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Besides drinking beer, hiking around Asheville, NC is one of our favorite activities. Asheville and Western North Carolina (WNC) are filled with waterfalls, hiking trails, pastures, and beautiful wildlife and wildflowers. I’m not sure if we will ever make it to every single trail in WNC — but we are sure going to try.
If you are looking for a short and easy hike near Asheville perfect for families and picnicking, we suggest Bearwallow Mountain Trail. This under 2-mile round trip hike offers two routes that vary in difficulty — and/or you can use both to form a loop.
Unlike other hikes, Bearwallow Mountain offers grazing cows with attitudes, panoramic views, and the perfect spot for pictures and picnics.
As Asheville locals, we’ll share our tips and tricks for the Bearwallow Mountain Trail as well as provide fun ideas for what to explore and do once you complete your hike. Let’s get started!
Quick Bearwallow Mountain Trail Stats:
Distance From Asheville, North Carolina: 40-minutes; 22-miles
Address: Bearwallow Mountain Trail: 4854 Bearwallow Mountain Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28792
Parking: Around the trailhead on side of the road; please don’t block the private gate
Hike Difficulty: Easy (gravel access road trail) to moderate (trail to meadow)
Length of Bearwallow Mountain Trail: 2-miles round trip (the access road is slightly shorter than the forest trail)
Duration Of Hike: Around 1-hour total
Type Of Hike: Out and back or loop if you use both trails; gravel access road or easily moderate hiking trail available; you can also add Trombatore Trail — a strenuous hike — for a total of 7 miles.
Why Bearwallow Mountain Trail?
Personally, we have been loving the Conserving Carolina trails, including Bearwallow Mountain and Trombatore Trail to Blue Ridge Pastures. So far, they have been well-maintained and well-marked. Both are scenic and offer maps and informational boards at the trailheads.
Bearwallow Mountain is especially known for its hiking trails to a gorgeous meadow with wide-open mountain views. Keep in mind, Bearwallow Mountain’s peak is 4,232-feet.
On a clear day, you can spy Mt. Mitchell, the Black Mountains, Mt. Pisgah, the Great Smoky Mountains, and sneak a peek into Hickory Nut Gorge. Views go as far out as South Carolina. Like the Trombatore Trail, Bearwallow Mountain is aligned with the Eastern Continental Divide.
This hike is both family and animal-friendly, and if you take the gravel access road up to the meadow, you don’t have to be fully decked out in hiking gear.
The hike up to the pasture is scenic with wildflowers, babbling streams, and trees. At the top, if you are lucky, you’ll catch grazing cows that will give you some shady side-eye while you picnic. This is a working farm.
Many people hike here for yoga, sunsets, kite flying — please watch out for the power lines — and stargazing. Bring a blanket and pack a picnic — but also be prepared to take your trash with you. There are no facilities. Also, expect cow perfume and, well, quite a few cow pies.
Unlike Fryingpan Mountain Tower, the fire tower you see here is off-limits.
If you are feeling adventurous, don’t forget you can hike both Trombatore Trail and Bearwallow Mountain Trail in the same day for a total of 7-miles round trip. The trailheads are across the street from each other.
When Is The Best Time To Hike Bearwallow Mountain Trail?
Like the Trombatore Trail, we enjoy Bearwallow Mountain in the fall and winter. Other fall hiking trails, especially around the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Pisgah/Graveyard Fields area, tend to get incredibly busy during peak foliage.
This hike is also perfect year-round, and it’s also great to catch a sunset — just don’t forget to bring a headlamp or flashlights.
Because the Bearwallow Mountain hike is less-frequented, you can also arrive a little later in the morning and on weekends without having to worry about the crowds. Parking is still limited — if you go with a group, they suggest carpooling.
Where Is Bearwallow Mountain Trail?
From Asheville take I-240 to US-74 Alt East toward Bat Cave. Stay on US-74 Alt. You’ll turn right onto Bearwallow Mountain Road and land on a gravel road, which can be rough on your car. Passing becomes difficult, and be careful on turns.
When you reach the top, you’ll see cars pulled off along the road, a metal gate, and marked entrances for Trombatore and Bearwallow.
If You Love Bearwallow Mountain Trail, Try…
Trombatore Trail is a strenuous to moderately difficult 5-mile out and back for slightly more experienced hikers. We personally think it’s a tad more on the moderate side — it’s the 1,200-feet elevation gain and length that really gets you. I highly recommend packing extra water and food.
Well-labeled, you’ll pass streams, wildflowers, and an old buckeye tree. At the top, you can picnic in Blue Ridge Pastures with views of Bearwallow Mountain, Hickory Nut Gorge, and Mount Mitchell.
What Can You Do After Hiking Bearwallow Mountain Trail?
Shop & Dine In Downtown Hendersonville
We love downtown Hendersonville. Find a chocolate factory, beer, vintage shops, cafes, and restaurants. To eat, we like Postero — southern American cuisine — and sushi from Umi, which is always packed.
We love wine tasting, and Hendersonville and it’s surrounding areas have a ton of wineries, including:
If the orchards are open for the season, grab a cinnamon cider donut, pick some apples, or get lost in a bamboo forest along ‘Apple Alley.’ A few fall apple orchards to check out include:
Since Bearwallow Mountain Trail is such a short hike, why not grab food or beer in Asheville? Plus, Asheville is full of literary tourism, shops, bars, and Biltmore. Read our complete list of 50 things to do in Asheville here→
Where Can You Stay Overnight Near Bearwallow Mountain Trail?
Bearwallow Mountain Trail is close to Asheville and downtown Hendersonville.
Our Hendersonville Accommodation Rec:
1898 Waverly Inn Bed and Breakfast. We love this cute B&B. They host a social happy hour with friendly hosts. You can walk into downtown Hendersonville.
Don’t miss these Airbnb stays in Hendersonville, too.
If you are looking for Asheville-based hotels:
Aloft – Downtown Asheville – The Aloft is newly renovated and hipster. The views from The Ledge are stunning, and they have a rooftop pool with mountain views.
Hampton Inn And Suites Asheville Biltmore Area – We stayed at this Hampton Inn before we moved to Asheville, NC. It’s across from the Asheville Outlets, and they are a great central location between all of the hiking trails, Blue Ridge Parkway, Biltmore, and Asheville.
Don’t miss these Airbnb stays in Asheville.
Have you hiked Bearwallow Mountain? What are your favorite hiking trails around Asheville, NC for picnics?
Have you been to Bearwallow Mountain Trail and enjoyed a picnic with the cows? What other hiking trails do you enjoy throughout Western North Carolina?
Do you have any questions? Please let us know in the comments.