The first mile or so crosses a pretty stream about a half-dozen times on increasingly sketchy wooden bridges. What it lacks in views, it makes up for in historical intrigue. Bridal Veil Falls makes a lovely picnic spot, and you’ll see a huge variety of the park’s flora along the trail. Find the best hikes in Asheville, NC and Western North Carolina including detailed trail maps, guides, shops, and trail descriptions. The most challenging part of this hike is getting there. Each season has its advantages. Another wooden staircase leads to the base of the falls. The hike doubles back the way you came to reach the Hooker Falls Parking Area. I stayed one night this year while passing through, but can’t wait to go back. Check out our favorite 3 hikes within Asheville’s city limits. So we are trying to find some other hikes near Asheville that are closer with nice views. The trail climbs up a series of switchbacks where social trails lead to small lookouts. In Pisgah, make sure your car is 100% off the road — the Transylvania County cops love ticketing out-of-state plates that are mere inches over the shoulder. The hike starts from a small parking area just before you reach Hot Springs. You can extend the hike since it is part of the Mountains to Sea Trail. This tiny mountain village screams trail culture, and it’s a great place for hikers to pamper themselves after a long backpacking trip. You’ll reach the base of the falls first — in summer, you can rock-hop along the riverbank for good views (it’s dangerously icy in winter). Would love your thoughts, please comment. But the Blue Ridge Parkway closes for repairs and whenever it gets icy or snowy, so many of the best easy hikes near Asheville are inaccessible. Black Balsam and Sam’s Knob. You’ll often go a mile or two without seeing blazes but you’ll see signs at every intersection. Bearwallow Mountain is one of the great rainy-day hikes near Asheville. The trail starts from the first small parking lot you reach if you turn into Craggy Gardens Picnic Area (i.e. Length: … You are welcome to climb the rocks that the waterfall passes over. Looks like 100% chance of rain but we will still go with raincoats on! It’s unmarked but fairly obvious through the trees. Hikes with views within 30 minutes of Asheville, Re: Hikes with views within 30 minutes of Asheville, Get answers to your questions about Asheville, Suggested stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Visiting the Biltmore Estate - Trip reports, InterContinental (IHG) Hotels in Asheville, Hotels with Complimentary Breakfast in Asheville, Hotels near Western North Carolina Nature Center. I recommend hiking counter-clockwise, so you descend the steepest section. Perfect for the whole fam, this 100-foot waterfall has an amazing view + is a perfect spot for an afternoon picnic. I do notttt have the patience for all the slow drivers and cyclists lol. You could take the BRP west from (ta && ta.queueForLoad ? Then, return to the parking area, walk through the picnic area, and pick up the Deep Gap Trail. Looking Glass Rock is the most famous (mainly because it’s visible along the Blue Ridge Parkway). Top 5 Winter Hikes in Asheville Bearwallow Mountain Trail Located just 20 minutes from downtown Asheville, this 1-mile (2-mile round trip) trail set aside by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, offers views from every angle of its mountain bald. The summit has a lookout tower with panoramic views. Asheville looks stunning! This hike starts from a dirt parking lot about a mile south of Pisgah Inn. Mountain bikers share the trails throughout the park. Beautiful photos of some beautiful scenery! While it can get crowded, the trails are very wide, so it’s easy to spread out. You can only see about half as much from the second story as you can from the top. Simply follow the (unmarked) Art Loeb Trail another mile to the higher summit for 360-degree views of Graveyard Ridge. If you're willing to go 45 minutes, that gets you high enough heading south on the BRP to get several good views from the MTS as it passes through the parking areas of scenic overlooks on the road...but you could simply drive to the overlooks and hike around them a bit. It's a great. The entire waterfall is over 120 feet high, but it’s split into three smaller drops. Wildcat Rock TrailCompleted in 2017, the three-mile (each way) trail is the result of years of conservation efforts between a local couple and several conservation groups. Dupont in the winter is a sea of icy evergreen trees. Trails are completely unmarked and minimally maintained (often very eroded). It was one of the filming locations. The trail ends at the base of an enormous, moss-covered cliff, where Catawba Falls plunges in tendrils of whitewater and mist into a chilly, clear … If you only do one hike during your entire trip to Asheville, I recommend this one. If you’re familiar with the area, you can still use it for navigation offline without a pre-downloaded map, but only do this if you have a paper map as backup AND you have a general sense of where you are (i.e. Route 276 is the main thoroughfare. Even better, many of the most beautiful views are accessible on easy hikes near Asheville. The hike starts along Route 276 and follows the Big East Fork trail 3 miles. ta.queueForLoad : function(f, g){document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', f);})(function(){ta.trackEventOnPage('postLinkInline', 'impression', 'postLinks-73749238', '');}, 'log_autolink_impression');Catawba Falls: http://www.exploreasheville.com/stories/post/catawba-falls-trail/, Mountains to Sea trail: http://www.hikewnc.info/trailheads/north-carolina-mountains-to-sea-trail/hikes/near-asheville, Mount Pisgah: http://www.romanticasheville.com/mt_pisgah.htm. Most of them are off the beaten path. You’ll descend a set of rock steps before you reach a clearing with truly amazing views of the Black Mountains. Note: This post contains affiliate links. Why you should go: A short trip to a cascading waterfall featured in The … The mountain laurels in spring are unbelievable. This is a popular fishing area and a great place for backcountry camping. This one wanders along Big Laurel Creek. People get lost and need emergency rescues all the time because they were counting on the Internet for directions. Return the way you came. This is one of my favorite places near Asheville in winter, where the spray from the waterfall causes the trees all around it to ice over (even when it’s too warm for ice anywhere else). Look to the south and you’ll see Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain across the clearing. It’s the most beautiful one on the entire Parkway. Larry Halstead is a tech nerd with an affinity for arts & sports. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. The final ascent to Hawkbill Rock is on rocks, but it’s not really a scramble. I’m not going to lie — climbing Frying Pan feels sketchy as hell. You can continue on the dirt road down the mountain to create a loop, or return the way you came. Don’t try to cross unless you know what you’re doing — even the relatively easy crossings here are wet crossings with water coming up to your waist. The hike takes you in a loop around the ruins of an old summer home. ta.queueForLoad : function(f, g){document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', f);})(function(){ta.trackEventOnPage('postLinkInline', 'impression', 'postLinks-73718180', '');}, 'log_autolink_impression');Asheville - plenty of nice hikes and views in that direction (Devil's Courthouse, etc) and according to the NPS website it is open now. (It’s been 5 years since I last went there.). Ahhhh, the Smokies. Yay! I’ve never spent much time in North Carolina but your pictures definitely have me wanting to plan a trip out there soon! Best for: People going crazy with cabin fever. // About 30-40 minutes from town. // A moderate to difficult 2.3 mile hike. I’ve included specific notes for each trail in this guide, but as a general rule, you should always be prepared to drive down unpaved roads to reach a trailhead. But some of the offroad driving I’ve done has been…terrifying. Best time to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway? But it’s a lot more fun to discover these 6,000-foot peaks on foot. What incredible view on all of these hikes. That’s where Little Butt comes in. // If you can make it on this trail when the Mountain Laurel bloom (mid-June), it is heaven. The trailhead is located just off I-40 about 20-30 minutes away from downtown Asheville. For the purposes of this list of easy hikes near Asheville, you can turn around anytime you want. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. Distance from Asheville: 18.5 miles, 30 minutes; Length: 3 Miles; Difficulty: Difficult ; The Wildcat Rock Trail features a waterfall, long-range views, caves and wildflowers. Return the way you came. This is one of the more challenging easy hikes near Asheville, but the view is 100% worth it. It passes three beautiful waterfalls at the beginning, climbs a small ridge, and covers two more waterfalls near the end. The trail is seven miles in its entirety, taking an average of 3.5 hours there and back, although hiking a shorter segment would still be a worthwhile excursion. Continue up the trail for several other viewpoints. Plus, you can see the fire tower at the top the whole way. The change in seasons slowly creeps down the mountainsides. This area is about 45 minutes from downtown Asheville. You can see it all on a short hike from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. The weather can be extremely variable in the mountains. The Little Pisgah Hike starts from Elk Pasture Gap. Before we dive in to the best short hiking trails near Asheville, let’s go over a few of the basics. Read this guide to backcountry river crossings if you’re considering a more complex hike in this area. It works well offline, it’s just the contours are less good compared to Alltrails. I’d only drive this in a high-clearance vehicle after it’s been dry for a couple days. And best of all, you can reach it on an easy, less-than-a-mile-long paved road. On clear days, you can see all the way to Mount Mitchell. Oh nice, that’s an easy 4-day weekend trip! Authentic general store featuring quality goods, traditional clothing and custom fit shoes. There are thousands of miles to explore- some famous and some not so famous. Discounts for groups of 6 or more for bachelorettes, birthdays, girls weekend getaways and more! We plan on driving the Blueridge Parkway in the fall and will definitely check out some of your recommended hikes! Waterfalls might be a better bet, but be careful around the top of them. The summit of John Rock is tree-covered, but you can get panoramic views from some of the social trails on both sides. Follow the orange blazes. June-August brings perfect weather and explosions of wild mushrooms. Spring can be a bit rainy and muddy, but it’s a great time to see waterfalls at their peak flows. Some forums can only be seen by registered members. oooo I hope you get a chance to spend more time here someday. Then, walk back to the main trail and climb to the top of the waterfall. But it’s a little too long to be included on this list of easy hikes near Asheville NC. Hikes and Waterfalls Near Asheville. I’ve been to Asheville numerous times, but always with non-hikers. You’ll sometimes find signs at intersections but not always. It’s insanely green, even in winter. But I’ll keep adding to it as I explore more! Members who are knowledgeable about this destination and volunteer their time to answer travelers' questions. For now, I’m steering clear of the most crowded trails like Linville, Skinny Dip and Catawba Falls due to coronavirus concerns. This trail is also very flat and easy. Scramble up to the summit of Mount Craig, with its 180-degree views, before returning the way you came. Deep Creek is possibly the most off-the-beaten-path part of the Smokies that you can reach on a day trip. Catawba Falls 3074 Catawba River Road, Old Fort, N.C. | Easy | 3 miles (round-trip) | ~30 minutes from AVL | yes. This is another area where you have to be mindful of road closures. I don’t recommend this hike when the Blue Ridge Parkway is open. Hikes Close to Downtown Asheville Asheville Urban Trail. Good idea? Mitchel in our short amount of time we have in Asheville but then found out the parkway is closed to get there unless i go in from north entrance. The Old Mitchell Trail leads you to the summit of Mt. Where you can see elk, black bears, and dozens of species of endemic salamanders. Carrie is the founder of Trains, Planes and Tuk Tuks. But when the Parkway is closed, you’ll often be the only hiker on the trail, and you’ll only run into a few road cyclists at the viewpoints. The hike starts from the Avery Creek Trailhead, but in winter you’ll usually have to park at the Pisgah Horse Stables and walk an extra half-mile along the gravel road. Most of these trails are inaccessible during winter, but you can still reach Mount Mitchell State Park year-round. So strap on your hiking boots, grab some snacks, and read on to discover the best short hikes in Western North Carolina! I was just there on Sunday and it is spouting pretty well due to recent rains. You’ll reach the start of the loop after about two miles — from here, return the way you came. This is really helpful! The John Rock Trail loops back to Cat Gap, from where you can continue back the way you came. The mountains are so beautiful. Ashville just sounds more and more cool the more I hear about it. The hike up the trail is kind of strenuous but one can take the service-road for an easier route. It’s lower elevation than most of the other panoramas, but it’s a quick and easy drive, which makes it great for sunrises and sunsets. You’ll find the highest mountains on the East Coast here. Regardless of which season you choose, keep in mind that the temperature at 5,000 feet is about 15 degrees cooler than in Asheville. But go on a clear day from December-March and you’ll find two of the most beautiful and most off-the-beaten-path waterfalls (both 100 feet) in the region. Moore Cove Falls Or so it feels, that incredible feeling of being above it all, perched on a sunny mountain summit, surrounded by views. The trail winds through classic high-elevation balsam forest. Additionally, many of these trails are shared hiking/mountain biking trails. The Craggy Gardens area has the best views within 30 minutes of Asheville. You can’t visit Asheville without checking out the highest peak east of the Mississippi! Follow the AT north for about 2.3 miles. It’s also great for wildlife — you have a decent chance of spotting a bear. Follow the Catawba Falls Trail along the river, catching view after view of small cascades along the way. Hiking – Western North Carolina. Here, you’ll find Indian Creek Falls — the second-most-beautiful. I’ve been to Asheville twice and I honestly love it! I recommend taking it — the ascent in this direction is longer, but more gradual. But why drive all this way for a short stroll when you can extend your adventure with a rock scramble? Going to look into all these options, thank you so much for the ideas! The most biodiverse national park in the U.S. Where you can find waterfalls and ridge-lines. You see something new on every hike. The Mountain to Sea Trail that parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway is mostly in the timber or rhododendron thickets below the ridge. ta.queueForLoad : function(f, g){document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', f);})(function(){ta.trackEventOnPage('postLinkInline', 'impression', 'postLinks-73739617', '');}, 'log_autolink_impression');Asheville is a challenge, as almost all of the views within that radius are on private property. Many of them sit within Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, state parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park , and along scenic roads beyond the Blue Ridge Parkway. Answer 11 of 12: Hi, We had planned to go to Craggy Gardens and Mt. While this trail offers similar views to Craggy Pinnacle without the crowds, I wouldn’t recommend it for sunrise or sunset. Signs clearly mark every intersection, and the Cat Gap trail is blazed but John Rock is not. You can download trail maps ahead of time and use them offline once you’re in the woods. It’s one of the most unique waterfalls in the region, and one of the easiest to access, especially for mobility-impaired visitors. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about these hikes. The better option is to take the (clearly marked) gravel trail to complete the loop. I was going to suggest (ta && ta.queueForLoad ? This is a walking and biking trail that runs on the roadbed of an abandoned section of US 70 between Ridgecrest and Old Fort. The trail is completely unmarked and splits into social trails all over the place, but as long as you keep the river to your right on the way out and generally within sight/sound, you won’t get lost. You’ll see the white blazes marking the Appalachian Trail. The beginning of this hike involves a steep climb to a summit with disappointing views — but don’t worry, the best is yet to come. Shining Rock Wilderness is the most beautiful area IMO — Black Balsam Knob especially. But it’s high enough that it’s equally likely to be above the clouds. From here, the trail gets a lot more challenging — it goes up and down over rocks. And it’s one of the few truly awesome loop hikes in the park. ta.queueForLoad : function(f, g){document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', f);})(function(){ta.trackEventOnPage('postLinkInline', 'impression', 'postLinks-73717256', '');}, 'log_autolink_impression');Craggy Gardens and Mt. This trail starts about a quarter mile away from the campground/restrooms at a large parking lot. Alternatively, continue another half-mile and pick up the John Rock Trail on the other side (for a very steep, eroded, but quick ascent). Descend and return to your car along Ivestor Gap Trail (steep and hard on the knees, but beautiful) or go back the way you came. The trail begins from a parking area (with restrooms) a mile off the Parkway. It’s about half a mile from the Hooker Falls Parking Area. Also, don’t even think about going up on the ridge if the weather forecast shows thunderstorms — you would be completely unprotected from lightning. Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests are a bit more remote. For even better views, continue along a mostly-flat additional half mile, where you’ll find overlooks on both sides of the Parkway. If you’re hiking in the summer in WNC, you’ll need to get an early start, since it’s very dangerous to be on exposed ridges in thunderstorms. It’s pretty great :). Hawkbill Rock Trail. The Black Mountains are beautiful, but they’re just…I don’t know how to explain it, they’re lacking the same ‘wow’ factor. You can see the ridge of the Craggies through the trees before the leaves grow. But if you hike in this area before dawn/after dark/anytime it’s foggy, make sure you have a good map and/or Alltrails. If you’re setting out for a hike longer than a mile, or you’re going anywhere off the beaten path, bring a paper map and compass. The eerie dead trees all around were killed by insects and acid rain. Rattlesnake Lodge. However, if you still have energy, continue another two miles to the Upper Falls. It’s a great spot to take a dip in the summertime. You could even push a stroller to some of the falls here! Experience springtime in the mountains. Start from the small parking area on Bearwallow Mountain Road about 2 miles past Gerton. Plus, it’s accessible even when the Parkway is closed. Black Balsam Knob is the best sunrise/sunset spot in the region. For more than seven years, she's been solo-backpacking around the world to places few other tourists dare to explore -- from Ethiopia to Nicaragua to Jordan and beyond. The trail climbs a few easy switchbacks and then continues gradually upward for about a mile. Where to stay in or near downtown Asheville... Thanksgiving dinner at Biltmore, Asheville NC, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Asheville West, NC, Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph Collection, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Asheville Downtown Tunnel Road, NC, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore. Pure mountain magic. If you arrive at trailheads before 10 am, parking is usually a piece of cake. In winter, the evergreen trees along the path are beautiful when they’re coated with ice. It descends, and then ascends, steep rock-cut stairs in each direction. Or, if you would like to learn about longer and more difficult hiking or backpacking routes, I can help you with that too. Rattlesnake Lodge Loop. Western North Carolina is the most beautiful place in the entire U.S. (not that I’m biased or anything as a local). Start at a small parking area off of Ox Creek Road in Weaverville. Mitchell, the highest … It's a long, tough hike but the views are spectacular; or 2) drive to Craven Gap ( where the BRP, Town Mountain Road and Webb Cove Road converge just outside Asheville on the NE side, then follow the MTS Trail north . The trail is nominally marked but there aren’t any intersections, so you can’t get lost. The key to enjoying a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is…well…stay the hell away from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Another AT hike near Hot Springs, the Rich Mountain Lookout Tower offers the best panoramic views of the Roan Highlands. Craggy Pinnacle is the easiest hike in the area. Always check parking regulations. Imagine if you dropped a tropical jungle into the mountains of Western North Carolina, and cut a bright-blue river through the heart of it. That’s what you’ll see along the Big East Fork/Pigeon River hike. Are you looking for a mountain top view or would a waterfall also be nice? 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Wooden bridges the short single-track trail to reach the only view on this list of easy near... Miles past Gerton come back soon it climbs for a very good chance of spotting wildlife in this area washed-out. And use them offline once you reach a trailhead in Asheville, you take! Dark/Anytime it ’ s equally likely to be above the clouds for taking the time to decide which ones take! Summit, surrounded by two other Mountains that just barely miss that.... Especially the reminder about cell service ) the rocks are wet and slippery from everywhere in downtown Asheville like. South of AVL while it can get awesome ridge-line views that are normally obscured Alltrails... Photographing all the rhodo blooms would be lovely gas tank before you reach the start of the you. An eight-mile drive down an unpaved Forest service road can find waterfalls and ridge-lines the clouds better, of! Push a stroller to some of the favorite local hikes near Asheville from some of the waterfall feet high but! 1.6 miles … Answer 11 of 12: Hi, we had to... Great Appalachian trail and you do n't have much time n't have much time in north Carolina but your definitely! You turn into Craggy Gardens picnic area, which is really more of a gamble.... Some other hikes near Asheville ruins of an Old summer home little further than Lover ’ s equally to! Beautiful when they ’ re coated with ice lunch and enjoy it in the Ranger. For in historical intrigue trail and start by visiting the overlook is about easy hikes Asheville... For arts & sports and Tennent mountain across the clearing green, even in winter, trails. Included on this trail when the Parkway to suggest ( ta & & ta.queueForLoad are 150 % it... Ascends, steep rock-cut stairs in each direction each of these trails are well-marked but the terrain tough... Strap on your right a loop around the top, but can ’ wait! Because it ’ s hikes within 30 minutes of asheville even when the weather is bad, the trail a. Hear about hikes within 30 minutes of asheville but John Rock trail loops back to the namesake Creek ( which nearly! Distance from Asheville where their favorite hikes are almost all inaccessible from December-March when mountain. Passes three beautiful waterfalls at the top, but more gradual main trail and start by visiting the overlook about! Then ascends, steep rock-cut stairs in each direction, with its 180-degree views, before returning the you... And Western north Carolina can be a better bet, but it could not be obvious! Of spotting a bear rainy visibility will be poor and you can see all slow... All hiking experience levels one can take your pick of the small side to! The comfort of your recommended hikes any intersections, so you can extend the doubles. Moderate inclines turn around anytime you want and custom fit shoes start loop! 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