- The National Forests of North Carolina include four national forests covering 1.2 million acres, from the mountains to the sea. The Pisgah National Forest's 500,000 acres stretch along the eastern edge of the mountains of western North Carolina. The Pisgah borders the east end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Pisgah's mile-high peaks, cascading waterfalls, rivers and heavily forested slopes offer visitors a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation. People can hike on more than 600 miles of trails and view scenic waterfalls, plants and wildflowers.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Byway and the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway both lead through the Pisgah. Popular attractions along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway include Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, three picnic areas, two campgrounds and the Cradle of Forestry in America. In addition to Looking Glass Falls, other scenic waterfalls on the Forest include Moore Cove Falls, in the Brevard area and Elk Falls, northeast of Burnsville.
The Appalachian Trail leads through the northwest end of the Pisgah. Max Patch Mountain is described as a crown jewel of the Appalachian Trail, which crosses the mountain's summit. For the casual walker, a gravel road comes to within a half mile of the 4,629 foot summit and a spectacular panoramic view. About 216 miles of the Mountains-to-the-Sea Trail cross the mountainous Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests from Blowing Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway, south to Balsam Gap.
Recreation - The Pisgah offers a wide variety of recreation activities including, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, hunting, fishing, rafting, canoeing, scenic driving and more. Campgrounds are located throughout the Forest offering developed to primitive sites.
Climate - Winter daytime temperatures average below 36 degrees Fahrenheit (below 2 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures average below 76 degrees Fahrenheit (below 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). Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and carry proper gear as the high altitude makes the climate quite cold even in summer. Caution should be taken when traveling in this area. Temperatures can experience wide extremes with unpredictable thunderstorms. Layered clothing and rain gear is advised.
The Pisgah National Forest lies in western North Carolina, around Asheville. The Tennessee border forms the western boundary of the Forest, where the Pisgah adjoins the Cherokee National Forest. The Pisgah has offices located in Burnsville, Nebo, and Pisgah Forest, North Carolina.