One Tank Trip: Pisgah National Forest

Asheville, NC (WVLT) - With the weekend almost here, and temperatures sky high, we're giving you some easy travel ideas to beat the heat.

It's located about two and a half hours from here, right in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Best of all, you can get there and back, all on just a tank full of gas.

Deep in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains on 156,000 acres is a forest so dense the sun barely peeks through the trees.

Volunteers can help you map your way around.

"I call it the Pisgah Mall, a lot of things are here close together," park ranger Art Rowe said.

And they're all located just off the main road. Our first stop is a fish hatchery that kids seem to love.

"We had about 65,000 people come through here last year just to see the fish themselves," fish hatchery director J.P. McCann said.

Over 400,000 Brook, Brown and Rainbow trout are raised then released to nearby streams and rivers.

Needless to say fishing is popular and productive in this forest, but there's much more. One of the most popular places here in the forest is Looking Glass Falls. People come for miles around to picnic or admire this 60 foot wall of cascading water, but if you really want to get wet, this is the place to do it. Simply called Sliding Rock.

The forest service turned this natural water slide into a mini park.

Railings were installed for safety, but advice to parents: Hold on to your kids, the rocks are very slippery. And yes, it's cold!

Admission is three dollars a carload. There's even a locker room and shower.

The Pisgah National Forest was once part of the Biltmore Estate owned by the Vanderbilts. An interactive museum tells how this area became the country's
first School of Forestry with exhibits on plants and wildlife. Admission to the museum is 4 dollars for adults, 2 for students. The Pisgah National Forest has something
for everyone, from scenic beauty, to recreation, you can see it all, on just a tank full of gas.

To get to the Pisgah National Forest, take I-40 East to the Waynesville, North Carolina exit, pick up highway 276 and follow the signs. It's about a 275 mile round trip.

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