Awesome Adventures in Asheville


By Lynn & Cele Seldon

There’s now a one-stop shop for adventurers heading to Asheville, N.C. Conveniently located on the French Broad River, Asheville’s new Smoky Mountain Adventure Center (SMAC) is the place to head when it comes to a wide range of mild to wild activities.

Part of the hip River Arts District near the Wilma Dykeman Greenway (the area’s longest adjoining bike and pedestrian trail) and found between French Broad River Park and Carrier Park, SMAC is a two-story, 6,000 square-foot outdoor adventure and fitness complex. A 42-foot outdoor climbing wall and several indoor walls up to 34 feet, bouldering (un-roped climbing below a certain height) and a yoga room and workout area, await visitors. When spring has sprung, SMAC will also provide tube, raft, kayak, bike and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals on the property and at remote locations. For a relaxing day by the river, SMAC is also a one-stop destination for anglers.

Founder and owner Stuart Cowles, who also developed downtown’s popular climbing gym, Climbmax Climbing Center, said the new multi-use recreation facility has a wide range of offerings for all levels of participants. Along with other vendors such as Earthsports Design (a local backpack manufacturer), Kolo Bike Park (bike rentals) and Asheville Adventure Rentals (tube, SUP and boat rentals), SMAC serves as a second home to Climbmax Climbing. As with the first location, climbing instruction with trained staff and nationally certified climbing guides has proven to be very popular at this second climbing hotspot.

Pre- and post-activity thirst quenching options at The Hangout include smoothies, fresh-brewed locally roasted coffees and several local beers on tap, as well as hard cider, wine and root beer. Using the Wilma Dykeman Greenway, it’s easy to reach other cafes and eateries including tasty White Duck Taco, All Souls Pizza, Smoky Park Supper Club and more.

In developing SMAC, Cowles worked hard to maintain existing trees on the property, preserve slopes and reduce storm-water run off. Located in a flood-fringe area, this uniquely designed building is even flood-proof with specially designed gates that can withstand rushing waters. Cowles also proudly notes that all of the wood used for the upstairs bar, tables and balcony were reclaimed from the property.

More information is smack-dab online at

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