The 5 Clearest Blue Skies in the U.S. by the Sierra Magazine
"Take a bow, Tarheels — Asheville and Brevard take first place for the cleanest metropolitan area in the country for 24-hour particle pollution. The list of opportunities for breathing in all that clean air is deep and wide. Literally. Western North Carolina is home to nearly 50 named peaks above 6,000 feet. The Great Smoky Mountains are two hours away from Asheville and serve as a habitat for more than 60 species of mammals alone."