Asheville, North Carolina is a veritable playground for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. With hundreds of fun and exciting things to do outdoors in Asheville, NC, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but we’re here to make planning your next outdoor activity in Asheville easier than ever before.
Perfect Weekend Adventure Guide: Asheville, NC
Richmond Hill Park (Asheville): Located just minutes from downtown Asheville, Richmond Hill Park offers disc golfers and mountain bikers in Asheville an easy opportunity to get outdoors and into the woods. The park offers more than three miles (with plans to build more) of mountain biking on speedy singletrack trails with just enough technical difficulty to make things exciting. For disc golfers looking to test their skills, this 18-hole course nestled in a dense hardwood forest offers just such a challenge. While dogs are required to be on leash, we do consider this a ‘dog friendly’ adventure. After the adventure you are a mere 2 miles from downtown which means lots of local breweries. We like: Lexington Ave. Brewery for great beers and food with options for overnight lodging in the heart of downtown at Sweet Peas Hostel located upstairs. 39 N. Lexington Ave / 828-252-0212
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to exit 4A/ I-26 W to exit 5A/I-26W. Stay right and exit on Hill St. exit. Turn left on Hill St., then turn right on Riverside Dr. Turn left on Pearson Bridge Rd. and head .5 mile and take a right on Richmond Hill Dr. Follow for .5 mile and veer right at top of hill through neighborhood to dead-end at parking area.
Float the French Broad: When it comes to a relaxing summer adventure, nothing beats a leisurely float and paddle down the French Broad River near Asheville. Add in a few pit stops at some of the local watering holes and you’ve got yourself an adventure to remember. We recommend launching at Hominy Creek Park before paddling down to the River Arts District where you can chain up the boats at the river access below the Haywood Bridge and make the short walk over to The Wedge Brewery for a taste of one of their signature Iron Rail IPAs. From the Wedge, head down the river through a series of shoals where the river picks up the pace a bit before the takeout at French Broad Outfitters located on the banks of the river where you’ll find great drinks, local beers and an outdoor area with grills, games and frequent live music.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to exit 1B (Brevard Rd.). Turn right off the ramp to an immediate left onto Shelburne Rd, then first left again onto Hominy Creek Rd. Best bets for taking out are at The Wedge Brewery / 125B Roberts St. / 828-505-2792 and French Broad Outfitters / 704 Riverside Dr. / (828) 505-7371.
Go Climbing: If you are looking to do some climbing at one of the best known climbing establishments in Asheville, head over to Climbmax Climbing Center. Head indoors to test your moves on over 4000 square feet of climbing space. If you want to feel the sunshine while climbing, take a lap on their 40 foot outdoor climbing wall. The good thing about this climbing gym is that it has a challenge for all types of climbers—beginners, advanced, kids, adults, etc. Also, be sure to ask for Asheville’s own climbing guru—Stuart Cowles.
Directions from Asheville: This is located in the heart of downtown on 43 Wall Street; one block over from the Grove Arcade.
Fish The North Mills River: For anglers looking to get off the beaten path and into the forest, look no further than the delayed-harvest waters of the North Mills River. Located halfway between Brevard and Asheville, the tight confines of the river’s forested banks, small pools and crystal clear waters offer a nice change of scenery from many of the roadside fishing destinations popular across western North Carolina. From the fishing near the entrance to the forest at the paved parking area to the seldom seen holes deep in the forest, the North Mills River Recreation Area offers anglers a variety of types of different fishing conditions sure to suit nearly everyone. As a delayed harvest river, hooking up with a stocked trout is easiest during spring, but gets tougher as the pressure increases. The summer through winter seasons also offer anglers looking for a challenge a chance to see if their skills are enough to make trout rise to the occasion.
Directions from Asheville: Head south out of Asheville on I-26 to exit 40/Airport Road. Turn right toward Brevard/Mills River and follow for 4 miles to North Mills RIver Road and turn right and continue to the North Mills River Recreation Area Campground.
Town Mountain Road Ride: Town Mountain Road is awesome for a quick out and back cycling adventure for anyone looking to get some exercise without driving out of downtown. The road ride is 5 miles of calf burning bliss up to where the road meets the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once at the top bomb it down the hill 5 miles back into downtown Asheville. Expect a twisty ride featuring some nice Asheville cityscape with stellar mountain views. The Adventure Collective recommends this as the perfect pre-work day outdoor cycling adventure.
Directions from Asheville: This ride is downtown off College Street right before you get to the Beaucatcher Tunnel east of downtown Asheville. Turn left off of College Street onto Town Mountain Road. Look for street or public parking on College Street.
Bent Creek Trails: Over 30 miles of mountain bike trails make Bent Creek the go-to spot for Asheville locals looking to get in some fun, flowy miles during the work week or on weekends. Whether looking for long gravel routes for training or seeking out steep technical terrain, riders will find a good mix of both at Bent Creek. The most popular downhill trails include Green’s Lick, Ingles Field Gap and Lower Sidehill. We recommend making the climb to Five Points and checking out the countless variations available.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to I-26 E and get off on Exit 33, NC 191/Brevard Rd. Turn left and head south on NC 191 for 2 miles. Turn right at the stoplight onto Bent Creek Ranch Road about 2 miles and look for parking at the Rice Pinnacle Parking Area.
Explore the RiverWay: Carrier Park and the French Broad River Park are the jewels of the 17-mile Wilma Dykeman RiverWay. At these two conjoined parks along Amboy Road, you can run or skate the paved greenways, fish from the piers, or pedal Asheville’s velodrome. Also be sure to check out the bocce fields, the dog park, volleyball and basketball courts, and softball fields. Recently, a new section was added just past Carrier Park that heads south along the river towards Bent Creek.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to Exit 1-B (Farmers Market, Hwy. 191). Turn left at the light and pass over I-240. Turn left at the very next light (I-240 E/ I-26 W) and stay in the right lane. Take Exit 1-C (Amboy Rd.). There are two parking areas along Amboy Rd.—Carrier Park is the first on your right; the French Broad River Park will be on your left a few miles down Amboy.
Deep Gap Trail (Mt. Mitchell, Parkway North MP 388): In just 4.5 miles, Deep Gap Trail, which is also known as the Black Mountain Crest Trail, crosses four 6,000-foot peaks while taking hikers across rocky out croppings and through spruce-fir forests. While this is a rugged trail that makes hikers work for their views of the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, the views from the peaks of Mt. Craig, Big Tom, Cattail Peak and Potato Hill are among the best in the East. Campers should consider getting an early start to make it to Deep Gap in order to grab a tent site at the popular National Forest campsite. Don’t forget your binoculars because this is a great spot to catch a glimpse of the Winter Wren and Blackburnian Warbler.
Directions from Asheville: Head north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 388 to the entrance of Mt. Mitchell State Park. The trail starts near the picnic area.
Warren Wilson Trails: Explore miles of singletrack carving through rolling meadows and beautiful forests providing seemingly endless options for exploration. One of our favorites is the River Trail that runs parallel to the Swannanoa River providing a nice flat run over varied terrain including roots and rocks with plenty of spots to cool off after a run.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 E to I-40 E to Exit 55. Turn left off exit and follow to Tunnel Rd./US 70. Turn right onto US 70 E and travel 2 miles to the first stop light. Turn left at light onto Warren Wilson Rd. Go about 1.5 miles to parking on left.
Paddle Whitewater: Make a trip down one of several area rivers and experience the thrill of whitewater. The French Broad, Pigeon and Nantahala rivers all offer great family-friendly options near Asheville, while kayakers can often be seen catching waves and running rapids at Ledges Whitewater Park in Asheville. With multiple play spots and fun waves, a variety of downriver lines and a flat, easy approach, this park offers boaters a close-to-town whitewater park perfect for an afternoon session.
Local Brew: Head to the LAB to grab a great lunch and get started with their delicious brews before making your way to the South Slope’s Brewery District to sample craft brews from some of Asheville’s up-and-coming breweries. Bring in the weekend outdoors by heading to Highland Brewing on Friday afternoons where patrons will find live music, food trucks and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere in their large grassy field.
Killer Tunes: The Orange Peel is one of the most well respected live music venues in the Southeast and hosts big name acts and up and comers alike. The Grey Eagle brings great bands to their rustic stage for an intimate concert experience that will have you reminscing about the great times for years to come.
Relax At A Spa: Shoji Retreat (96 Avondale Heights Rd. 828-299-1999): Japanese style outdoor hot tubs and cold plunges with mountain views.
Savor The Flavor: French Broad Chocolate Lounge’s tagline is “a sacred space for chocophiles.”After trying their liquid truffle, we think you will agree. Don’t miss out on the hand-carfted artisanal chocalates and pastries at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.