Asheville Hiking Trails
Asheville, Best Hiking Trails

Asheville Hikes + Hiking Trails

Ready to explore some great hikes in Asheville?  Our guide to the best Asheville hiking trails includes info on hikes in Pisgah National Forest, Mount Mitchell, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Appalachian Trail. The Asheville Adventure Guide’s Best Asheville Hiking Trails is presented by Mast General Store.

Asheville is an outdoor destination perfect for all-season exploration. For over a century people have flocked to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina to experience the wonders of nature. A lot has changed in the last century, but people’s love of outdoor adventure still remains.

Our guide to the best Asheville hiking trails will get you out and on the trail exploring some of the absolute best hikes the Asheville area has to offer when it comes to exploring the beautiful forests and scenic high peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Asheville area is blessed with an abundance of great hiking options. All in all, Asheville is home to a seemingly endless amount of hiking options that we just aren’t able to cover here. For more info, we recommend heading to Mast General Store in downtown Asheville where you can stock up on hiking gear, buy maps of the area’s trails and get local insight from the hiking experts who love to share their knowledge of their favorite trails with their customers.


mast-hiking

Asheville is an outdoor destination perfect for all-season exploration. For over a century people have flocked to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina to experience the wonders of nature. A lot has changed in the last century, but people’s love of outdoor adventure still remains.


Asheville Hiking GuideSam Knob Summit Trail (Parkway South MP 420): This 2.2-mile out and back hike starts at 5,800 feet in elevation and ascends through a “Canadian” ecosystem of evergreen forests and expansive meadows until it reaches the double peak of Sam Knob at 6,050 feet. Many say the 360-degree view from this 6,000-foot bald mountain is the best in Western North Carolina. You can do an out and back hike on the Sam Knob trail or you can do a loop by adding the Flat Laurel Creek Trail. The loop will add another 3.5 miles to the total hike.

Directions from Asheville: Head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 420. Turn right on Forest Service Rd. 816 for 1.2 miles to the parking area.


Hard Times Trail (Bent Creek Forest): This 6-mile loop uses old Forest Service road beds, and does offer patchy views of the Asheville skyline and the Biltmore Estate along the way. Head out at the bottom of the parking lot, and head left to follow the river. You’ll pass through the gate into the Arboretum property. Follow to climb up the ridge until it dips back down to where you started by the river. Bent Creek can be a maze of intersecting trails and road beds, so remember your map.

Directions from Asheville: From Asheville, head out of downtown on I-26 East and take Exit 33 onto NC 191. Turn right to head south on NC 191 for two miles. Turn right at the stoplight onto Bent Creek Ranch Road, following the brown signs to the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area (bear left at fork after 0.2 mi on this road). The paved parking area at the Hardtimes trailhead is just over two miles down this road on the left.


Deep Gap Trail (Mount Mitchell, Parkway North MP 388): In just 4.5 miles, Deep Gap Trail crosses four 6,000-foot peaks while taking hikers across rocky out croppings and through spruce-fir forests. This trail takes you down Mt. Mitchell and up to the peak of Mt. Craig. 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.



Mt. Pisgah (Parkway South MP 407.6): A steep hike with rewarding views, Mt. Pisgah is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway. This 3 mile round-trip hike takes hikers to to the 5,721’ summit of Mt. Pisgah, which includes 360 degree views, a nice wooden observation platform, and the intrigue of exploring the underside of the mountain-top transmission tower for News 13 WLOS. Although the huge metal tower is theprominent feature of the summit, the views of Cold Mountain, Shining Rock Wilderness, The Pisgah Inn, and Mt. Mitchell are the real treat. Kids especially will enjoy the mixture of the expansive views and the shiny metal bolted into stone. Although the hike is on the shorter side, it is quite steep and rocky, so plan accordingly. If you don’t want to pack a picnic for the top, then the restaurant at The Pisgah Inn is a great choice for refueling after the hike (open seasonally).

Directions from Asheville: Access the Blue Ridge Parkway at the NC Arboretum off of Highway Highway 191, and head South. The parking lot will be on the left at milepost 407.6 – head to the second lot at the back.


Asheville Hiking TrailsSkinny Dip Falls (Parkway South MP 417): This three-tiered waterfall along the Yellowstone Prong drops a total of 30 feet through a
rocky bend in an ice-cold mountain stream. Perched on the edge of the tallest falls is a rock that juts over a deep plunge pool. While we can’t
say that the waterfalls are amazing, we do think this adventure is worth the effort due to the deep water hole and proximity to the Parkway. We recommend working up a good sweat by exploring the nearby Mountains to Sea trail. Jump at your own risk and clothing is optional.

Directions from Asheville: Take 1-240W to I-26 E to Exit 33. Take a left on to NC 191 towards the Blue Ridge Parkway for 2 miles. Follow the signs to get on the Parkway and head south (a right turn). From here it is 30+ miles to the Looking Glass Rock Overlook, milepost 417. The trail begins on the other side of the road. Follow the trail about 400 feet to the Mountains to Sea trail and turn left to falls.


Graveyard Fields Trail (Parkway South 410): A moderate 3.2-mile out and back hike through a high alpine valley with two picturesque waterfalls. Start the hike at the lower end of the parking area. To access Second Falls, veer right after crossing the viewing platform to reach the bottom of the waterfall. Upper Falls is located upstream and is a moderate hike on mostly flat terrain in a beautiful setting.

Directions from Asheville: Head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 410 to parking area for Graveyard Fields Overlook.


Mountains To Sea Trail (Asheville): Take a stroll on the gently rolling Mountains to Sea Trail at one of the many access points near Asheville. We like to hop on the trail near Town Mountain Road and head North for a few miles for a fun, close-to-town hike. After your hike, head over to the nearby Grove Park Inn for drinks and dinner (reservations recommended) overlooking Asheville and the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains.

Directions from Asheville: Head up Town Mountain Road to the Blue Ridge Parkway to a gravel pull off on the left.



Asheville Hiking Trails Expert: Mast General Store

15 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC

(828) 232-1883 || www.mastgeneralstore.com



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