Welcome to Asheville Adventure Guide’s Best Running Adventures. Below you will find information on the the best runs in the Asheville, NC area including the Mountain to Sea Trail, Bent Creek, DuPont State Forest, Hot Springs, and Montford. Enjoy!!
The Mountains to Sea Trail parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway on the edge of Asheville, offering trail runners easy access to extensive forest runs. From the Folk Art Center, head north for a steady climb up to the Haw Creek Overlook, or head south for an easier out and back over rolling terrain.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 E to Exit 7/Tunnel Rd./US 70. Take Tunnel Rd./US 70 E (left off the exit) for about 3 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take a right off Tunnel Rd./US 70 E to get on to the Parkway. At the stop sign turn right onto the Parkway. The Folk Art Center is about 1/4 mile on your left. Park there and look for the white, Mountains to Sea trail blaze.
Combine the 2.1-mile Wolf Branch and the .6-mile Ledford Trail to create a seamless singletrack run across streambeds and through pine and fern forests. Bent Creek is an endless outdoor paradise so grab a map and add some other trails for a longer run.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to I-26 E and get off on Exit 2, NC 191. Turn left and head south on NC 191 for 2 miles. Turn right at the stoplight onto Bent Creek Ranch Road about 2 miles. We like the parking lot off 479 (dirt road) just past the Hardtimes trailhead parking.
Singletrack that crosses the Little River and ends at one of Dupont’s most famous waterfalls, Bridal Veil Falls. The Corn Mills Shoals Trail is a little over 2.5 miles to the waterfall. After viewing the falls, you could hit the Bridal Overlook Trail (.5 miles) that connects back up with the Corn Mills Shoals Trail. Lots of options off of Corn Mills Shoals trail so be sure to download or pick up a map before heading out.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-26 E to Exit 40, and take NC 280 toward Pisgah Forest. Turn left (east) on US 64 and go 3.7 miles to the Texaco station in Penrose. Turn right on Crab Creek Rd. and continue 4.3 miles. Turn south 5.3 miles on DuPont Road that turns into Staton Road. Go past the Hooker Falls and Buck Forest Access Areas to a left at the end of Staton Road on Cascade Lakes Road. The Corn Mills Shoals Access Area is 0.8 miles on the right.
Part run, part steep hike, the Lover’s Leap Loop follows the Appalachian Trail from downtown Hot Springs, along the French Broad River, and climbs the ridge to Lover’s Leap rock overlooking the river and the surrounding mountains. Take Lover’s Leap Trail back down the ridge for a 2-mile loop.
Directions from Asheville: Take 1-26 W/US 19/23 N to Weaverville then US 25/ US 70 W to Hot Springs. If you park in town head north on Bridge Street and cross the bridge over the French Broad River. Be sure to follow the white Appalachian Trail blazes. After crossing the bridge step over the guard rail and follow the path to the street below. Continue to head up river following the AT blazes until the trail takes a sharp turn up the mountain.
Starting from the northern edge of downtown, the historic neighborhood of Montford is packed with century-old arts and crafts architecture as well as the Riverside Cemetery, a popular running destination with car-free paths passing by the gravesites of Asheville’s most prominent citizens, including Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry. If you head straight down Montford Ave. be sure to check out some side streets to get a real feel for Asheville living. Also, save some energy for the long steady climb back up Montford Ave. (my Montford neighborhood friends call it a climb, I call them sissies…)
Directions from Asheville: This run is just north of downtown so a great parking spot is at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce which is located at 36 Montford Ave. right off I-240 Exit 4C.