout the forest during appropriate game seasons.

Climate - Winter daytime temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 4 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures range around 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius). The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging 44 to 48 inches (112 to 122 centimeters). Caution should be taken when traveling in this area. Temperatures can experience wide extremes with unpredictable thunderstorms. Layered clothing and rain gear is advised.

Location - Located within the Pisgah National Forest, you may reach the Byway from Waynesville traveling east on US 276 for 5 miles and turning right onto State Highway 215. OR from Brevard, travel US 276 / US 64 heading northeast.

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More Information

Additional Information:
Asheville Area - Spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful rushing waters, countless museums, historical sites, state and national lands, cultural events and the famous Biltmore Estate are concentrated in this area.
Mountain Region - Experience North Carolina's Mountain Region where two of America's most visited national parks reside, where thousands of acres of national and state forestland sliced by rushing waters dominate the landscape, and where visits can relive the luxurious past of America's industrial birth.
North Carolina Scenic Byways - North Carolina offers beautiful mountain scenic drives offering ample opportunities to sight see from the car. The byways offer access to hundreds of hiking trails, mountain biking trails, horse trails, picnicking, fishing and even a natural water slide.

National Forests in North Carolina - Official agency Website
Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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