Area Activities


Several trails start within walking distance of Banana Patch and the trail head for several others are a short distance away.  Click here for a description of nine nearby trails.

Mountain Biking

The popular Big Ivy Bike Tour which begins across the creek from Banana Patch, is a challenging 16.2 moderately rough trail that climbs steeply with an overall elevation gain of 2,500 ft.

Rock Climbing

Snake Den Rock is located five miles from the hostel. At a 180 ft, it’s not the tallest crag you will find in North Carolina but it is the closest one to Asheville and it has zero approach time since it is right next to the national forest road (FR 74).

Zip line Adventures

Nestled in a secluded mountain cove, eight miles from Banana Patch is Navitat Zip Line Adventure. The Navitat adventure takes guests on a 2.5 hour tour soaring up to 200 feet above ground through a diverse, oak-dominant forest canopy teeming with life.

Panorama Mountain Views

If panoramic mountain top vistas are your preference you will definitely want to visit Craggy Pinnacle. At 5,840 ft. it is just slightly lower than nearby Mt. Mitchell, the highest point in the Eastern USA. Unlike Mt. Mitchell it is not developed and preserves all of it’s natural beauty. The pinnacle, with incredible 360 degree vistas is a brief 30 minute hike from the parking area and only 12 miles from Mountain Light . See the 360 degree vista.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Craggy Pinnacle is only one of the many awesome natural wonders you will encounter along the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs from Cherokee, NC all the way to the NC/VA border where it connects with the Shenandoah Parkway.


Walker Falls – Less than a half mile beyond Snake Den rock you will come to Walker Falls. This 45 ft. cascading waterfalls cascades off the mountain immediately adjacent to the forest road and makes a great backdrop for photos.

Douglas Falls – At the end of the road – approximately 8 miles from the hostel, you can take an easy 30 mike walk to Douglas Falls, a 70 ft. waterfalls that spills over the mountain ledge on to the rocks below.  It’s a great way to cool off on a warm summer days.

Historical Sights

If you are a history buff, you may enjoy visiting two nearby sites that will give you a glimpse of life in the mountains  in the 1700 & 1800 hundreds with the early settlers or even earlier with the native people of the area.

The Big Ivy Historical Park – Located only four miles from Banana Patch the Big Ivy Historical Park sits on the site of a 1930s CCC camp and contains the pre-Civil War cabin of Henry Stevens Carson, grandson of the founding family, Absolum and Rebecca Dillingham, of what is now known as the Big Ivy Community. In addition to several historical buildings, it is next to the community center which still serves the adjacent valleys & coves.

Vance Birthplace – Located 12 miles from the hostel, in Reems Creek valley, this pioneer farmstead features the birthplace of Zebulon Baird Vance, the first governor of North Carolina. The five-room log house, reconstructed around original chimneys, and its outbuildings – are furnished to evoke the period from 1795- 1840. Find out more at the NC Hisorical Sites website.

Cherokee  – Cherokee, NC., home of the Eastern band of the Cherokee people is just an hour and a half from the Sanctuary. It is a major tourist destination and offers many interesting sites of historical interest and natural beauty including a living museum village and an outdoor drama featuring the history of the Cherokee people. Check out this video about the Cherokee of North Carolina.

‘Unto these Hills’ Outdoor Drama – This excellent outdoor drama which tracks the history of the Cherokee people  from the earliest times until the present.

Oconaluftee Vilage – Step back be into the early 1800’s with a visit to the replica of a Cherokee village which operates as a living museum featuring crafts people making pottery, baskets, blow guns, dugout canoes and a variety of other items common for daily use at that time.  See a video about the crafts produced by the village here.