5 Thrilling ways you can enjoy the outdoors in Polk County, NC

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We’d like thank our partners at Allen Tate Beverly-Hanks for this insightful write-up on our home here in Polk County.

Touted as the “First Peak of the Blue Ridge,” Polk County has long welcomed flatlanders to a higher altitude. Since the turn of the 20th century, Polk County’s towns of Columbus, Saluda, and Tryon have been favorite mountain destinations to escape the sweltering summer heat of more urban and southern locales. Today, the area is an internationally renowned stopping point for outdoor enthusiasts and equestrian professionals.

The elevation of Polk County ranges from just under 800 feet near the confluence of the Green River and Broad River to over 3,200 feet on Tryon Peak and Wildcat Spur. Numerous city parks, walking tours, hiking, road biking, swimming, fishing, camping, zip-lining, and whitewater adventures are within easy reach. That gives locals plenty of opportunities to engage with the vast natural areas around them.

If you’re ready for a thrill, this is the destination you seek! Here are five ways to enjoy the outdoors in Polk County, NC.

Saddle up in horse country

Tryon has been one of the South’s top equestrian destinations for more than 100 years. Today, the town offers world-class equine veterinary, boarding, and training facilities, as well as more than 100 miles of private trail systems. The town is known for its Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE), a 390-acre educational and recreational center that provides programs in nature study, outdoor recreation, and equestrian competition.

Tryon has also quickly hit the international scene because of the $100 million, 1,450-acre Tryon International Equestrian Center. Opened in 2014, TIEC takes a love for horses to the next level. The facility features 10 riding arenas, over 1,000 permanent stalls, elevated and shaded viewing decks, restaurants, family activities, boutiques, and more. It’s no wonder the location was chosen as the host of the 2018 World Equine Games.

Hit the trails

mountain hiking is one of the popular things to do in Black Mountain, NC

Every day in the Blue Ridge Mountains is an adventure, especially if you know where to look. And luckily, in Polk County, you can look in nearly any direction outdoors and find great trails for hiking, biking, camping, and exploring with friends and family—even with your dog!

One short but exquisitely beautiful trailhead adventure leads you to Pearson’s Falls. You’ll see plants of remarkable diversity on the quarter-mile trail, including over 300 varieties of ferns, flowering plants, algae, and mosses. Pearson’s Falls and Glen is also a wildlife and bird sanctuary maintained by The Tryon Garden Club. Bradley Nature Preserve, Saluda Nature Park, and Pulliam Creek Trail are also great places to discover the beauty of nature, as well as great views.

Have a whitewater adventure

Polk County’s range of elevations make it the perfect place to explore local rivers. People of all ages enjoy fishing, paddle sports, and just quietly admiring life along the banks. Throughout the summer, it’s common to see streams of tubers floating lazily down the gentle rapids of the Lower Green River.

But if you’re looking for a thrill, one water sport tops them all: whitewater rafting. Sections of the Green River offer some of the finest and most challenging kayaking in the Southeast and beyond. Founded in 1997, the Green River Narrows Race has been called the “rowdiest kayak race in America.” Competitors face Class V rapids and a narrow 18-foot drop (called the Gorilla) along the ¾-mile-long course. In addition to the main event, the competition is used to promote river conservation, raising funds for local conservation nonprofits.

Zip across the treetops

Photo from The Gorge Zipline

Polk County offers countless ways to explore the great outdoors. One of the most awe inspiring and adrenaline inducing is zip-lining, traveling down a cable wire over an open span as fast as gravity can propel you. Aerialists as young as four years old can travel from treetop to treetop, exploring protected forests from above.

The Gorge is America’s steepest and fastest zip line canopy tour. You begin your experience perched on the rim of the Green River Gorge, and then plunge into untouched wilderness. The ride descends an unprecedented 1,100 feet in elevation, zipping from treetop to treetop on 11 zip lines. Meanwhile, you also get to traverse a sky bridge and descend three huge rappels, all taking you through stunning old-growth forest overlooking 18,000 acres of protected gamelands.

Take a stroll around town

the main street of quaint storefronts in Saluda, NC

Trips into Polk County must include a leisurely stroll among the tree-lined streets of historic Saluda. There are numerous easily accessible city parks around town. But the main attractions are the many distinctive shops, art and craft galleries, and delicious restaurants along Main Street. Don’t miss the two century-old general stores. While you’re there, get a whiff of glossy oil-stained, heart pine floors stirring up memories of times gone by.

Saluda also hosts a variety of annual events and outdoor festivals. The Saluda Arts Festival, held in May, attracts fine artists from across WNC and South Carolina to showcase their art and offer live demos. The popular Coon Dog Day Festival, held the first Saturday after July 4th, is a celebratory event with food, live music, a parade, and a street dance.

Find what feels like home in Polk County, NC

Polk County is quickly growing! People are moving to the area to enjoy all the wonderful cultural and natural amenities the area has to offer. If you love exploring the outdoors, why not enjoy Polk County every day? Homes for sale in the area include hobby farms, planned equestrian communities, and urban living near quirky and historic downtowns.

Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Contact our real estate team directly at (828) 600-5132 to start your journey today.

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Plan your Spring Visit to Bright’s Creek and Lake Lure, NC

As winter bids adieu and nature awakens from its slumber, spring brings forth a palette of vibrant colors and a sense of rejuvenation. Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of North Carolina, Bright’s Creek mountain community is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. As you plan your spring visit to Bright’s Creek, let us introduce you to Lake Lure, just 20 minutes from our gates. With its stunning vistas and diverse array of activities, the lake is an idyllic setting to embrace the beauty of spring. Let’s explore some of the delightful springtime activities awaiting you near Lake Lure, NC.

Scenic Hiking Trails

Spring is the perfect time to lace up your hiking boots and explore the myriad of trails that wind through the lush forests surrounding Lake Lure. From leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, there’s a trail for every skill level. Chimney Rock State Park is your first stop for breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lake and gateway to the iconic Hickory Nut Falls. This moderate 1.4-mile hike was featured in the file, The Last of the Mohicans and takes the average hiker 45 minutes to an hour to complete. 

Water Adventures

With the arrival of spring, the crisp mountain air beckons you to indulge in water adventures on Lake Lure. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and glide across the serene waters as you soak in the beauty of your surroundings. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck at catching bass, trout, and other freshwater species that inhabit the lake. For a more leisurely experience, embark on a scenic boat tour and admire the awe-inspiring cliffs and rocky outcrops that adorn the shoreline.

Blossoming Gardens

Springtime in Lake Lure heralds the blooming of vibrant flowers and blossoming gardens that dot the landscape. Make a visit to the truly unique Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, a former highway bridge transformed into a colorful botanical garden featuring a diverse collection of native plants and flowers. As the seasons evolve the bridge flora will rotate, so there’s always something new to see! 

Outdoor Dining with Lake Views

There are a number of wonderful restaurants offering al fresco dining nestled along the lakefront, where you can indulge in farm-to-table cuisine while enjoying panoramic views of the water. Check out Appalachia Restaurant or casual, upscale dining or the Lake House Restaurant and Bar for laid back American fare. While you don’t get a lake view, you still get beautiful views of the surrounding gardens at Grey Hawk Bar and Gardens. They offer a fabulous brunch with fun beverages on Saturdays and Sundays.

Spring Festivals and Events

One of the more adrenaline-packed events is The Rumble, one of the only outdoor ropes and bouldering competitions on the East Coast. The 9th annual event is March 1-3. Springtime in Lake Lure is punctuated by an array of festivals and events celebrating the season’s bounty and local culture. Lake Lure Earth Day Celebration is on April 22, and you can participate in eco-friendly activities and learn about sustainability initiatives in the community. The Farmers Market starts up in May and you can peruse handcrafted goods from local artisans at the Spring Arts & Crafts Festival this year is May 11-12. 

Residents and Members at North Carolina Mountain Community, Bright’s Creek, are blessed to have such a vibrant lake nearby. With its stunning natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities, Lake Lure and its surrounding areas offer the perfect destination to embrace the joys of spring. Whether you’re seeking adventure on the hiking trails, relaxation by the lakeshore, or cultural immersion at local festivals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this enchanting corner of North Carolina. Contact our real estate team to schedule your tour of our mountain community, pack your bags, embrace the season, and discover the wonders of springtime in our area.

Contact our real estate team directly at (828) 600-5132 to start your journey today.

Email Heather

Email JJ