Agents Answer: What are the Best Ways to Stay Active in WNC during the Winter?

Walking and wheeling around Lake Junaluska | Photo by Wes Hight

Seasonal claustrophobia is coming early this year! 

Now that winter has officially begun, many people are worried about being stuck inside all season. All the board games have been played, the jigsaw puzzles have been made, and it’s seriously time for a digital detox. Luckily, there is always plenty to do outside in WNC to get moving and keep your mind off the cold. 

If you need some fresh ideas about how to stay active this winter, our agents are here to help. We asked them: What are your favorite ways to stay active in WNC all winter?


Taking a jog or a brisk walk around Lake Junaluska in Haywood County is a great way to stay active, even during the winter months. Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center offers a wonderful and serene 3.8-mile walking trail that circles the lake. If you are pressed for time, you can shorten the loop to 2.3 miles by crossing the Turbeville Footbridge and the bridge above the dam. Get your daily dose of exercise while taking in some outstanding lake and mountain views. 

Wes Hight

My first love will always be the fine arts. My undergraduate major was visual art education, and I was privileged to teach visual art at the one and only high school in Yancey County, Mountain Heritage. I worked with some of the best students in the world for a number of great years. Together, we painted, drew, threw pots, made prints, sculpted, took and developed countless photographs, and engaged in a plethora of other creative endeavors. The cool down of winter in our area means inspiring snow-covered landscapes and a slower pace of life. The combination lends itself to getting back to my creative roots and just being the art lover and creator that I was designed to be. I retreat to my art studio, aka my daughter’s old bedroom, converted. Picasso once said, and I quote, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Winter, take me back to my artist self!

Donna Banks

There are many reasons why I feel fortunate to live in WNC. One of my favorite things to do during the winter season is mountain bike one of our amazing trail systems. Whether you choose Weed Patch Mountain, DuPont State Forest, or one of the many areas in Pisgah National Forest, you will enjoy huge expanded views, perfect temperatures, and less crowded trails. Get out there!

J.J. Murphy

My wife, our German Shepherd, Baxter, and I enjoy the beauty of Lake Junaluska. It’s great to walk around the lake and experience the swans and Canadian geese, the holiday decorations, and the friendly feelings shared with others.

Gary L. Neubauer

My partner is a professional whitewater kayak instructor, and we live on the Green River in Saluda. He started teaching me to kayak this past summer, and we’ll continue throughout the winter. With the proper gear, it’s a year-round activity. If you’re ever in the area, come do a lap with us!

—Misty Proctor

In the City of Four Seasons, witnessing amazing sunsets with mountain views can be experienced year round! A short drive from Downtown Hendersonville, my dog, Bailey, and I love to spend the early evening in the crisp mountain air, viewing the sunset from Jump Off Rock

Lindsay Laughnan

Walking my dog, a precious labradoodle named Brody, is my outdoor activity in all but the foulest weather. Here’s a picture (below) from a snowy day last year.

Cathy Carter

I love when the first snow falls in winter. It’s so fun to jump in the car and explore

Katie Ledford


Brody the dog in the snow | Photo by Cathy Carter

What’s your favorite winter activity in WNC? Share it with us in the comments!

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