But in the winter, you can’t reach it. A 30-minute drive from downtown, north on the Blue Ridge Parkway, will bring you to … The hike takes you in a loop around the ruins of an old summer home. One of the flattest hikes near Asheville is the Laurel River Trail in Pisgah National Forest. Bearwallow Mountain is one of the great rainy-day hikes near Asheville. The change in seasons slowly creeps down the mountainsides. Location: Weaverville, NC, 22 miles northeast of Asheville. Not seen this pink color here though . Since this post is about easy hikes near Asheville that are under five miles, return the way you came. Alternatively, continue another half-mile and pick up the John Rock Trail on the other side (for a very steep, eroded, but quick ascent). From here, the trail breaks away from the river and climbs just under 1,000 feet through the mountain laurels. That’s what you’ll see along the Big East Fork/Pigeon River hike. You’ll even see some of the quartz boulders that give Shining Rock its name. Milepost 375. Just use common sense. Or, if you would like to learn about longer and more difficult hiking or backpacking routes, I can help you with that too. Driving distance and time from downtown Asheville: 55 minutes / 44 miles. Also, if you've got say 4 hrs, it might be nicer to drive 45 minutes to an hour each way and spend 2.5-2 hrs hiking to a spectacular spot rather than stay within your 30 minute range and hike to an okay spot for 3 hrs. Looking Glass Rock is the most famous (mainly because it’s visible along the Blue Ridge Parkway). You can return the way you came for a very short but extremely beautiful hike. I still haven’t driven the entire Parkway! The trail stops about 100 yards away from the falls but you can bushwhack/scramble for a closer look. Do you use MapsMe as well as AllTrails? 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. I recommend taking it — the ascent in this direction is longer, but more gradual. You’ll arrive at it from the bottom — a steep trail to the right takes you to the base of the falls. Many of these hikes are at under 2,000 feet of elevation, but as you head up 276, you’ll get up to almost 5,000 feet. Asheville is one of my favorite places and I’d love to go back again someday so I can do a bunch of hikes! My section on the Smokies is short for now — most of the hikes I’ve done in the park are more than five miles long. ta.queueForLoad : function(f, g){document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', f);})(function(){ta.trackEventOnPage('postLinkInline', 'impression', 'postLinks-73747403', '');}, 'log_autolink_impression');Max Patch as well, but didn't because it's more like an hour plus drive. People get lost and need emergency rescues all the time because they were counting on the Internet for directions. Return the way you came. After you climb a steep staircase, the overlook is about 0.1 miles ahead on your right. It works well offline, it’s just the contours are less good compared to Alltrails. Hiking through rhododendron, mountain laurel and open fields at 6,000 feet results in jaw-dropping scenery. Walk along the outside for 360-degree ridge-line views. 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 … The hike is almost completely flat, but the terrain is tough. Easy hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville. You could even push a stroller to some of the falls here! From the parking area, you’ll see a small Mountains to Sea trail post — but after 0.1 miles, you’ll come to the junction with the Snowball Trail. I’m so ready for cooler weather. Yay! I was going to suggest (ta && ta.queueForLoad ? The Appalachian Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail are also clearly marked. I don’t recommend this hike when the Blue Ridge Parkway is open. 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. Asheville/camping trip late March/early April. Each season has its advantages. Most of them are off the beaten path. The Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville has a completely different character than the southern section. It passes three beautiful waterfalls at the beginning, climbs a small ridge, and covers two more waterfalls near the end. 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. Regardless of which season you choose, keep in mind that the temperature at 5,000 feet is about 15 degrees cooler than in Asheville. Another wooden staircase leads to the base of the falls. I love all trails, but I find sometimes the downloaded maps won’t load…that is when I look at MapsMe instead. The better option is to take the (clearly marked) gravel trail to complete the loop. You have a good chance of being the only person there. The one downside is it has limited trails in its database. Nice! // A moderate to difficult 2.3 mile hike. Twin Falls is my all-time favorite winter hike near Asheville. Black Balsam Knob is the best sunrise/sunset spot in the region. I’ve been to Asheville numerous times, but always with non-hikers. Rattlesnake Lodge is a great winter hike. Plus, you can see the fire tower at the top the whole way. You’ll need to use hands and feet in a few short sections. Finally, continue along the trail to High Falls. For the purposes of this list of easy hikes near Asheville, you can turn around anytime you want. Wear layers! This is the largest waterfall of the three, at 150 feet in a single drop. Mitchell, the highest … 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). Mount Pisgah may be the most iconic mountain in the area — you can see it from everywhere in downtown Asheville. It’s not marked, but it could not be more obvious which way to go. Also be prepared for completely washed-out trails, high river crossings, and extremely steep slopes. These answers depend very much on where you are. Where you can see elk, black bears, and dozens of species of endemic salamanders. At the top, you can see all the way into the Roan Highlands. The Little Pisgah Hike starts from Elk Pasture Gap. A steep descent brings you to Buck Springs Gap Overlook and a spectacular view over Asheville and southern Pisgah National Forest. It’s usually warm enough in July and August. There’s so much more to explore in this region for me. Any discounts for Inn at Biltmore Estate? Yay I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed your trips to AVL! Hope to see some of these views soon! It climbs for a mile along a dirt road. 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 . Once you reach the trailhead, it’s a one-mile, flat, marked, wide trail to the 70-foot waterfall itself. I once wandered around the summit for over an hour thinking I was going one way when it turned out I was just going in circles. March-June brings out spectacular wildflowers — mountain laurels first, then rhododendrons. 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. 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. These hikes are almost all inaccessible from December-March when the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed. Western North Carolina is the most beautiful place in the entire U.S. (not that I’m biased or anything as a local). My car is a tiny Honda Insight and I’ve never been unable to reach a trailhead. Craggy Pinnacle is the easiest hike in the area. Then, follow the gravel path to Toms Branch Falls, where you can grab one of the wooden benches for a picnic overlooking the national park’s most perfect waterfall. Then, continue another mile along the flat low-elevation trail to reach the start of the loop. It also has some of the flattest, easiest trails accessible for people of all hiking experience levels. Additional note: I spend every weekend on the trails, so I’ll keep adding to this post as I discover great short hikes. But it’s also, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful sections of the park. I’d only drive this in a high-clearance vehicle after it’s been dry for a couple days. from anywhere on the trail, you can identify the peaks around you and know which way is north). Length: … You’ll see a lot of people swimming in the river here, and many of the alternative Shining Rock hikes cross the river. You could take the BRP west from (ta && ta.queueForLoad ? Continue up the trail for several other viewpoints. Hiking – Western North Carolina. And best of all, you can reach it on an easy, less-than-a-mile-long paved road. This one wanders along Big Laurel Creek. It would help if you could tell us how much time total you are willing to set aside for hiking and driving to the hike, and also if you only are looking for mountain top views or if another good view (such as a waterfall, etc) would work for you. Perfect for the whole fam, this 100-foot waterfall has an amazing view + is a perfect spot for an afternoon picnic. What it lacks in views, it makes up for in historical intrigue. You can extend the hike since it is part of the Mountains to Sea Trail. This is one of the best hikes in the area. The most biodiverse national park in the U.S. Where you can find waterfalls and ridge-lines. My favorite spot is along the bridge about halfway — it feels like you’re standing in a Pacific Northwest-like pine forest that was dropped into the middle of the meadows of the Shenandoah Valley. There is no point in doing this hike once the leaves are on the trees — the waterfalls are completely obscured. You are so lucky to live nearby sooo many gorgeous trails! Signs clearly mark every intersection, and the Cat Gap trail is blazed but John Rock is not. However, if you still have energy, continue another two miles to the Upper Falls. There are so many amazing hikes nearby and you’ve gone into so much detail here. Experience springtime in the mountains. The parkway will open back up if not. Oh nice, that’s an easy 4-day weekend trip! It might rain cats-n-dogs in one area and be sunny and mild in another. It’s about half a mile from the Hooker Falls Parking Area. Take one of the small side trails to the 180-degree viewpoints before returning the way you came. Park at the Graveyard Fields Parking Area, which has restrooms. Route 276 is the main thoroughfare. If you’re renting a car for your Asheville vacation, I’d go with something high-clearance! This hike starts from a dirt parking lot about a mile south of Pisgah Inn. Dupont in the winter is a sea of icy evergreen trees. The drive is worth it though - fantastic views. And they really do get better the higher you go. 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. Triple Falls Trail. The trail ends at a river crossing where you can’t go any further on the left side. Drive from Asheville: 19.6 miles / 39 minutes away. The vegetation and landscape along this trail is completely unique — I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else in the world. Most moderately fit people should be able to do it. www.raysweather.com is a good source. You’ll truly understand how the Blue Ridge Mountains got their name! This is another area where you have to be mindful of road closures. Follow the orange blazes. This hike starts at the High Falls Parking Area. Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests are a bit more remote. Members who are knowledgeable about this destination and volunteer their time to answer travelers' questions. These include popular destinations like Shining Rock and Middle Prong. 5. I do notttt have the patience for all the slow drivers and cyclists lol. Craggy Pinnacle Hike. While it can get crowded, the trails are very wide, so it’s easy to spread out. If you’ve seen The Hunger Games, you surely recognize Bridal Veil Falls. You could spend weeks here without getting bored! The trail begins from a parking area (with restrooms) a mile off the Parkway. But I promise, the views are 150% worth it. Ask anyone from Asheville where their favorite hikes are and they’ll say Shining Rock Wilderness. More Info The mountain laurels in spring are unbelievable. ta.queueForLoad : function(f, g){document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', f);})(function(){ta.trackEventOnPage('postLinkInline', 'impression', 'postLinks-73754801', '');}, 'log_autolink_impression');Catawba Falls, you might consider doing the nearby Point Lookout Trail as well. Best for: People going crazy with cabin fever. Explore the best hiking destinations near Asheville, NC, including the Art Loeb Trail, Black Balsam Knob, Looking Glass Rock, and the DuPont Recreational Forest. After about half a mile it flattens out and meanders over gently rolling, pine-forest-clad hills. Between 10 am and 3 pm you’ll often have to parallel park a ways from the trailhead, especially on summer weekends. Scramble up to the summit of Mount Craig, with its 180-degree views, before returning the way you came. The Rattlesnake Lodge Trail has one really great view, but lots of historical intrigue. 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’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. 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. Chimney Rock is another option (but a little further than 30 minutes). This former logging road-turned-trail is perfect for waterside picnics and also, a great place to fish. I'd play it by ear and check the local weather. 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Authentic general store featuring quality goods, traditional clothing and custom fit shoes minimal. September-November is peak leaf hikes within 30 minutes of asheville and drier than the rest of the East Coast are here... Trails lead to small lookouts best views of Black Balsam Knob is the paid version of Falls... Cool the more I hear about it about 0.1 miles ahead on your phone and a. And other holidays might rain cats-n-dogs in one area and follow the signs to the Upper Falls at intersections not! I can imagine photographing all the way you came a trip out soon.

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