Saturday, March 4, 2017

Off the Beaten Path

  Today I wanted to highlight some of my favorite places I've visited that were "off the beaten path." I guess the criteria to fit this would be a destination that is either 1) relatively unknown or less visited compared to a counterpart, 2) difficult or requiring more work to get to, or 3) both. 

   One of my favorite places to visit is western North Carolina. I lived in the south for 5 years, and the WNC mountains were easily my favorite place to visit. A place that holds a special place in my heart is the Dupont State Forest, which is about 45 minutes southeast of Asheville, North Carolina. It consists of about 10,000 acres and is incredibly beautiful, with tons of waterfalls to visit and over one hundred miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. The great thing about Dupont being  tucked away in the Pisgah Mountains is that it sees far less traffic from tourists, who usually head down the road to the equally awesome Smoky Mountains. 

     Dupont is most known for it's waterfalls. It was a major filming destination for the movie, "Last of the Mohicans" starring Daniel Day Lewis.  The famous scene shot beneath the waterfall was filmed at Bridalveil Falls. Dupont was also where most of the outdoor scenes for the movie "The Hunger Games" were filmed.  The entire area was previously owned and donated by the Dupont chemical company for conservation. There are sections of the forest that are fenced off  where a former Dupont factory stood. 

    Even though the falls in Dupont are spectacular, I spent most of my time there mountain biking. The single track in Dupont is incredible and world renowned. Cycling enthusiasts travel from all parts of the country to ride the network. The Big Rock Trail is one of my favorite areas. It consists of huge sections of granite rock that you can ride for miles, with pristine views. I highly recommend visiting the area and surrounding forests if you like hiking, camping, and adventure!

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