Great mountain adventures

We asked Joe Miller to pick his favorite mountain destinations. He is the author of “Adventure Carolinas: Your Go-To Guide for Multi-Sport Outdoor Recreation,” to be published in May (UNC Press; $45 hardcover, $20 paperback).

All-around best

Whitewater activities at Nantahala Outdoor Center. “NOC ( is remarkable – really a one-of-a-kind – with pretty amazing opportunities. There are whitewater kayaking classes that range from one-weekend to an intensive five-day course.”

Mountain biking in Pisgah National Forest. “It’s hard to pinpoint a particular area: There are so many good places in this forest ( that have a national reputation among hardcore bikers. There are hundreds of miles of mountain-bike trails. People come and spend a week here.”

Backpacking in Shining Rock Wilderness. “Backpacking is a huge draw here for church groups and Scouts doing wilderness programs. You can spend a week here. There are so many places you can go in Shining Rock (, and there’s breathtaking scenery.”

Best for families

Davidson River Campground. “It’s near Brevard, and a river runs through it ( There’s good tubing on the river – that’s popular – and lots of great day hikes. You can rent mountain bikes: there are good trails there. You’re also fairly close to some good whitewater opportunities. All in all, it’s a great base cam for a lot of family fun.”

Nantahala Outdoor Center. “There are many family programs – not just paddling, though it’s the big thing. NOC also has mountain biking, tours, rentals and great hiking. There are family programs, including those for whitewater rafting. There are a couple of Class III rapids in that part of the Nantahala River.”

Ziplines. “There are so many of them out there, and it’s a huge family thing. One I’ve heard a lot about, Navitat (, in Asheville, is opening a new line in May.” John Bordsen