Best Hikes Near Asheville, NC

Asheville, North Carolina is rapidly becoming a “must do” destination due to its abundant food scene, diverse local culture, and thousands of surrounding pristine mountain acreage. For outdoor enthusiasts, Asheville offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best hikes near Asheville, ranking them based on difficulty, trail features, and overall experience. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or lacing up your boots for the first time, hiking trails near Asheville provide endless amounts of opportunity to explore the Appalachian mountains.

 

Always practice waterfall safety! Do not climb on rocks near waterfalls and use extreme caution when walking along riverbanks. These rocks are slippery from mist and algae. The top of any waterfall is dangerous—never play in the stream above a waterfall.

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

Must See North Carolina waterfall near Asheville North Carolina
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Length: Approximately 1.3 miles round trip

Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 418.8, the Graveyard Fields Loop Trail is known for its stunning waterfalls, lush forests, and vibrant wildflowers. The trail garnered its name by looking like an abandoned graveyard. Decades ago, high winds, then a wildfire transformed the once mature trees into stumps that resembled headstones.

This is a popular trail which begins at the Graveyard Fields Overlook and descends into a valley filled with rhododendron thickets and meadows. Hikers can take a quick side jaunt over a wooden bridge and down to the base of Lower Falls before making their way back to the loop. The terrain is relatively flat, making this hike suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

If you’re keen on trying a more challenging trail, continue off the loop trail to discover Upper Falls. The terrain and navigation gain complexity here, so be prepared by having a map handy. For more details on both hikes found here, check out Graveyard Fields: An Insider’s Guide.

Craggy Gardens Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Length: Approximately 2.2 miles round trip

Offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, the Craggy Gardens Trail is a must-do hike near Asheville. The trail begins at the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 364.4.

 

While you wind your way through rhododendron tunnels and mountain balds, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, especially during the peak bloom of the rhododendron in late spring and early summer. While the trail is relatively short, its steep inclines and rocky terrain make it moderately challenging.

 

For a bonus hike nearby, jut down the parkway to Milepost 364.1 where you’ll find Craggy Pinnacle Trail. This is an easy, 1.4 mile hike which spits you out at 360 degree mountain views. Many consider this one of the best hikes with children near Asheville, NC.

easy hike near Asheville North Carolina Craggy Gardens

Mount Mitchell Loop Trail

tallest peak in north carolina mount mitchell
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Trail Length: Approximately 6 miles round trip

For those seeking a challenge and the opportunity to conquer the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, the Mount Mitchell Loop Trail is the perfect choice. Beginning in the main parking area next to the visitor center, the trail ascends a steeply paved path before reaching the summit of Mount Mitchell. Here, hikers will be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains and valleys from the observation tower at the summit.

 

Continue from the summit into dense forests of spruce and fir on the Deep Gap Trail. You’ll soon be rewarded for your efforts with the long range mountain views at Mt Craig.  Either direction you choose to take on the loop, you’ll be met with ropes to assist in your climbing. 

 

Take note that due to its steep inclines and high elevation, this trail is best suited for experienced hikers in good physical condition.

Looking Glass Rock Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
  • Trail Length: Approximately 6.4 miles round trip

Offering one of the most iconic views in the Pisgah National Forest, near Brevard, NC, Looking Glass Rock Trail is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The trail begins at the Looking Glass Rock Overlook off Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, and ascends steeply through a dense forest of hardwoods and rhododendron.

 

As hikers approach the summit, the trail emerges onto exposed rock outcrops, offering stunning views of Looking Glass Rock and the surrounding landscape. While the hike can be strenuous at times (ascending 1,700 feet in approximately 3 miles), the breathtaking vistas make it well worth the effort.

Triple Falls and High Falls Loop

best hike near asheville nc high falls dupont state forest
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Trail Length: Approximately 2.7 miles round trip

Located just a short drive from Asheville, the DuPont State Recreational Forest is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in North Carolina. The Triple Falls and High Falls Loop is a relatively easy hike that takes visitors past two of the forest’s most iconic waterfalls.

 

The trail winds its way through dense forests and along the banks of the Little River, offering plenty of opportunities to admire the natural beauty of the area. With its gentle terrain and wide, gravel trails, this hike is suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels.

Final Thoughts

Asheville, North Carolina offers a wealth of hiking opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. From easy strolls through wildflower-filled meadows to challenging ascents to mountain summits, there’s a trail near Asheville waiting to be explored. Whether you’re seeking panoramic views, stunning waterfalls, or peaceful forests, you’ll find it all on the best hikes near Asheville.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top