Big Ivy shelters over 3,600 acres of old-growth forests and is home to at least 40 rare and endangered species. Native brook trout spawn in the Ivy Creek headwaters, a protected drinking water supply.

Big Ivy is part of a 100,000-acre block wildlands across the Craggy and Black Mountain ranges. The Black Mountains and Craggy Mountains boast the highest peaks in the East with panoramic vistas of the lush, ancient forest. The unbroken forests of Big Ivy are admired from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Craggy Gardens Visitor Center.

The forest also boasts a rich cultural history, and descendants of early Appalachian families still live beside the forest today. In recent years, The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans were filmed here.

Big Ivy is also a beloved recreation destination for all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, anglers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and equestrians. Its network of trails and scenic waterfalls—including 70-foot Douglas Falls—are among the most prized and popular in all of Pisgah.