The Best Hiking Trails near Asheville, NC for Beginners

Easy hiking trail near Asheville North Carolina

Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning vistas, cascading waterfalls, and diverse ecosystems, the region offers some of the most rewarding hiking experiences in the Southeastern United States. In this guide, we’ll explore five must-visit hiking trails near Asheville, each offering its own unique beauty and adventure. These trails offer a great way to get your feet wet if you’re a beginning hiker, or if you just want a quick nature break to recharge your battery.

Waterrock Knob

Waterrock Knob. Easy hike near Asheville North Carolina
  • Elevation: 6,292 feet
  • Distance: 1.2 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Waterrock Knob is a quintessential Appalachian peak, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 451.2, this short but invigorating hike begins at the Waterrock Knob Visitor Center. The trail winds its way through fragrant fir and spruce forests before ascending to the summit, where hikers are rewarded with sweeping vistas that stretch for miles in every direction. The payoff is well worth the reward of the steep incline. The parking area for this hike is also one of the best places to catch a breathtaking sunset near Asheville, North Carolina!

 

GOOD TO KNOW: The visitor center and restrooms are closed during “off peak season” months.

Craggy Gardens

easy hike near Asheville North Carolina Craggy Gardens
  • Elevation: 5,892 feet
  • Distance: 1.4 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Craggy Gardens is renowned for its stunning displays of rhododendron blooms in late spring and early summer, but this iconic hiking destination is equally captivating year-round. The trailhead is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 364.4, just a short drive from Asheville. The hike to Craggy Gardens offers a mix of wooded paths and rocky outcroppings, culminating in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. For an unforgettable experience, plan your visit during peak wildflower season when the hillsides are ablaze with color.

 

GOOD TO KNOW: The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed every January/February due to winter road conditions. Plan your hike to Craggy Gardens during warmer months.

Skinny Dip Falls

Skinny Dip Falls. Easy hike near Asheville North Carolina
  • Elevation: 3,500 feet
  • Distance: 1 mile (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Easy

Tucked away in the Pisgah National Forest, Skinny Dip Falls is a hidden gem that offers a refreshing respite on hot summer days. The trailhead is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway near mile marker 417. From there, a short but scenic hike leads to a series of cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear pools. The name might suggest otherwise, but clothing is required for swimming! After cooling off in the pristine waters, relax on the rocky banks and soak in the beauty of this enchanting oasis.

 

GOOD TO KNOW: Recent flooding caused damage to the natural swimming pools. However, you can still dip your toes in the water to cool off on a hot summer day. The trail remains open and is one of the most scenic, easy hikes near Asheville, North Carolina.

Graveyard Fields

Must See North Carolina waterfall near Asheville North Carolina
  • Elevation: 5,200 feet
  • Distance: 3.2 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Graveyard Fields is a ruggedly beautiful wilderness area known for its distinctive terrain and abundant blueberry bushes. It received its name due to the tree stumps resembling grave stones after strong winds and a wildfire swept through the area in 1925! The trailhead is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway near mile marker 418.5. The hike to Graveyard Fields begins with a gentle descent through dense rhododendron thickets before reaching the valley floor, where hikers are greeted by expansive meadows and cascading waterfalls. During the late summer and early fall, the blueberry bushes burst into color, offering a delicious treat for those lucky enough to visit at the right time. The entire loop trail offers scenic views, but the base of the lower waterfall really stands out as a crowd favorite. During the warmer months of the year, when the Blue Ridge Parkway is open, you’ll find swimmers and photographers gathered around in an outdoor lovers paradise.

 

GOOD TO KNOW: This is a very popular hike near Asheville, North Carolina. Be sure to arrive early to find parking. Always practice waterfall safety and don’t play on the rocks at the top of the falls.

Moore Cove Falls

Moore Cove Falls. Easy waterfall hike near Asheville North Carolina
  • Elevation: 2,200 feet
  • Distance: 1.5 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Easy

Moore Cove Falls is a picturesque waterfall located in the Pisgah National Forest, just a short drive from Asheville. The trailhead is located off U.S. Highway 276 near the town of Brevard. The hike to Moore Cove Falls is relatively easy, making it suitable for hikers of all ages and abilities. The trail meanders through a lush forest filled with ferns and moss-covered boulders before arriving at the base of the waterfall, where visitors can enjoy a refreshing mist and take in the beauty of this natural wonder.

 

GOOD TO KNOW: Be sure to check out two other popular waterfalls near this hike: Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock! Both are located roadside (no hiking required) and just a short drive away on the same road.

Conclusion

From the lofty peaks of Waterrock Knob to the tranquil pools of Skinny Dip Falls, the hiking trails near Asheville, NC, offer something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a novice adventurer, these five hikes promise unforgettable experiences and breathtaking scenery. So lace up your hiking boots, pack plenty of water and snacks, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes of Western North Carolina.

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