Last Updated on September 14, 2023
Take a break. Take a weekend. Let the sight, sounds, and feel of North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest soothe your body and clear your mind.
And book your stay at Pilot Cove cabins. That’s what my husband and I did. What we found was a delightful combination of outdoor and indoor activities and a comfortable retreat. Our charming two-bedroom cabin treated us to an up-close view of Western North Carolina’s lush Pisgah National Forest from our deck and a base from which to appreciate nature’s handiwork.
This paradise lies along U.S. Route 64, northeast of the quaint town of Brevard. It took us just over an hour to drive from our home in Greenville, SC. If you fly into Asheville Regional Airport, Pilot Cove is approximately 30 minutes by car.
About Pilot Cove
Fueled by the belief that dreams can come true if you work hard and think smart, six friends set out to create Western North Carolina’s ultimate destination and mountain getaway.
In June 2017, the friends unveiled the magnificent fruits of their efforts when they opened Pilot Cove in Transylvania County, adjacent to the enchanting Pisgah National Forest, and in close proximity to the charming town of Brevard.
Pilot Cove offers luxury accommodations, unlimited outdoor activities, and a generous helping of mountain hospitality. The cabins are comfortable with modern design and custom finishes, yet easily blend in with the surrounding lush forest and stunning mountain landscape.
Pilot Cove Cabin
As of this writing, Pilot Cove offers 20 cabins available for short-term rental. Choose from studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom options, all of which are packed with the kinds of amenities that make the difference between ho-hum and happy place.
Each cabin has a fully equipped kitchen, a washer and dryer, a 48-inch flatscreen TV with cable and 200+ channels, free 5G Wi-Fi, parking at each unit, and a covered deck. Bicycles get their own amenities with a bike wash station and secure bike storage.
Some of the cabins have stairs, so if you have mobility challenges, be sure to mention your need for a walk-in accommodation when making your reservation. Pilot Cove has a two-night minimum stay requirement, which sometimes can be waived to accommodate one-night stays. It does no harm to ask.
A limited number of cabins are dog – but not cat-friendly – and are available with pre- approval, so it’s essential to mention your furry friend when booking your reservation. Unless you have a professionally trained service dog, a $100 charge per cabin will be assessed.
Staying at Pilot Cove
Our accommodations exceeded all our expectations, which were already high. It was homey, but we had plenty of room to move around. The entire space was bright and airy, taking full advantage of the eye-popping forest view. Nature-inspired art decorated the rooms and can lighting illuminated the cabin in the evening.
Upon entering our cabin, we noticed its logical arrangement. The living area was off to the right, and the practical stuff to the left.
This practical end sported a utility locker, stacked washer/dryer, a sink, shower and toilet behind. Each had its own door for privacy. A mud room with a bench completed this part of the cabin.
We were in one of Pilot Cove’s two-bedroom cabins, which we planned to share. But life got in the way, and our friends weren’t able to join us.
Both bedrooms featured simple furnishings. The master came with a king size bed that was luxuriously comfortable, two nightstand tables, and a closet. The second bedroom was about the same size but with twin beds separated by a night table. With fresh air flowing in through the window, sleep came easily and was very sound.
The Common Area
The main area was bright with an open plan eat-in kitchen and living room. Most of one wall was taken up by windows and doors leading out to a deck that cantilevered over a steep slope. The forest view from this area was spectacular.
The kitchen was well equipped with an electric range, a microwave, refrigerator, and to my delight, a dishwasher. Not knowing what to expect, I had prepared a couple of meals in advance and brought them with us to reheat. Once there however, I realized how easy it would have been to make everything with the kitchen equipment available. At least I can tell you the microwave worked, even if I didn’t!
A lovely long handcrafted raw-edge plank table and six chairs sat in the center of the kitchen. Stools placed in a corner could accommodate a larger group. The table legs were equipped with casters, making it simple to even roll out on to the deck.
Pilot Cove Property
A stay at Pilot Cove includes a cozy cabin in which to sleep, eat, and relax, as well as 64 acres on which to play. Visitors can hike approximately two miles of on-property trails, enjoy a picnic area with communal grills, and – if the timing is right – take in live music or a special event at the amphitheater with its covered stage.
Along with family vacations and romantic getaways, Pilot Cove is a phenomenal venue for retreats, family reunions and weddings. The property shares a border stretching over one mile with Pisgah National Forest, so there’s plenty of room both onsite and off to engage in favorite activities, or simply take in the natural beauty that is everywhere.
Despite all the Pilot Cove partners have accomplished to date, there is still more to come. They recently obtained special use-permit approval to develop a 10-acre campground on the property’s primitive sites. These Appalachian Trail styled private shelters, furnished glamping sites, and RV/camper sites will provide even more options for Pilot Cove visitors. Access to electricity, Wi-Fi, and secure storage will be available on all sites.
What to do?
The vast expanse known as Pisgah National Forest beckons visitors of all ages and abilities with more than 500,000 acres of dazzling natural mountain forestland. Choose from hundreds of miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, trails suitable for road biking and opportunities for tubing and other fun water activities.
The forest is home to some of the best trout fishing waters in the Southeastern U.S., making it a haven for serious fly fishers and those new to the sport. Not into fishing? Take a dip and cool off in one of the area’s many lakes.
If you’d rather look at water than be in or on it, chasing waterfalls is a popular pastime with so many options to choose from. While some lie at the end of a challenging hike, you can soak up the breathtaking sights and roaring sound of several forest falls with little or no effort.
One of the most iconic and easily accessible waterfalls is Looking Glass Falls. Admire the spectacle of a 60-foot cascade from an observation deck, or descend the short flight of stairs to the base of the falls, where you can feel the mist on your skin.
While in the area, pull into the parking area for Slick Rock Falls and walk a short distance where you’ll be greeted by the tranquil sight and sound of water cascading over a smooth rock face into a shallow pool. Dip your feet into the cool water, close your eyes, and let the soothing sounds and fresh air relax you to the bone.
Although not a traditional waterfall, Sliding Rock offers a unique and thrilling experience that’s to beat the heat on a summer day. Take an exhilarating slide down a 60-foot smooth rock face into a pool. Then splash about in the cool refreshing water to your heart’s content.
You don’t have to go far for food, fun and entertainment. Down the hill from Pilot Cove is Hub and Pisgah Tavern, a bike shop offering rentals and a selection of outdoor gear, as well as a tavern where you can grab a cold brew. Choose from eight rotating beers on tap, and a wide selection of cans. An onsite food truck will help keep the hunger pangs away while you sip. You’ll also find more than 10 restaurants within walking distance of Pilot Cove.
Take a short drive to the charming town of Brevard to visit art galleries, explore interesting museums, and browse quaint shops. You’ll soon see why the town is such a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
Take a drive or a bike ride along a stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most scenic roads in America. Or explore nearby DuPont State Forest with breathtaking waterfalls to chase, trails to hike, and fresh mountain air to savor.
Take a 45 minute drive from Pilot Cove and spend the day in Asheville, where you can drink in the laidback vibe of this artsy town. You’ll find plenty to do, eat, drink, and admire among Asheville’s art galleries, shops, innovative restaurants and wide selection of local breweries. Exploring the streets of this popular mountain town will make the hours fly by.
Another fascinating day trip will transport you to a magical time and place at the famous 8,000-acre Biltmore House, located near Asheville. Take in the magnificent home, breathtakingly beautiful gardens, onsite winery, and more. Biltmore is spectacular any time of year, but truly shines during the holiday season.
Whether your idea of a vacation is a flurry of activity, or an opportunity to unplug and move at a slower pace, the Pisgah National Forest and surrounding areas offer abundant possibilities.
For us, it’s not a matter of if we will return. It’s a matter of when. We might gather some friends together and rent two or three cabins or we might go for a romantic weekend getaway.
Either way, Pilot Cove is beckoning us.