Outside Magazine recently held their annual Best Towns Tournament, and after all the dust settled, Asheville checked in at #6. 1.5 million votes were cast and Duluth, Minnesota, was the clear winner.
About Asheville, Outside Magazine said this:
Few towns force you to make the kinds of decisions you’re faced with in Asheville (pop. 85,712). Do you hang out downtown amid the dizzying number of breweries? Or do you road-bike the Blue Ridge Parkway? Do you paddle the Class V juggernaut Green River or hike the Appalachian Trail?
*editor's note...or go ziplining at Navitat!
Professional kayaker and avid mountain biker Pat Keller grew up in the area and watched it become one of the South’s most vibrant hubs of culture and adventure. “It’s hard to touch Asheville if you’re into adventure sports,” Keller says. He suggests expert boaters looking to go big head to the Class V-plus Toxaway River, while mere mortals should look to Ledges Whitewater Park, a string of Class II rapids on the French Broad River 15 minutes north of downtown.
Mountain bikers have all of the Pisgah National Forest in Asheville’s backyard. Bent Creek, located ten miles from town, is some of the nearest singletrack, but Keller likes Staire Creek, located in Big Ivy, a largely forgotten tract of the Pisgah. “It’s rutted out with big rocks—you have to hop from one side of the trail to the other,” says Keller. Asheville treats foodies just as well.
The Small Plate Crawl shows off the city’s finest dishes, like ginger-spiced potato cake over garbanzo bean stew at James Beard Award nominee Chai Pani. But the city is best known as a beer hub. Keller’s favorite: Wicked Weed Brewing, which is turning heads with its sour beers.