North Mills River Recreation Area
The North Mills River Recreation Area as viewed from the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Mills River Overlook. Photo by Andre Dougherty

North Mills River Recreation Area (Asheville)

Dog Friendly

North Mills River Dog Friendly Recreation Area: The vast Mills River area is part of Pisgah National Forest opposite Bent Creek just across the Pisgah Ridge. We like this area for the many camping options and rivers to explore. A great option in the area is to head up to the Trace Ridge trailhead which gives you access to the Trace Ridge, Fletcher Creek and North Mills River trails. This area has a lot of great hiking options, so be sure and grab a trail map before heading out as cell phone service is limited in the area. For a relatively short and easy hike that takes you down to the water, we recommend heading down the recently revamped Lower Trace Ridge Trail (thanks Pisgah Area Sorba!) where you’ll find water and easy hiking along the North Mills River.

North Mills River Recreation Area

Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to I-26 E to Exit 40/Airport Rd. Turn right onto Airport Rd for 3 miles to North Mills River Rd./NC 1345. Turn right and follow for 5 miles to the recreation area. To get to the Trace Ridge trailhead make a right onto Wash Creek Road/FR 479, follow this for several miles. Turn left onto the first un-gated gravel road which has a concrete low-water bridge, follow this 0.5 mile to the Trace Ridge trailhead and parking lot.

The Adventure Collective

The Adventure Collective publishes a series of outdoor adventure sports guides to adventures in Asheville, Boone, Brevard, Chattanooga, Charleston and The Great Smoky Mountains.

View stories