Balsam Mountain Preserve

81 Preserve Rd

Sylva NC 28779

Community Description

Balsam Mountain Preserve is a nature-centric western North Carolina gated community. Located 38 miles west of Asheville between Waynesville and Sylva, it’s a quintessential escape where residents can disconnect from life, spend time with family, and relax.

In Balsam Mountain Preserve, you will find some of the most elegant homes amongst some of the most beautiful natural surroundings. The views of the blue ridge mountains are spectacular and the amenities are top-notch.

About Balsam Mountain Preserve 

Balsam Mountain Preserve is a 4,400-acre community where over 75% of the land is a pristine nature conservancy that will never be developed. The community is situated between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Smoky Mountains. With a maximum of 354 homes to be built, Balsam Mountain Preserve is one of the lowest density private communities in the country. Homesites in the community are typically 2 acres tucked amongst the trust land. It’s not uncommon to find a property surrounded by trust land that feels much more like a 50-acre estate. 

As soon as you drive through the gated entrance you'll see what's so special about Balsam Mountain Preserve. The lush greenery and dense forests lining the roadways make it feel like driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Community Amenities

From getting active to relaxing and everything in between, there is plenty to do and plenty of ways to enjoy doing absolutely nothing. The most advertised amenity is the Arnold Palmer Signature golf course but our clients tell us what drew them to Balsam is the 42 miles of private hiking trails. Regardless, Balsam Mountain Preserve is flush with first-in-class amenities that one would expect to find in a top-notch luxury community. 

Golf Course

Balsam Mountain Preserve boasts an 18 hole Arnold Palmer Signature golf course. With elevations ranging from 3,000 -  4,700 feet, this course features stunning mountain views from every hole in every direction. It’s a true mountain golf course that can steal your ball but the fairways are pretty wide and forgiving.

In addition to the 18 hole course, Balsam Mountain has Palmer Practice Park. A driving range/par 3 combo is great for learning the game, polishing up your short game, getting a round in when you’re not in the mood for the full golf course, or knocking the ball around before dinner at the club.

Wellness Center

The community is also home to the Ruby Valley Wellness Center, a wellness center with a lot to offer. Here you can find an outdoor resort-style junior Olympic swimming pool, Har-Tru tennis courts, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. After your session with one of Balsam’s personal trainers, you can make your way over to the spa rooms for an after-workout massage.

Hiking Trails

Balsam Mountain Preserve has an amazing web of private hiking trails throughout the community. Created from old logging roads built in the early 1900's, these 42 miles of hiking trails are gently sloped, wide, and easy to navigate. Hike to the top of Doubletop mountain and take in the view by the remote cabin or down by ruby valley falls, you’re guaranteed to have a clear mind when you return.

Mountain Biking

The trail system at balsam mountain preserve provides a lot of great options for mountain biking.

Equestrian Center

The equestrian center is unique because Balsam Mountain Preserve is one of North Carolina’s only private mountain communities with 30 miles of private horseback riding trails. There’s a 14 stall stable that provides full use of club horses as well as the option to board your horses. The stable manager lives onsite and provides exceptional care for the horses and is available for guided rides and training. The trails, which meander through the 3,400-acre nature preserve, are nice and wide and great for riding.

Dark Ridge Camp Ground

The creek at Dark Ridge Camp is a magical place to spend a summer day. The campground is along dark ridge creek which is surrounded by beautiful rhododendrons where you can have a private place to sit or string up a hammock. You can also reserve the private campground and large pavilion for large events or group campouts. There are two bunkhouses, several tent pads, and hot water showers in the bathroom. If you’re feeling really adventurous, there’s a horse paddock so you can ride the two-and-a-half-hour ride from the stables and spend the night under the stars.

Trout Fishing

A short walk upstream from the Dark Ridge campground is an excellent spot for fly fishing for trout. The naturalists at the trust can give you fly fishing lessons or would love to just join you if you’re looking for company.


The clubhouse at Balsam is more of a campus with the summit house restaurant, the pro shop and general store, and the mine tavern sports pub. All are connected by a large stone courtyard with fire pits and outdoor fireplaces to congregate by and watch the sunset.

The Summit House Restaurant

The Summit House Restaurant has indoor and outdoor dining with long-range views of the blue ridge mountains through the full-length NanaWall. With a menu that changes often, residents can try all kinds of great cuisine. There’s a large private dining room adjoining the wine cooler that can be reserved for bigger families. Enjoy wine from your personal wine locker or their extensive wine list.

The Mine Tavern

The Mine Tavern is a relaxing sports bar to hang out and watch the game or grab a cocktail before dinner. If you have work to do, it’s also a great place to bring your laptop and knock out some work from the couch by the fire.

General Store

Grab a Cappuccino and go hang out by the firepit. Shop for basic staple items like milk, eggs, bread, etc., or a chef-prepared meal to go.

Balsam Mountain Trust

Over 75% of balsam mountain preserve property is in a permanent conservation easement which is 3,400 acres of pristine nature preserve that will never be touched.

Not only is it nice to feel like you're living in a national park, but the trust’s naturalists create a ton of social opportunities within the community and they help create a lot of good outside the community through education and research programs.

The Balsam Mountain Nature Center is an excellent place to take the kids when they visit. Balsam has 3 full-time naturalists that work at the nature center, which is set up as a cute educational exhibit for little kids and a super cool birds of prey raptor program for the bigger kids. "The birds of prey" program cares for injured raptors that are unable to live in the wild. Come in at feeding time and let the kids feed the bald eagle, hawks, and owls fresh local trout.

Balsam Mountian Trust is a huge social component the creates reasons to get together. Below are just a few.

Trust Talks

Held monthly through the spring to fall seasons the trust holds monthly trust talks where they will bring in a wildlife expert, artist, or another interesting person to lead a discussion on a particular topic while enjoying cocktails.

Annual Trust Party

The annual Balsam Mountain Trust party is the biggest blast of the year where everyone has a great time and the party goes too late into the night but they also auction various items or works of art to raise money for the trust operations.

Kids camp

During the spring and summer months at Balsam Mountain Preserve, the naturalists offer a kids camp, where you can offload the kids for a few hours where they'll have a great time riding horses, exploring the camp at dark ridge camp, and be away from technology.

Guided hikes and adventures

Saturday during the summer months the naturalists have guided hikes either within Balsam Mountain Preserve or in the millions of acres of National Park land in the western North Carolina mountains. Or, if you can be in town early spring for a night adventure, the naturalists take a group to the best spot to see the synchronous fire flys on the one night they mate.

Dog Olympics

Balsam Mountain Annual Dog Olympics at the beginning of fall is a fun way to end the summer season with the pups.

Social Clubs

Last but not least, socialize with other community members via social clubs. Balsam Mountain Preserve features several social clubs such as pot lucks, movie clubs, book clubs, biking groups, mahjong, guided hikes, art classes, the list goes on...

The People

The people at Balsam Mountain Preserve are one of the most enjoyable components of the community. While everyone is successful in their own right, there is no sense of pretension. Everyone is very friendly, laid back, and eager to welcome new members into the community. 

The Balsam community is made up of people from all over the country. However, there is a sizable group of second homeowners from the Atlanta area due to the easy 2 ½ hour drive. Other notable regions where members come from are Florida, Coastal South Carolina, and Texas, in part due to direct flights into Asheville Regional Airport. Many members are from the northeast. But, it seems the bulk of members attracted to this paradise come from areas with brutally hot summers.

Surrounding Areas

Most often when people are searching for a new luxury community, one of the first questions to come up is “where is the grocery store”, "what restaurants are nearby", “where is the closest hospital” etc. The good news? There’s plenty to see and do outside of the community.

Balsam Mountain Preserve’s primary town is Waynesville. Eight miles from the gate is a large shopping center with Ingle’s Grocery, Lowes, Best Buy, Walmart, and other smaller shops. Drive an additional four miles to Publix, another Ingle’s Grocery, Starbucks, and various chain restaurants. This also leads into the quaint downtown of Waynesville. Downtown, there are several restaurants, breweries, and shops. 

Sylva is closer to the community but doesn’t have the larger big box stores that you can find in Waynesville. With that said, Sylva does have a very charming downtown area. Downtown features a variety of restaurants, breweries, and shops as well as a broad selection of chain restaurants. 

Approximately 15 miles from the gate of Balsam Mountain Preserve is the Haywood Regional Medical Center, a Duke Lifepoint hospital.

Homes in Balsam Mountain Preserve

Balsam Mountain Preserve offers some of the most stunning homes for sale in Western North Carolina. New custom home construction is also available. Whether you’re looking for something that’s move-in ready or you have a vision you want to come to life, the opportunities are endless, but the options are getting limited as there will only be 354 homes.

Existing homes for sale

Homes for sale in Balsam Mountain Preserve are becoming hard to come by and often don’t even hit the market before selling. The architectural styles range from rustic mountain cabin to more contemporary mountain modern. You’re unlikely to find a home for sale in Balsam Mountain for under $1 million, $2-3 million can get you an awesome home. If money is no object you can spend up to $8m. Our brokers are in a unique position to know if anyone in the neighborhood is thinking about selling their property and can keep you in the know about homes not currently on the market.

Overlook at Doubletop

The Overlook at Doubletop is balsam's newest real estate offering that targets those who are looking for a vacation home in the center of everything so they can jump in, live it up for a few days and jump back out of town. Everything will be taken care of and there is the option to put your home in the long-term rental program.

Custom Homes

Building at Balsam mountain preserve can be a lengthy process. The “Habitat Review Board” has an extensive review process to make sure that each home fits best within its natural surroundings. You'll appreciate their "see but don't be seen" philosophy behind their methods when you drive through the community and realize that you hardly see any homes.

If you're looking to build your dream home or family compound in the mountains with plenty of space around you, homesites at balsam mountain preserve can provide the perfect area. Homesites are on average of over 2 acres, and up to 5 acres often among additional trust property. It's important to speak with a builder before buying the land to make sure the home you want will be possible on a particular homesite. Our brokers can easily navigate you through this process and connect you with a reputable and qualified builder.

Boarding House Fractionals

There are a few Fractional Ownership opportunities at balsam through the boarding house partnership program. Comprised of 10 rustic yet luxurious cabins perched along the ridge of Doubletop mountain. The boarding house fractionals offer membership to the club during your visit and are a great way to have a cabin in the woods for a few weeks out of the year.

Balsam Care

Ala Carte home management program. Super reasonably priced and always happy to help with anything you need. Check on your home once a week? Sure! Manage landscaping and housekeeping? Sure! Bring you more wine down to the campground? Sure! Pretty much anything you need they can take care of for you.

Fiber Optic Internet

Fiber internet is available in some areas of the community and may be available, eventually, in the remaining areas but it's important for your agent to confirm that it is available to any homesite you are interested in.

Learn More about Balsam Mountain Preserve

If you've read this far, hopefully, you've noticed that we know a lot about Balsam Mountain Preserve. We believe its an awesome community for the right buyer and would be honored to help you in purchasing at Balsam or finding the luxury property that is right for you.

Read more: Check out other gated communities and homes for sale in North Carolina.

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Community Amenities

clubhouse / lodge
mountain biking
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    Listings courtesy of Canopy MLS as distributed by MLS GRID. Based on information submitted to the MLS GRID as of 05/30/2024, 01:08:14 AM. All data is obtained from various sources and may not have been verified by broker or MLS GRID. Supplied Open House Information is subject to change without notice. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information. Some IDX listings have been excluded from this website.