The breathtaking Asheville hiking trails are famous, especially along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Explore the best hikes near Asheville, NC for all levels.
It’s no secret that one of the reasons we moved to Asheville, North Carolina is because we fell in love with those blue and green-hued, smoke-breathing mountains.
Heck, the Blue Ridge Mountains are even in Uncorked Asheville’s logo.
What’s even better is that these mountains envelope the best Asheville hikes, lakes, waterfalls, and picnic areas.
So, if you are visiting or live in WNC, what is the Asheville hiking scene like? What are the best hikes near Asheville, short and long?
What should you expect? How the heck do you find these hidden gems? Where do the locals go?
We’ll start with the best hikes in Asheville, including parks, gardens, and Biltmore trails. Then, we’ll branch out to popular and more difficult hikes near Asheville.
Trek along and in Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest, Gorges State Park, DuPont State Forest, Black Mountain range, the Smokies, waterfall hikes, and more.
So, are you ready to get fit while enjoying eye candy and fresh mountain air? Let’s get started with some of the best hikes near Asheville, NC!
Please keep in mind that we aren’t giving professional hiking advice. These are just our experiences.
This post may contain affiliate links that earn us a commission at no extra cost to you.
Best Asheville Hiking Trails By Difficulty
Easy Hikes In Asheville, NC
These are the hikes in Asheville, NC that are closer to the downtown area.
Some include full hikes perfect for mountain biking. Others are nature trails in Asheville with easier accessibility.
Many of these Asheville hiking trails are free while a few require a parking or admittance fee.
Biltmore Estate & Hiking Trails
Did you even visit Asheville if you didn’t drop by the Biltmore Estate? Biltmore is rich in history and forestry education. OK, and wine.
And, did you know that Biltmore has over 22 miles of trails and gardens?
If you are looking for hiking in Asheville paired with wine, special tours, a mansion, and delicious southern treats, you can easily spend a day here.
Uncover endless walking, running, and biking trails. Some of these Asheville hiking trails are as long as 3.5 miles and range from easy to challenging.
We recommend the Lagoon Trail to start. If you wish to sneak up on Biltmore House with entrance to the gardens, hike the more uphill Deerpark Trail, which is 2.5-miles long.
Deerpark is also popular with chill mountain bikers.
In addition, Biltmore has some of the prettiest gardens in Asheville, perfect for accessibility. Fredrick Law Olmstead designed these gardens.
You will need a ticket or annual pass to hike on the Estate. Biltmore’s trails are only 10 to 15 minutes from downtown AVL. Don’t forget that Biltmore’s trails and activities are family-friendly too!
Botanical Gardens At Asheville
Address: 151 W T. Weaver Boulevard, Asheville, NC 28804
Free to enter and casual nature trails to walk
Don’t Miss All Of The Fun Things You Can Do At Asheville’s Botanical Gardens
A somewhat hidden secret, encounter 10 acres of non-profit botanical gardens 10-minutes away from downtown Asheville. We sneak here to see gorgeous and rare wildflowers.
The grounds are quiet, and visitors will find a literary cabin in the woods, beautiful bridges, labeled flora and fauna, nature trails, and large streams.
One of the shortest trails for hiking in Asheville, NC, the loop is around .5 to .7 miles. The Botanical Gardens at Asheville aren’t for you if you want a hardcore hike, though.
You might also enjoy the most scenic Asheville picnic areas.
Beaver Lake Trail & Bird Sanctuary
Address: 1056 Merrimon Ave., Asheville, NC 28804
Free and donation-based parking at the Sanctuary and surrounding lots/streets
Permit for dogs and boats at Lake (no dogs allowed at the Sanctuary)
Perimeter Trail Length: 2.1-mile loop
Grab Our Complete Guide To Beaver Lake
For local Asheville hiking trails, Beaver Lake is another gentle nature walk option. Walkers and runners will find a gorgeous flat hike in the heart of a well-established Asheville neighborhood.
You’ll love the trees and lake perfect for fall foliage chasing, picnics, and bird watching. Beaver Lake is under 10-minutes from downtown Asheville.
Attached to the Beaver Lake Perimeter Trail, you can walk into or go around the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.
Here, visitors may enjoy a beautiful nature walk filled with birds, dragonflies, and butterflies across 8-acres.
The Beaver Lake Perimeter Trail is about 2.1 miles. The boardwalk loop inside of the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary is under .5 miles.
If you are looking for hiking in Asheville that is chill but still exercise, Beaver Lake is where it’s at. Read more about the best lakes around Asheville’s mountains.
The North Carolina Arboretum
Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806
Numerous trails, gardens, and pay to enter
Don’t Miss Our Complete Guide To The North Carolina Arboretum
As annual passholders, we love The NC Arboretum for Asheville hiking trails and garden events.
Located south of downtown Asheville and off of the BRP, you’ll find botanical gardens and some of the easiest and most serene hiking trails in Asheville.
There are over 13 trails at The NC Arboretum. They range in distance and difficulty. Find .3-mile to 1.3-mile Asheville hikes. Some trails allow for mountain biking.
We especially love walking along the water on the Bent Creek Trail. The NC Arboretum is only about 20-minutes from downtown AVL.
Bent Creek Experimental Forest
Address: Hard Times Trailhead at 375 Wesley Branch Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
Bent Creek Experimental Forest Website: https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/bentcreek/
Home to the Hard Times Trail and Lake Powhatan, don’t miss a series of pretty Asheville hikes perfect for walking and mountain biking at Bent Creek Experimental Forest.
It is free to park at Bent Creek Experimental Forest. You’ll find lots at the Hard Times Trail or plenty of nearby off-street parking.
AVL locals flock here on the weekends — us, included. We’ve also witnessed families teaching their younger children how to mountain bike here. The trails offer a great introduction to outdoor adventures.
Read more about all of Asheville’s family-friendly and easy hikes.
Address: 53 Birch St, Asheville, NC 28801
3.5 miles of paved roads
Grab Our Complete Guide To Riverside Cemetery With Must-See Sites
Find 3.5 miles of paved roads surrounded by Asheville history. This beautiful Victorian-style cemetery is the final resting place for literary greats like Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry.
You’ll find many Asheville residents jogging and strolling through this historic Montford neighborhood. Please be respectful, too.
Nearby & Easy Asheville Hikes
Below, find easier hikes near Asheville, NC that are perfect for the entire family.
Many of these hikes include gorgeous waterfalls and swimming holes fit for a refreshing dip in the shallow, slow-moving water.
Catawba Falls Trail & Waterfall
Address: 3074 Catawba River Rd, Old Fort, NC 28762
Length: 2.7-mile hike; out and back
Catawba Falls is a 30-minute drive from downtown Asheville and is one of the most gorgeous waterfall hikes near Asheville.
This part of the Pisgah National Forest is filled with moss, lichen, and a 100-foot cascading waterfall at the end.
For Asheville hiking, this 2.7-mile hike is great for families and pooches. Much of the trail is flat or mildly uphill.
DuPont State Forest Trails & Waterfalls
For the best waterfall hiking trails near Asheville, head to DuPont State Forest. This beautiful North Carolina State Park is around 45 minutes from Asheville.
The park is free to enter, and there are endless trails throughout the area. Find a Visitor Center and multiple restrooms, too.
Two of the waterfalls — Bridal Veil Falls At DuPont and Triple Falls — are The Hunger Games filming sites. Bridal Veil Falls was also in The Last of the Mohicans.
If you park at the Hooker Falls Access Area, head straight before crossing the scenic bridge. Follow the trail about .25 miles in for Hooker Falls.
Then, loop back up over the bridge for a moderate .5-mile climb to see Triple Falls. High Falls is another .5 miles after Triple Falls.
You may also pick up this hike from the Visitor Center, starting with High Falls. You could also continue on to Bridal Veil Falls.
If you add on or hike Bridal Veil Falls on its own, it’s about a 4.4-mile out and back, ending at the waterfall. Please note this is not the Bridal Veil Falls at Highlands.
Address: Douglas Falls, Barnardsville, NC 28709; park at Laurel Gap Parking
Length From FS74/Laurel Gap Gate Closure: Under 4-miles roundtrip; out and back; under 1-mile from official trailhead
Check Out Our Hiking Guide To Douglas Falls
Douglas Falls is about an hour and 15-minutes away from Asheville. It’s a scenic but scary and winding drive into the Pisgah National Forest. On your way, you will pass Walker Falls.
For Asheville hiking, Douglas Falls houses a 70-foot waterfall that you can walk behind.
Douglas Falls has two access points: Craggy Gardens — which is an extremely difficult hike and long hike — and the FS74 entrance, which is under 1-mile roundtrip from the official trailhead.
There is a gate closure at Laurel Gap, though, adding about 1.1 miles. We recommend the shorter and easier hike.
Sometimes the Douglas Falls Trail has downed trees. This doesn’t mean that the trail is closed. You can jump over them or go around.
Also, keep in mind that this is a rough dirt road for your car to climb. Your car may take a beating and sometimes passing is difficult.
Skinny Dip Falls
Located on the BRP about 3 miles from Graveyard Fields and one of the most popular hikes near Asheville, NC for swimming, don’t skip Skinny Dip Falls.
Pack a swimsuit, say hi to the dragon tree, and find your own private rock for a picnic.
People spread out around the falls, and there are plenty of wading pools for younger children. Skinny Dip is also known for cliff jumping, but this is not recommended for safety reasons.
The Skinny Dip Trail is a little under 1-mile round trip and it’s accessible for families.
You can park at Looking Glass Overlook, cross the street, and look for a marked post. Follow the signs for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) to start and keep going straight.
Cellphone reception gets a little spotty out here.
Carl Sandburg Home Hiking Trails
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and poet Carl Sandburg settled down in Flat Rock, NC. At his 264-acre home, which is a National Historic Site, you’ll find 5 miles of trails along with a farmyard.
One popular hike includes the Glassy Mountain Trail, which is an easy to moderate hike. Trek about 1 mile each way from the back of the Carl Sanburg Home into shaded woods.
Don’t miss the rocky overlook at the top.
The trails are free to access, and you can park at the Hikers’ Lot. From here, we clocked 3.5 miles to the house, Big Glassy Overlook, and back. House tours require tickets.
Moore Cove Falls Trail
Moore Cove Falls sits near Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest off of the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway.
This is one of the most popular and easiest waterfall hikes near Asheville, especially for families. Trek a 1.4-mile out and back straight to a 50-foot waterfall.
Before or afterward, drive up to Looking Glass Falls. You may also want to check out Sliding Rock.
Bearwallow Mountain Trail
Another one of the most popular hikes near Asheville, either take the gravel access road or forest trail up to a beautiful meadow filled with cows.
Bearwallow Mountain is an easy 2-mile hike for families and is perfect for picnics and sunsets. This is also a good fall and winter hike.
Pink Beds Loop Hiking Trail
Located in the Pisgah Forest close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, nature lovers will covet this 5.5-mile Asheville hiking trail.
Best in the late spring and summer, you’ll catch butterflies, birds, and wildflowers. Plus, hike in a mountain bog.
Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower & Trail
An easy to moderate 1.6-mile hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway immediately past Mount Pisgah, this gravel road trail leads to a 70-foot lookout tower.
Check out the 360-degree views of Mount Pisgah, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Looking Glass Rock.
Address: Blue Ridge Parkway Mile Marker 339.5
2-mile out and back or 2.5-mile loop
One of the most popular waterfall hikes near Asheville close to Little Switzerland, Crabtree Falls is a moderately easy 2-mile out and back.
You can also take the slightly harder 2.5-mile loop once you arrive at the falls. Crabtree Falls is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Post 339.5.
Oconaluftee River Trail
Address: Oconaluftee Visitor Center 1194 Newfound Gap Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719
3-mile nature walk; out and back
Grab Our Complete Oconaluftee River Trail Guide
Much farther out from Asheville – in Great Smoky Mountains National Park – encounter elk and wildflowers along the Oconaluftee River Trail.
Find a beautiful and easy 3-mile nature walk along the Oconaluftee River.
Address: Max Patch Loop Trail Head; State Rte 1182, Del Rio, TN 37727
1.5-mile or 2.5-mile loop; picks up AT
Check Out Our Full Guide To Max Patch
Another one of the most popular hikes near Asheville, Max Patch promises trekkers a bit of everything.
Encounter views of Mount Mitchell and the Smokies along an easy 1.5-mile or moderate 2.5-mile loop. You can cross over onto the Appalachian Trail to reach the summit, which is perfect for a picnic.
Moderate Hiking Near Asheville, NC
Address: Craven Gap Trail, N35.6479 W82.4910, Asheville, NC 28805
Trail starts at the stairs
Length: 5-mile out and back
Craven Gap is one of the more local Asheville hiking trails that’s only about 20-minutes from downtown. Craven Gap may lack breathtaking views but is sure to pay you back in exclusivity.
In fact, the Obamas hiked here in 2010. We love the Craven Gap hike for its babbling brooks, mini-caves, and wooden bridge.
The trail collides with the Blue Ridge Parkway at the other end where you can pick up more trails.
Craven Gap is part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and is a little under 5 miles. A moderate hike, Craven Gap gets very narrow.
Craggy Gardens Picnic Area & Visitor Center
Craggy Gardens Visitor Center (MP 364.4) – 364 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Black Mountain, NC 28711 or Craggy Gardens Picnic Area (MP 367.6) – 3676 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Barnardsville, NC 28709
Craggy Gardens Trail Length: 2-mile out and back
Our Guide To Hiking Craggy Gardens
One of the most visited and easier Asheville hiking trails, Craggy Gardens is 20-miles away from downtown AVL (45-minutes) with a variety of hiking, picnicking, and accessibility options.
Plus, there are restroom facilities. Craggy is especially gorgeous in the spring and summer with purple, white, and golden blooms.
Craggy Garden Picnic Area is right before the Visitor Center. Find an abundance of parking, charcoal grills, picnic tables, restrooms, and the Craggy Gardens Trail.
The main trail is just a little under 2-miles round trip with a gazebo and beautiful fields. Of course, you’ll find flowers and heart-stopping mountain views.
Before you head up to the lots, know that there are little side trails — we’ve tried a few.
The Craggy Gardens Visitor Center has stunning views of the fall foliage along with clean restrooms (that flush!), snacks, and a souvenir shop.
The mountains are always colder than in the city. Temperatures may drop 10-20 degrees cooler, and the mountain weather changes quickly. We always recommend wearing layers.
Craggy Pinnacle is one of the shortest but more moderate hikes near Asheville, NC.
Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway about 50-minutes away, this Asheville trail is most known for its 360-degree views at the top.
Hikers can spy down on the Asheville Watershed, Craggy Gardens, and Mount Mitchell. Don’t miss a famous Craggy Pinnacle sunset, either.
The Craggy Pinnacle hike is about 1.4 miles. We always take small runoffs when it’s not foggy. You’ll find at least three scenic viewing areas around the top.
Fog loves Craggy Pinnacle just like I love AVL beer. Sometimes you’ll find yourself literally in the clouds.
The trail also becomes icier into late October/early November, especially after heavy rain. The foliage dies around this time, too. Wear sturdy shoes.
Don’t miss the best hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.
Mount Pisgah Trail
Mount Pisgah is by far one of the most recognizable mountain peaks around Asheville seen from the Grove Park Inn, downtown AVL, and Biltmore.
For Asheville hiking, Mount Pisgah gets slammed in the fall with its 5,721-foot summit and famous observation platform. Visitors can see Fryingpan Mountain and Looking Glass.
A moderate hike and about 1-hour away from Asheville, we love hiking Mount Pisgah for the summer rhododendron and mountain laurels.
The Mount Pisgah Trail is a tad tiring with an elevation gain of 750-feet. Encounter grueling mountain stairs.
Round trip, the trail is about 2.6 miles and you’ll have to climb over shaky rocks.
Graveyard Fields & Graveyard Loop Trail
Address: Milepost 418.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Various trails and waterfalls; restrooms
Located off of the BRP past the Mount Pisgah area, Graveyard Fields is about one hour from Asheville. The trails boast of two gorgeous and rocky waterfalls: Upper and Lower (Second) Falls.
Lower Falls is .4 miles at the trailhead when you take a right after the footbridge. Around the footbridge, you may wade into the water.
Loop back to pick up Graveyard Loop Trail, which is about 2.9 more miles, round trip. Follow signs for Graveyard Loop/Upper Falls (right and then a quick left at the big intersection).
If you keep going right and accidentally pass Upper Falls Trail, you’ll land on the Graveyard Ridge Trail.
Black Balsam Hike On The Art Loeb Trail or Sam Knob Trail
Address: Black Balsam Knob, Art Loeb Trail, Canton, NC 28716
Length: About 2-mile hike
For engagement photographers, the Black Balsam hiking trails near Asheville are where it’s at. The Art Loeb Trail to Black Balsam borders between an easy to moderate 2-mile hike.
You can take numerous pathways that intersect the Art Loeb Trail, and you’ll find almost 360-degree views of the gorgeous mountains.
Black Balsam Knob is a also must-stop for Asheville hiking.
Blueberries and gorgeous wildflowers greet visitors in the summer. Black Balsam is about 1-hour and 10-minutes from Asheville.
Linville Falls Trails & Waterfalls
Address: BRP Mile Marker 316.4; Linville Falls Visitor Center
Length: Numerous trails and waterfall access areas
Many of the waterfall hikes near Asheville are over an hour to two hours away, including Linville Falls.
Linville Falls is also one of the most photographed waterfalls in WNC and has a Visitor Center with restrooms.
The falls are about 90-feet high, and there are 5 viewpoints that total a 4-mile hike. There are different hikes that you can take, including Erwins View Trail and Linville Gorge.
To the left of the Visitor Center, don’t miss the lesser-known trailheads that take you around the falls and to the base. For a challenging trail, Linville Gorge Trail is a 1.25-mile hike to the base of the falls.
We enjoy the Plunge Basin Overlook with a stunning waterfall view that is only about .5 miles round trip.
If you walk past the Visitor Center and cross the bridge, you will encounter a variety of trailheads ranging in difficulty with more waterfall views.
Upper Falls is about .5 miles round trip. Continue on to the Erwins View Trail, which is 1.6 miles round trip from the Visitor Center.
Daniel Ridge Loop & Falls
Address: Daniel Ridge Falls, National Forest Rd, Brevard, NC 28712
4-mile loop or 1-mile out and back
Read More About Daniel Ridge Falls
Head to the Pisgah National Forest for a moderate 4-mile loop or easy 1-mile out and back passing by gorgeous Daniel Ridge falls.
This is one of the best hikes near Asheville to skip the crowds and is also a popular spot for experienced mountain bikers.
Hidden Falls, Rainbow Falls, & Turtleback Falls
Address: Gorges State Park Visitor Center, 976 Grassy Ridge Rd, Sapphire, NC 28774
4.1-mile out and back
For more information, head over to our Rainbow Falls Guide.
An easy but slightly moderate waterfall hike, you’ll love Rainbow Falls — which lives up to its namesake. Along the way, pass Hidden Falls.
If you go as far as Turtleback Falls, you’ll clock about a 4.1-mile out and back.
Be prepared to cross light streams. Rainbow Falls sits in Gorges State Park and crosses into the Pisgah National Forest.
Little Bearwallow Falls & Wildcat Rock Trail
Address: 3823 Gerton Hwy, Gerton, NC 28735
4-mile out and back (or 2 miles to falls)
Take the 2-mile out and back trail to Little Bearwallow Falls or complete the entire 4-mile out and back to Wildcat Rock.
The complete hike grows much more difficult once you pass the falls. This trail is perfect for rock and ice climbers in the winter. You’ll also need sturdy shoes/crampons for the ice and mud.
Mount Mitchell’s Trails
One of the most well-known Asheville hiking spots, Mount Mitchell showcases the highest peak east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet.
Visitors can pick from a variety of trail lengths and difficulties, including the Balsam Nature Trail, Deep Gap Trail, and Mount Mitchell Trail.
Chimney Rock Trails
Another heavily trafficked area, Chimney Rock offers some of the most popular hikes near Asheville, NC.
Eight of their hiking trails are more moderate.
A few tourist favorites include Hickory Nut Falls Trail, Exclamation Point & Devil’s Head, and Party Rock Trail. You have to pay to enter Chimney Rock.
Lover’s Leap Loop
Located in the Pisgah National Forest in Hot Springs, NC, if you are hoping to hop on the Appalachian Trail, this is your chance.
Hike the moderate and somewhat terrifying trek up to Lover’s Leap Loop. This 1.8-mile hiking trail is filled with gorgeous vistas and sharp switchbacks.
Address: Mingo Falls Eastern Cherokee Reservation, Cherokee, NC 28719
.5 mile out and back
Read More About Mingo Falls
If you are heading to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee, NC, we have just the waterfall stop for you.
Here, you’ll find one of the tallest waterfalls in the Southern Appalachians. Mingo Falls is also one of the prettiest waterfalls near Asheville and clocks in at under a .5-mile hike.
Get ready for nature’s StairMaster, though.
Moderate to Difficult Hikes Around Asheville
These hikes near Asheville, NC are harder with steep inclines, not as cleared paths, and/or are longer in length.
We recommend strong hiking shoes, extra layers and water, covered legs, bug spray, snacks and/or a picnic, and a first aid kit.
Little Butt And Big Butt Trails
Address: Mile Marker 359.8; Walker Knob Overlook at 59700 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Black Mountain, NC 28711
Length: 5.1-mile out and back hike
Read Our Guide To Hiking The Butts
A more local Asheville hiking trail off of the Blue Ridge Parkway past the Craggy area — about 1 hour and 10 minutes from AVL — uncover largely quiet trails with stunning mountain views.
These trails may kick your butt, especially when you hit Point Misery. Pleasant sounding, right?
Honestly, anything with forest stairs is misery to me. However, we love Little Butt for a picnic on the rock and a good night’s sleep.
Little Butt Trail leads to Big Butt, starting at Walker Knob Overlook. The trail is about 5.1 miles, although you’ll see it labeled as longer.
Little Butt is not marked once you arrive; you’ll see a slightly hidden rock with incredible views of the Black Mountain range.
If you want to tack another mile onto your trip, head to Big Butt, which is an elevated climb without the Little Butt views.
There are also multiple Asheville hiking trails around here. Before the trailhead, you’ll see markers for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Across the street, you’ll find a trail for Glassmine Falls.
Looking Glass Rock Trail
Address: Looking Glass Rock Trailhead, Brevard, NC 28712
Length: 6.5-mile out and back hike
You cannot miss the huge stone on the BRP that is Looking Glass Rock. About 45-minutes from downtown Asheville, this Asheville hiking trail is popular in the winter (but be careful).
Upper Looking Glass Cliffs offers stunning views, and this hike is considered more moderate to difficult as you climb over 1,700 feet in under 3 miles.
You’ll want to budget quite a bit of time for the Looking Glass Rock Trail hike as it is about 6.5 miles round trip.
Trombatore Trail To Blue Ridge Pastures
Address: 4854 Bearwallow Mountain Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28792 (Across from Bearwallow Mountain)
Length: 5-mile out and back
Grab Our Complete Guide To Trombatore Trail
We are all about hiking around Asheville, NC on those quiet trails and enjoying a picnic to ourselves.
If you are looking for a more strenuous and well-labeled hike, we highly recommend Trombatore Trail across from Bearwallow Mountain Trail.
Trombatore trail follows along the Eastern Continental Divide with a 1,200-foot elevation gain and is managed by Conserving Carolina.
At the top, find views of Mount Mitchell, Bearwallow Mountain, and the Hickory Nut Gorge.
Trombatore Trail is a 5-mile out and back that is labeled as moderate to difficult. Follow the trail posts and tree markings. Private property is also clearly marked.
Most Difficult Hiking Trails Near Asheville, NC
Grandfather Trail At Grandfather Mountain
About 1.5 hours from Asheville at Grandfather Mountain, Grandfather Trail is called the “chutes and ladders” trail for its assists — cables and ladders.
Permits are required to hike Grandfather Trail. You have to be back at your car by a specific time or they will send out a search team.
Grandfather Trail is one of the most difficult hikes near Asheville and is for experienced hikers only.
This blue-blazed trail is 2.4-miles long and crosses the summit ridge from the Mile High Swinging Bridge to Calloway Peak.
We, personally, are not cool enough to hike Grandfather Trail, but I wanted to let you know that it exists.
Save The Best Hiking Trails Near Asheville For Later:
Western North Carolina Hiking By Season
What is the best time to trek certain Asheville hiking trails? Below, we’ll share our favorite times of the year for Asheville hiking locations along with a few tips and tricks for a successful visit.
It’s always best to hike early and on the weekdays if you are hoping to beat the crowds. Of course, places like Craggy Pinnacle and Black Balsam are also amazing at sunset.
Hiking near Asheville in the winter gets a little tricky. The Blue Ridge Parkway closes, the trails grow icy, and there is sporadic fog.
Always check with the National Park Service (NPS) before heading out on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It might be sunny in Asheville but not in the mountains.
Long stretches of the BRP will close, which sometimes you’ll catch first on your GPS. Find updated NPS closures here and look under ‘Weather,’ specifically to see if the Blue Ridge Parkway gates are closed.
Where can you hike near Asheville in the winter? Looking Glass Falls (the waterfall) has the potential to ice up for a beautiful picture.
We enjoy the waterfall hikes like DuPont Forest, Chimney Rock’s Hickory Falls, and Daniel Ridge Falls since the crowds dwindle down.
Bearwallow Mountain is also an easier winter hike. Grab our complete list of Asheville winter hikes here.
Spring & Summer
To us, the best hikes near Asheville, NC in the spring and summer include Black Balsam, Craggy Gardens, and Craggy Pinnacle.
The Biltmore gardens are in bloom along with The NC Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at Asheville.
You may also enjoy Lover’s Leap, Rainbow Falls, and Crabtree Falls for the quietest and prettiest spring hikes near Asheville.
If you are looking to cool off in the late summer, don’t miss Sliding Rock and Skinny Dip Falls.
Fall Foliage Hikes
For fall hiking in Asheville, we recommend the higher elevations, especially along the BRP. Graveyard Fields, Mount Pisgah, Black Balsam via the Art Loeb, and DuPont are especially nice.
Read more in our fall color forecast.
Peak fall foliage typically depends on the weather that season. Usually, the third and fourth weeks of October are a solid time to catch vibrant fall colors.
See all of the fun things you can do in Asheville in October.
Where To Stay In Asheville
Explore the best places to stay in Asheville. A few of our top suggestions:
- Aloft – Downtown Asheville – Centrally located and recently renovated, enjoy a rooftop pool, gorgeous bar, and trendy rooms.
- The Omni Grove Park Inn – Treat yourself to a luxury resort in North Asheville, complete with breathtaking sunsets, terrace bars and dining, and loads of Asheville history.
- Hampton Inn And Suites Asheville Biltmore Area – A budget-friendly but renovated hotel on busier Brevard Road that’s perfect if you wish to stay between Biltmore Estate, Downtown Asheville, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Asheville Cottages – Gorgeous 1 to 3-bedroom cottages with a private deck, housing a grill and hot tub. Find luxurious heated-floor bathrooms with rain showers, a well-stocked kitchen, and the cleanest rooms in town.
- Foundry Hotel – An oasis in Downtown Asheville, Foundry Hotel is a nod to AVL’s industrial history. Find famous restaurant Benne on Eagle while sleeping ensconced in charm and elegance.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Asheville Westgate, NC – Located off of the highway as you enter AVL, find a sleek and clean hotel at a great price.
- Black Walnut B&B Inn – Designed by Biltmore’s supervising architect, Richard Sharp-Smith, this 1899 inn is close to Downtown AVL and serves afternoon tea. Two rooms are pet-friendly.
Don’t miss out on these Asheville properties on Booking.com, too.
Which of these gorgeous hikes have you tried?
What are your favorite hikes near Asheville? What’s on your Asheville hiking bucket list? And, what’s your favorite season for hiking in Asheville?
The summation for us: We love DuPont State Forest, the Craggy Gardens area, and Black Balsam. Of course, nothing beats the fall foliage hikes near Asheville like Graveyard Fields.
Let us know you in the comments.