A Guide to Hiking in Asheville

A Local Guide to Asheville Hiking

Situated at the seat of the gorgeous and verdant Blue Ridge Mountains, the natural areas in and around Asheville beg to be played in. Whether by bike, horseback, or even zip line, you’re sure to find an outdoor adventure to suit your taste in this beautiful North Carolina hamlet. And if you’re a hiker, the expeditions to be had are never-ending. There are a vast number of hikes around Asheville: everything from beginner’s hikes that are less than a mile long, to epic quests that take you to the peak of a mountain are waiting to be discovered. Asheville also boasts a range of well-manicured trails that can be as easily biked or walked as hiked. You can also find tons of hikes that are perfect for summer, some perfect for winter in the snow (via snowshoe!), and everything in between. This is a hiker’s paradise, so grab your hiking boots and get going!

Family Friendly Hiking for All Ages

For easier-paced or family-friendly hiking, you may not even need to venture past city limits! The Asheville Botanical Gardens boasts an urban labyrinth of trails that take visitors through its wide array of different local plants and wildlife. But if it’s time to get the kids out of town, the Laurel River Trail is a perfect destination for any family. This beautiful, quiet trails winds alongside babbling waters. Feel free to bring a picnic and even pack swimsuits (in summer): there are plenty of places along the way to stop, take in the gorgeous scenery and even enjoy a quick dip! Bearwallow Mountain Trail is also a great choice for those wanting to get out of town but needing a shorter hike. This 1.7-mile loop takes hikers up and around rolling grass hills with 360-degree panoramic views. This too makes for a beautiful spot for a picnic lunch but is also a great quick hike if time is of the essence.

Trails for the More Experienced Hiker

Looking for something a little tougher? You’re in luck. Asheville sits in the middle of a handful of national forests, putting it at less than an hour’s drive from several dozen different trailheads of varying difficulty. For encounters with some truly spectacular waterfalls, find yourself in the deep natural forests at Moore Cove Falls Trail. Black Balsam Trail takes hikers up and out of the trees to Sam Knob for 360-degree panoramic views of the beautiful surrounding mountaintops. For even longer, more dedicated hikes, find your way to the Grandfather Mountain Trail. Also lovingly referred to as the “Chutes and Ladders” trail, this technical hike takes nature enthusiasts up and over a labyrinth of ladders and tied-in cables. Beautiful vistas await around every corner, but be prepared: this hike is not for the faint of heart. Nor is The Appalachian Trail. Stretching over 2,200 miles from North Carolina all the way to Maine, this iconic national trail can be visited from any number of unique locations, many of which are not far from Asheville. Max Patch Bald is near Hot Springs, North Carolina, and offers gorgeous panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains and blankets of wildflower-strewn meadows in the spring. Or Choose Lover’s Leap for access to the trail that takes one through some unusual rocky terrain.

Hiking is a must-do for anyone visiting or residing in and around Asheville. Prepare yourself for breathtaking views, close encounters with North Carolina’s native flora and fauna, and gorgeous weather, no matter the season. North Carolina is truly a naturally exquisite state with its fair, temperate climates and verdant mountainsides, so while staying inside is all well and good if you live anywhere else, here, the outdoors beckons: go see it!  

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