The Traveling Bear Cottage is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable mountain retreat in North Carolina. This 1400-square-foot home features a main-floor master bedroom, a guest room, a screened-in deck, and a separate laundry room. Whether you’re unwinding in the hot tub beneath the starlit sky or relishing the warmth of the stone fireplace inside or on the screened-in porch, this cottage offers the perfect setting.
What sets this retreat apart is its proximity to Sapphire Valley’s exceptional amenities, including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, access to Fairfield Lake, a ski slope, tennis courts, a 9-hole public golf course, workout facilities, a game room, and a playground, all within easy walking distance. An Amenity Card is available for just $2 per day per person, with children 14 and under enjoying complimentary access and additional discounts for activities like skiing and golf.
Western North Carolina boasts numerous trout streams, and the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail showcases some of the best spots to cast your line. From Scott Creek, stretching for about 10 miles and offering hatchery-supported fishing for brown and rainbow trout, to the Small Streams like Moses Creek and Mull Creek, which provide opportunities for wild trout fishing, particularly brook and rainbow trout, you’ll find diverse fishing experiences. For hatchery-supported fishing near Western Carolina University, explore Cullowhee Creek. For wild brown trout fishing, Tanasee Creek in the Nantahala National Forest is a scenic option. Panthertown Creek, nestled in Panthertown Valley, is designated for catch-and-release, single-hook, artificial lure fishing for brook trout. Raven Fork, known as the Cherokee Trophy Water, offers catch-and-release fly fishing for various trout species, while the Whitewater River provides opportunities for wild trout fishing. Scotsman and Fowler Creeks into the Chattooga River are excellent for wild trout fishing, and accessible fishing piers can be found along the Tuckasegee River. Further downstream, the Tuckasegee River offers delayed harvest fishing. Greens Creek, flowing from the Macon County line to Savannah Creek, is another option for wild trout and hatchery-supported fishing. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting, these fishing spots cater to various skill levels amid stunning mountain settings.
For wildlife enthusiasts, Panthertown Valley Backcountry Area is a prime location for photography. With its diverse landscapes, including forests, bogs, waterfalls, and streams, you’ll have the chance to capture various animals and birds such as deer, bears, turkeys, hawks, owls, and amphibians. This peaceful setting allows animals to exhibit natural behaviors, enhancing your wildlife photography. The mix of woods and meadows provides diverse settings for your photos, making Panthertown Valley a top choice for photographers seeking to capture the beauty of the Appalachian wilderness.
Mountain biking has surged in popularity in North Carolina, offering diverse terrain and trails suitable for all skill levels. For intermediate riders, Brevard’s Auger Hole Trail winds through picturesque woodlands, while advanced riders can tackle the thrilling Blackrock #447 trail in Cashiers. In Panthertown Valley, intermediate riders can explore the Deep Gap #449 and Devil’s Elbow #448 trails, while the 2.7-mile Flat Laurel Creek Trail in Brevard offers a scenic ride. Granny Burrell Falls #486 in Cashiers provides a shorter option, while experts can take on the challenging 12.0-mile Horse Pasture / Bootleg trail in Sunset. Cashiers’ Panthertown Valley boasts an extensive network of intermediate trails, spanning 19.0 miles in total. Additionally, the 0.9-mile Riding Ford #450 trail within Panthertown Valley offers intermediate-level riding. For a more extended adventure, the 23.0-mile Snaggy Creek Trail in Cullowhee is a rewarding choice. Finally, the WCU Trails in Cullowhee provide 7.0 miles of intermediate-level routes that are highly regarded by mountain biking enthusiasts in the area. Remember to stay updated on trail conditions and use proper safety precautions.
Western North Carolina offers a plethora of hiking trails to explore. Panther Ridge Trail, spanning about 4 miles, provides a moderately challenging hike through scenic forests, while the 2.5-mile Raven Rock Loop Trail takes you through serene woodlands. Families can enjoy the easy 3-mile Sapphire Valley Ski Resort Loop, circling the picturesque resort, while Frozen Falls Trail offers a quick and easy 1-mile hike leading to a lovely waterfall. Glen Falls Trail, around 2 miles, leads to cascading waterfalls and provides scenic viewpoints. Don’t miss the moderate 1.9-mile Whitewater Falls Trail, which takes you to one of the tallest waterfalls in the eastern U.S. For panoramic views, tackle the 1.5-mile Bearwallow Mountain Trail, leading to the summit with an open meadow. These diverse hiking options cater to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.
Ski Sapphire Valley
For skiing enthusiasts, Sapphire Valley offers an enjoyable day trip with two slopes suitable for various skill levels, along with modern snowmaking technology. Ski equipment is available for rent on-site, and instruction options are offered for beginners and those looking to improve their skills. The slopes provide stunning mountain views, and a comfortable lodge is available for warming up and dining. Sapphire Valley often features a tubing hill for added winter fun, making it a family-friendly destination with a strong focus on safety.
Rock Climbing & Bouldering
Western North Carolina offers numerous rock climbing and bouldering options suitable for climbers of all skill levels. Laurel Knob, near Cashiers, managed by the Carolina Climbers Coalition, provides a remote setting with advanced climbing challenges. Cedar Rock in Pisgah National Forest offers various climbing routes for different skill levels, while Whiteside Mountain, near Cashiers, boasts some of the Eastern US’s most demanding rock walls. Looking Glass Rock, located in the Pisgah National Forest’s Davidson River area, is a prominent climbing crag suitable for climbers of all abilities. Each of these locations provides a unique backdrop of beautiful forests and mountains, offering outdoor adventures you won’t forget.
Kayaking & Rafting
Western North Carolina offers thrilling river adventures for kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts. The French Broad River in Transylvania County provides accessible paddling opportunities, while the renowned Green River caters to expert paddlers. Other exciting stretches are found on the Whitewater, Horsepasture, Tuckasagee, Nantahala, Thompson, Mills River, Cullasaja, Davidson, and Pigeon Rivers, all within driving distance. In warmer months, enjoy the refreshing experiences of rafting and tubing on the French Broad, Davidson, and Mills rivers. Rent tubes from local outfitters and set out on the water with your family for a fun outing. Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, is also gaining popularity, with opportunities on the French Broad River and smaller lakes in Transylvania County. If you’re up for a drive, Lake Jocassee in the upstate of South Carolina offers a stunning destination for SUP enthusiasts.
Believe it or not, snorkeling is also an option in Western North Carolina. Explore the underwater ecosystems of the region’s streams and waterways. The Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail, coming soon, will feature hand-picked snorkel sites in the mountain rivers of North Carolina. Each site will include an educational sign with safety information and species descriptions. Whether you’re an experienced snorkeler or a novice, you can enjoy this unique adventure in the cool mountain waters.
For hunting enthusiasts, the Nantahala National Forest offers opportunities outside of developed recreation areas. The U.S. Forest Service manages the habitat, while the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission regulates hunting and fishing. Many game animals, including white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and gray squirrel, thrive in these forests. Specific locations and seasons may apply, so contact the appropriate Ranger districts for more information and regulations. (Cheoah Ranger District, Nantahala Ranger District, Tusquitee Ranger District).
24 Hour Check-In, Air Conditioning, Coffee Maker, Fire Pit, First Aid Kit, Full Kitchen, Heat, Hot Tub, Linens, Smoke Alarm, Swimming Pool, Towels, TV, Washer\Dryer, Wifi