During autumn’s peak, Western North Carolina bursts into a colorful meld of vibrant hues, including marigold, amber, kelly, and crimson. Self-proclaimed “leaf peepers” cannot resist the urge to frolic into the Nantahala National Forest in search of sheer tranquility. Amateur photographers, outdoor enthusiasts, and seasoned “autumnophiles” alike embark on Smoky Mountain getaways as summer subtly fades from summer to fall. Jaw-dropping waterfalls, steep singletrack, and rushing rapids lie hidden deep within North Carolina’s Smokies, home to Forge Lake Lodge, a dazzling, 10,000-square-foot palace along the edge of Nantahala Lake.
Adventurous Smoky Mountain Getaways
Nantahala Lake rests in the heart of the Appalachians, along the southern rim of the Smoky Mountains. Much like New England, Upstate New York, and parts of the Pacific Northwest, most autumnal Smoky Mountain getaways revolve around those vivid, flamboyant leaves that transform from deep green to a colorful palette that would make Bob Ross blush. There are dozens of ways to commemorate a mid-fall expedition through Western North Carolina’s sprawling, densely-thicketed mountains.
Remember to arrive with a leaf peeper’s toolbelt, including a pair of binoculars, a professional camera, a trusty GPS, years of outdoor intuition, and a healthy thirst for adventure. Below, we’ve compiled a fall bucket list, of sorts, that should provide ample inspiration during your upcoming stay.
- Board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad and explore the Gorge.
- Hike to a nearby summit, such as the Wesser Bald Fire Tower, Siler Bald, or Pickens Nose.
- Visit the five prettiest Nantahala Forest waterfalls.
- Splash down the Nantahala River on a whitewater rafting expedition.
- Stargaze in Forge Lake Lodge’s outdoor hot tub.
- Embark on a self-guided craft brewery tour, within stops at Hoppy Trout, Nocturnal Brewing, and Snowbird Mountains.
- Hop aboard a majestic horse and survey the landscape near Horseshoe Creek.
- Canoe (or kayak) on Nantahala Lake.
- Feed your wild side with a zipline canopy tour.
- Join the world’s largest treasure hunt.
- Pedal through the rolling hills south of Fontana Lake.
- Go birding (also known as “birdwatching”) near the lodge.
- Try forest bathing, an ancient Japanese exploit that’s gaining steam in the U.S.
- Hook a plump rainbow trout with help from the Smoky Mountains Fly Fishing School or the Tuckaseegee Fly Shop.
- Play 18 holes at The Golf Club at Mill Creek or Mountain Harbour Golf.
Luxury Cabin Rentals in North Carolina: Forge Lake Lodge
It’s clear to us that the Nantahala National Forest fosters the wildest Smoky Mountain getaways. However, make sure to leave ample time for relaxation and sophistication at Forge Lake Lodge, one of the state’s most prized luxury vacation rentals. Old-world charm meets modern glamour, high above the still shores of Nantahala Lake. Unlike most luxury homes in North Carolina, Forge Lake Lodge is deeply connected to nature. That being said, this marvelous estate is every bit as spellbinding as a downtown penthouse. Complimentary luxuries include four lake-view terraces, a chef’s kitchen, four fireplaces, a private dock, two bars, and an exercise room. The lodge is often utilized for family gatherings, corporate retreats, bachelorette (and bachelor) parties, and honeymoons. Contact our vacation rental pros today at 651-389-3843 to earn a quote (or check availability online).
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