The Adventure Camper — 3-day Itinerary

For the Adventure Camper: The true wild one, who would travel back in time to re-live camp exactly as it was in their youth.

In your Element

We know that the adventure camper is willing to try everything from ziplining to tent camping and cold plunging, whether they attended summer camper as a child or not, you have a heart for adventure. Start your weekend of exploration by checking into Cold Spring Basecamp, choosing either to bring your pop-up tent or 3rd wheel, or to sleep in one of their 3-sided cabins that offer cots. Located in Zirconia, NC, this basecamp is the perfect jumping-off point for a busy, action-packed weekend.

Day 1: Into the Wild

When you arrive to town, head to Cold Spring Basecamp and get yourself set up at camp. On the way there, you’ll want to swing by the grocery store to grab all the fixins to cook out over the campfire. Cold Spring Basecamp has firewood available on-site, so no need to bring that, and if you stay in one of the 3-sided cabins, you will have a camp stove and some kitchen items available to you as well. Here’s your shopping list: hot dogs, buns, marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers (to make s’mores), coffee, a lighter, fire starters, bug spray too, snacks, and beer. Many of the area’s local breweries offer crowlers, which are perfect for camping.

 After you set up camp, it’s time to explore the 38 acres that used to be a children’s summer camp and relax. Take a dip in one of the cold plunge tubs, and hit the trails, either their purpose-built mountain biking trails or hiking trail to a waterfall, and work up your appetite for dinner around the campfire.

people crossing the street in front of a big coc-a-cola mural painted on a brick building

Day 2: Thrills and Chills

Gear up for a busy day with a hearty breakfast at HenDough, where chicken and donuts collide in the most delicious way possible. Fuel up because today is packed with adrenaline-pumping activities!

Next, head down the road to Ride Kanuga, a downhill mountain bike park, designed by a world-champion professional downhill racer to be like a ski slope, with one route up, and 8 routes downhill, all ranging in difficulty levels. Bring your own bike or rent one from Ride Kanuga.

After shredding the gnar at Ride Kanuga, you are going to be pretty hungry, so before you move on to your next adventure, stop by the Campfire Grill in downtown Flat Rock. With a camp theme, you’ll feel a sense of nostalgia while you fill your belly with yummy treats, like blackened boiled peanuts or their “Counselor Burger.”

Your next stop is at The Gorge Zipline, an iconic treetop zipline, where you plunge from the top of the Green River Gorge into the wilderness of the protected Green River Gamelands, an old-growth forest, and descend 1,100 feet from top-to-bottom. You will be led by 2 knowledgeable guides through 11 ziplines and 3 free fall rappels – and yes, the guides will be happy to take your photo to help you remember the exciting day!

The Gorge Zipline takes about 3.5 hours to complete, which means that you’ll be ready for your next meal when you’re done. Head back towards town, and stop for a flavorful meal at Boonchoo Thai Express – in Thai, Boonchoo means good karma, and after your fun day, your karma will be overflowing!  

Walk off dinner at the nearby Park at Flat Rock, which offers 1.5 miles of walking paths at what used to be a golf course, but now is home to beautiful gardens, a great playground for kids, and ponds that are great for taking some time to self-reflect.

After a long day, head back to camp and turn in for the night.

Day 3: Nature's Playground

Rise and shine with a sunrise breakfast at camp, soaking in the tranquility of the morning, and maybe even take a second cold plunge, if you’re up for it. Today you’ll need to break down camp before you get moving, but your day isn’t over yet! Be sure to don your swimsuit, and pack a change of clothes.

Today, you’re headed for a hike and a swim, so you will want to plan ahead for the day by stopping to get some sandwiches to have for a picnic lunch from the Flat Rock Village Bakery. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll find some amazing baked goods here too!

Next, head to DuPont State Forest, known for its waterfalls, being used to film quite a few films, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans, and its nationally-renowned Ridgeline mountain biking trail, which if you brought your bike, you need to check out (you’ll want to park at the Lake Imaging Access Area).

If you didn’t bring your bike, a hike is in order for today. You’ll want to park at the Hooker Falls parking area, which tends to fill quickly on weekends, so it’s best to arrive early.

From here, you have a few options: if you already rode the Ridgeline Trail and just want a shorter hike, head to the right side of the parking lot and down the Hooker Falls Trail, a short hike down to a beautiful waterfall that flows into a swimming hole. This is a great spot for a picnic and to take a dip.

If you didn’t bring your bike and are just planning to hike today, you’re in for a longer hike to a more remote swimming hole, and will pass 2 breathtaking waterfalls along the way. Head to the left side of the Hooker Falls parking area and make your way up the Triple Falls Trail. When you come to the High Falls Loop trail, stay left. Take this trail up to the Covered Bridge Trail and cross the covered bridge. Shortly after you cross the bridge, turn right onto Conservation Road. After about a mile, you’ll cross another bridge, the Lake Julia Spillway, and then shortly after crossing, veer left up an unmarked path, and this takes you to Lake Julia, the largest lake at DuPont, where you can stop to eat your lunch and take a dip. All told, you’ll be hiking around 4.5 miles.

After hiking back to the car, make your way to downtown Hendersonville for some pedal-powered fun with HVL Pedal & Brews, Hendersonville’s own pubcycle, which starts and ends at the Blue Ridge Beer Garden, and is BYO. They have a few options for length and whether you want to stop at any of the downtown breweries or not.

Before heading home, treat yourself to a mouthwatering steak dinner at Binion’s Roadhouse – the fried mushroom appetizer is great too! And after diner, satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream from Piggy’s Ice Cream, which is walking distance from Binion’s. Both spots are local favorites.

Y'all Come Back now, y'hear?

And there you have it, a jam-packed 3-day itinerary filled with outdoor escapades, culinary delights, and small-town charm. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Hendersonville adventure today!

4 people sitting on a rock on top of a mountain at sunset
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