Our guide to the best Asheville dog friendly adventures will help get you out on the trail with your pup and start exploring some of the absolute best pet-friendly adventures the Asheville area has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a dog park, a spot to take Fido for a swim or an epic overnight adventure, you’ll find a few of our favorite recommended adventures in the individual listings below. For information on the best dog friendly adventures and the best car to get you and your dog to the trailhead, be sure and stop by the Prestige Subaru Adventure Center at 599 Tunnel Road, Asheville, NC.
Trail Tip: Leash laws vary throughout the area. Please be aware of posted regulations.
ALEXANDER MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK (ALEXANDER): Located adjacent to the French Broad River about 15 minutes north of town, this seldom used mountain bike park offers a variety of sweet singletrack for you and your pooch. Combine the two loops for an intermediate ride of an hour and a half. There is not much water along the trail so either bring some water for your dog or hit the French Broad River after the ride.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-26 W/ US 19-23 N to Exit 19A Marshall/Hot Springs. Take Hwy 25/70 toward Marshall to the second light. Turn left onto Monticello Rd. to River Rd. Turn right on River Rd. for several miles to the signed parking area on the right.
AZALEA PARK (ASHEVILLE): Azalea Park, Asheville’s newest park, located along the Swannanoa River in east Asheville has several dog friendly options. The real gems of the park are the Swannanoa River and great mountain views. There is a trail that runs along the river that is ideal for a flat, easy walk with your dog. The hidden gems of the park are the numerous river “beaches.” To access the beach and other river spots, drive past all of the soccer fields, park on the right side of the road and head down to the river to explore the various access points. If you are feeling really adventurous, cross over the river and explore the trails on the other side. If Fido needs some social time, then head to the dog park about 1/4 mile past the park.
Directions from Asheville: Take -240 E to Exit 8. Left on Fairview Rd., right on Swannanoa River Rd./Hwy. 81 and pass the golf course on the left. Take a right on Gashes Creek Rd. and continue straight onto Azalea Rd. to the park on the right.
WARREN WILSON COLLEGE TRAILS (SWANNANOA): The trails at Warren Wilson College are numerous and our personal favorites. Your best bet for dog friendly adventure is the River Trail. The payoff is that it runs parallel to the Swannanoa River with lots of opportunities to get wet. Recently, Warren Wilson College has added some enormous, intimidating signs that warn of this and that including having your dog on leash. Don’t let these signs scare you off – trust us – these trails rock.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 E to I-40 E to Exit 55. Turn left off exit to Tunnel Rd./US 70. Turn right for 2 miles on US 70 E to the first stop light. Turn left at light onto Warren Wilson Rd. Go about 1.5 miles to parking on left at the river.
NORTH MILLS RIVER RECREATION AREA (MILLS RIVER): 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. Head up to the Trace Ridge trailhead which gives you access to the Trace Ridge, Fletcher Creek and North Mills River trails. This area is vast so we highly recommend a trail map. Also be sure to keep a close watch on your dog as the area is a popular mountain biking destination.
EXPLORE MONTREAT TRAILS (BLACK MOUNTAIN): The trail system above Montreat College boasts over 20 miles of hiking trails on 2500 pristine acres. With so many trails to choose from we suggest stopping at the Montreat Conference Center to pick up a trail map. A suggested 5 mile moderate hike with access to water would be the Greybeard Trail to Pot Cove Gap to the Trestle Trail to Walker’s Knob (4780 feet) back down Greybeard.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 E to I-40 E to Exit 64 (Black Mountain), Turn left off exit and continue on Hwy 9 through Black Mountain through the stone entrance into Montreat. The Montreat Conference Center will be 1 mile on your left.
SHUT IN RIDGE TRAIL (BENT CREEK PARK): This 16.3-mile trail starts near the N.C. Arboretum, and follows a section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. With tough climbs and the long one-way mileage, most users opt for an out and back option, going whichever distance suits them. If you have a way to leave a vehicle, then there are plenty of access points along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including the top end at the Mt. Pisgah parking lot.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-26 E to exit 33 for NC-191 S/Brevard Road, and take a right off the exit ramp. Follow 191 for about 3.5 miles to the Bent Creek Park lot on the left – right on the river. The trail starts by following the path through the bridge that will take you under the road. Once you cross the street, stay left and you’ll see the trailhead.
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 including our favorite Lexington Ave Brewery.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to exit 4A/ I-26 W to exit 25 at UNC-A and head south onto Riverside Dr for 1 mile. Turn right 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.