North America Vacations
North Carolina | The High Country
Experience the best of active outdoor adventures and classic North Carolina culture
6 days / 5 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
North Carolina is full of diversity, history, and culture. It’s a land of soaring mountain peaks, thundering waterfalls, and rich forests. Throughout your time on this trip, you’ll experience the best of active outdoor adventures and classic North Carolina culture. Feel like you’re stepping into a French chateau as you explore the awe-inspiring historic Biltmore Estate and learn more about the family in whose possession it’s been for the last 125 years. Keep an eye out for bald eagles as you kayak the Catawba River, which winds its way from the Blue Ridge Mountains to central South Carolina. Fly through the treetops on an exhilarating zipline expedition. And of course, enjoy some delectable and authentic Carolina BBQ along the way!
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Your taste buds will be tickled with a meal at a local hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint one day and a sit-down elaborate dining experience with organic farm fare the next.
A stay at the Biltmore Estate and The Lodges at Eagle's Nest is reason alone to book this one-of-a-kind itinerary!
A wide range of activities - kayaking, canyoneering, horseback riding, zip-lining, four-wheeling, and hiking - has a little something for every lover of adventure.
Charlotte, North Carolina CLT
Charlotte, North Carolina CLT
Charlotte / Chimney Rock State Park
Welcome to North Carolina! After an early morning pickup in Charlotte, we’ll head straight to the world-famous US National Whitewater Center on the outskirts of the city for a brief welcome meeting • Soon after, find yourself on comfortable sit-on-top kayaks floating down the Catawba River, surrounded by the rich forests characteristic of the Carolina Low Country • After lunch, head to Chimney Rock State Park, where the popular movie Last of the Mohicans was filmed • We’ll take a gentle hike up to Hickory Nut Waterfall, an absolutely stunning and classic West Carolina sight • Tonight, we’ll stay at the Pisgah Inn off the Blue Ridge Parkway, known for its stunning decks overlooking the rolling blue mountains •
Pisgah Inn has been accommodating guests since it first opened in 1919. Located at the Peak of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it provides breath-taking views, casual fine dining, comfortable accommodations, and an incomparable escape into the mountains of Western North Carolina. Sit back and relax as you take in all that the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer.
Pisgah National Forest / Biltmore Estate
Wake up to Appalachia’s finest forests right outside your door • This region is actually where the Forestry field began • After a classic southern breakfast, we’ll go for a hike in the High Country through Graveyard Fields to yet another gorgeous waterfall • This afternoon, we’ll take it up a notch with a guided canyoneering trip, rappelling off cliffs, above the tree-tops, and down active waterfalls! • The expert guides will let you go at your own pace and keep you safe, but this is one exhilarating experience! • Late afternoon, a scenic and leisurely drive will bring us to America’s Largest home at the center of the historic Biltmore Estate •
The Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate
Casual, comfortable, and centrally located, The Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate is the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploration. Offering you all the comforts of home with stunning views of the Biltmore properties, the hotel is just steps away from the winery, restaurants, shops, and outdoor activities of Antler Hill Village.
Your day starts on the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion on the iconic and stunning Biltmore Estate • After breakfast we’ll set out on a riverside hike to the front door of the Estate • A private tour led by a historian takes you through the cavernous mansion – you might even get to see some of the secret areas of the home! • After lunch, we’ll visit the barns for an afternoon on the saddle and a leisurely horse ride • Finish your day with a wine tasting at the award-winning Biltmore Winery • Dinner tonight will be chef prepared at The Bistro •
Asheville / Linn Cove Viaduct
After a night of much-needed rest, we’ll head north through the city of Asheville and set out on a treetop canopy tour by zipline • Fly through the rich forests, known to have more tree-diversity than the entire continent of Europe, and stop for lunch at a classic Carolina BBQ joint to meet the locals and experience hog heaven • After lunch we head north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Linn Cove Viaduct, an international engineering marvel • The viaduct wraps around the face of the mountains without harming the fragile eco-system • Walk along the Tanawah trail and see the rhododendron-thick forests and stunning views. Tonight, we’ll check into the Lodges at Eagle’s Nest, a true retreat in the hills •
The Lodge at Eagle’s Nest
Nestled in North Carolina’s High Country near the towns of Boone and Banner Elk, The Lodges at Eagles Nest are an exclusive mountain community meant to immerse guests in the great outdoors. These stunning mountain homes provide the perfect base for exploring the region, and include luxury amenities and activities such as an onsite cigar and wine bar, horseback riding, paintball, a ropes course, and a series of ATV and motorcycle trails.
Grandfather Mountain / Elk River Waterfall
After a home-cooked breakfast, we’ll drive to Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak in this region! • Walk along a trail and eventually pass over a hanging bridge and breath in the cleanest air east of the Mississippi • After lunch we’ll rev our engines on a 4-wheel adventure using open-air UTV’s! • Splash through puddles, navigate forest trails, and crawl over boulders on these awesome open-air quads • Finish the day on a short hike along the stunning and massive Elk River Waterfall trail • This waterfall is one of the most impressive in the east with an enormous water volume • Dinner tonight will be at the superb Artisanal, the premier dining experience in the Blue Ridge •
On our last day together we’ll enjoy a late breakfast, then head to Hawksbill Mountain to see the “Grand Canyon of the East” • Linville Gorge is the deepest gorge on the East Coast, and its stunning views will take your breath away • En route to the airport we’ll stop for lunch one last time, at another classic North Carolina Smokehouse • Experience small-town southern hospitality at this no-frills Carolina “hole in the wall” • Without further ado, we’ll say farewell, or in as they say in the Carolinas….”ya’ll come back now”! •
Arrival & Departure
Please plan on arriving at least one day prior to your trip departure. Day one of your itinerary starts at 7:00 am. Your trip ends with a drop-off at Charlette Hotels or Airport… Please make flights for 2:00 PM or later.
Kayaking: Easy, No experience necessary
Canyoneering: Easy to Moderate, No experience necessary
Horseback Riding: Easy walking pace, no experience necessary (*250 lb. weight limit)
Zip-lining: No experience necessary (*250 lb. weight limit)
4-Wheeling: No experience necessary
Hiking: 1.5 to 4 miles per hike, easy to moderate terrain
Charlotte has something for everyone, whether you’re a sports fan, art lover, culinary fanatic, or history buff. Learn more about the city’s exploding art scene at a number of world-class art museums and galleries. Enjoy fine-dining or down-home barbecue from some of the best chefs in the country, and wonder at historic civil war relics at one of the Charlotte’s numerous museums. And that’s just the beginning of your trip!
Along the way, you’ll experience rich Appalachian culture, explore the natural, scenic beauty around every turn, and have the time of your life ziplining through the treetops and rappelling down cascading waterfalls. Did you know North Carolina is home to the highest mountains in the eastern United States? Did you know that the Vanderbilt Mansion has 250 rooms filled with impressive artwork, antiques, and architecture? The grounds of the estate also include the first managed forest in the country. Catch a glimpse of local wildlife and learn more about North Carolina’s expansive flora, and take in sweeping views of the landscape that surrounds it all. Come see all that North Carolina has to offer and we promise, you’ll never want to leave!
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, Austin Adventures guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. Meals are included as indicated in the daily itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
ADVENTURE TRAVEL CONSULTANT
When moving to North Carolina in 1995, Steve started a career as a bicycle retailer. His passion for hospitality, customer care, and being active has served the community well for 25 years. Steve loves to tell stories and share adventures. The outdoor adventure and travel community was the perfect place for career number 2. He is eager to hear your interests, learn about your vision for a vacation of a lifetime, and help make it come to life. Steve lives by the motto life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you might just miss it. When not guiding you might find him in the backcountry, exploring by bike or foot and in a tent whenever possible. He embraces his inner nerd and loves to be a beginner. His favorite Adventure is the one he hasn’t been on yet.