This Is the Most Popular Forest in America Thanks to Its 60-foot Natural Waterslide

North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest was just named the most popular forest in the U.S. — here's why.

Looking Glass Falls, locatedin the Pisgah National Forest, in North Carolina
Photo: Getty Images

At a time when we're inundated with constant information and technology seems inescapable, there is something sacred about heading into the forest to unplug. Admittedly, there are fewer and fewer places where it's possible to step off the grid. Luckily, Pisgah National Forest remains a perfect destination for peace, quiet, and abundant nature.

The national landmark in Asheville, North Carolina, is so beloved that it was recently named "America's Most Popular National Forest" by Musement. And although it's the most Instagrammed forest in the country, Pisgah is large enough that its popularity won't get in the way of your commune with nature.

Pisgah National Forest in the fall seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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The national forest stretches more than 500,000 acres, with no shortage of activities and sights to explore. Visitors to Pisgah can hike one of the many trails leading to mountain peaks more than a mile high, or trek around the forest's many waterfalls.

The waterfalls are what make Pisgah a particularly beloved destination during the dog days of summer. Be sure to swim in one of the natural pools beneath Pisgah's cascades. The forest's natural water features are known for remaining extremely cool even when temperatures soar.

Hiking trail through Pisgah National Forest
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Another visitor-favorite feature is "Sliding Rock," a 60-foot natural waterslide that locals refer to as "the original Slip 'n' Slide." Although entrance to the forest is free, there is a $1-per-person charge to slip down Sliding Rock between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Because it is an extremely popular attraction, try to visit before 10 a.m. or in the middle of the week to avoid the crowds.

The forest was founded in 1916 (it was purchased from the Vanderbilt family) and has since become famous as the home of the first school of forestry in the U.S., which you can honor at the Cradle of Forestry in America historic site.

Misty path in Pisgah National Forest
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And when you're ready to head back to civilization, the forest is located only a 10-minute drive from downtown Asheville.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at

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