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outdoors

Mountaineers have long been known for their ingenuity and independent spirit, traits that live on today among the entrepreneurs and artisans profiled in Smoky Mountain Living’s Made in the Smokies feature. more

Oct 1, 2017 12:00 AM Features

A Fly Fishing Lesson

Jon Ostendorff photo

More than 1 million visitors a year pass through the hallowed halls of the Biltmore House, a show-stopper of colossal proportions, draped in brilliant architecture, laced with captivating history and adorned with lavish antiquities. more

Aug 1, 2017 12:00 AM Mountain Explorer

A Fly Fishing Lesson

Jon Ostendorff photo

A few weeks earlier, learning to fly fish seemed like a great idea on the eve of turning 40. Something new and adventurous, something novel and romantic. But now I’m doubtful. My vision of whipping S-curves through the air suddenly seems far-fetched. more

Aug 1, 2017 12:00 AM Mountain Explorer

The Smokies are known for their spring ephemerals. Hundreds of species of wildflowers, like bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, trout lily, trilliums and more impatiently claw their way through the brown leaf litter under the sparse spring canopy. more

Aug 1, 2017 12:00 AM Mountain Explorer

Indigo bunting

Holly Kays photo

It was only 8 a.m. when I parked my car in a dewy meadow near Franklin, North Carolina, but the bird banding crew I was meeting had already been at work for hours. more

Jun 1, 2017 12:00 AM Mountain Explorer

Lost in the Blue Ridge Triangle

Holly Kays

Like its mysterious cousin the Bermuda Triangle, the Blue Ridge Triangle — apparently — causes inexplicable disorientation for hikers attempting to traverse its domain in North Carolina’s Middle Prong Wilderness. more

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No Taste Like Home

Mike Belleme

What do an overgrown field, a weed-infested city lot, a wilderness hollow, a suburban backyard, and a shady woodlot all have in common? Well, if you’re Alan Muskat, the answer is simple – food for the taking. more

Mountain Explorer

Louisiana waterthrush

Don Hendershot

The Louisiana waterthrush is one of — if not the — first wood warblers to return to nesting grounds in the Southern Appalachians. If you hear his song streamside, it’s worth your effort to seek the little songster out and watch him. more

Mountain Explorer

The book features 42 trail networks and 1,200 miles of mountain bike trails, including full-color maps and photos, route details and trail descriptions. more

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Picture-perfect Alum Cave Trail, marked by smooth tread and tightly constructed steps and bridges, is the result of two years of backbreaking work involving 50,000 hours of work from a continuously rotating crew of 50 people. more

Mountain Explorer

Tsali Recreation Area

Max Cooper photo

I pulled into my parking spot at Tsali Recreation Area with a fair number of nerves in tow. The lot churned with vehicles bearing out-of-state plates, their owners tuning up the bikes they’d brought with them or filling small backpacks. more

Feb 1, 2017 12:00 AM Mountain Explorer

Fabulous Franklin, N.C.

Margaret Hester photo

Tucked away in a forgotten corner of Western North Carolina, not far from the Georgia line, lies an old town that’s rapidly developing a new spirit. more

Feb 1, 2017 12:00 AM Outposts

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Kathy Kyle photo

A map and a pair of hiking shoes changed my life. My older sister bought me my first hiking boots when I was fresh out of college, adventurous and fortunate to have a job that gave me independence. more

Oct 1, 2016 12:00 AM Mountain Explorer

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Mandy Newham-Cobb illustration

Long before country singer Brad Paisley made checking for ticks an act of seduction, many of us grew up with a much more imminent threat to our outdoor adventures—a threat that was far less obvious and identifiable until it was too late. more

Apr 1, 2016 12:00 AM Good Reads

It’s a beautiful late winter day and the hills are alive with the sound of, well—hoarse ducks? If your late winter sojourns take you into wet areas, keep your ears open for the croaking or “quacking” of wood frogs, Rana sylvatica. more

Feb 1, 2016 12:00 AM Mountain Explorer

When I first moved to the Smokies, my wife and went hiking nearly every weekend. With only one infant child in tow, we would look forward to these all-day adventures, 8- or 9-hour treks to balds or waterfalls or secluded mountaintops. more

Feb 1, 2016 12:00 AM Blog

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Kathryn Ray

A spirit of craftsmanship has always imbued these mountains. These days, Southern Appalachia’s most innovative artisans and entrepreneurs honor the past and this region while pushing their crafts to new limits. more

Oct 1, 2015 12:00 AM Features

Virginia Creeper Trail

Courtesy of Abingdon Convention & Visitors Bureau

The sky was blue and cloudless as the van filled with people and their rental bikes en route to Whitetop Mountain, but I was suspicious. Though the morning held the promise of a perfect October day, I’d grown wise to the ways of Appalachian weather. more

Oct 1, 2015 12:00 AM Mountain Explorer

Outdoor adventure programs

Photo courtesy of ASU Outdoor Programs

Though a common offering at universities today, the integration of adventure and academia was a novel consideration in the early 1970s, when introduced at ASU, but the program’s roots reach back even farther to the late nineteenth century. more

Jun 1, 2014 12:00 AM Features

zipline

Courtesy of Navitat Canopy Adventures

The Southern Appalachian region is one of the tops for outdoor adventure, its recreational opportunities drawing everyone from hikers on the Appalachian Trail to Olympic hopefuls who train on the whitewater rivers. more

Jun 1, 2014 12:00 AM Features