5 Easy Hikes near Asheville, NC

family hiking near asheville north carolina

Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning vistas, powerful 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 of the easiest hikes near Asheville, NC; each offering its own unique beauty and adventure. These trails are perfect if you’re a beginning hiker, you’re traveling with children, or if you just want a quick nature break to recharge your battery.

 

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.

Waterrock Knob

Waterrock Knob. Easy hike near Asheville North Carolina
  • Location: Blue Ridge Parkway. Milepost 451.2
  • Elevation: 6,292 feet
  • Distance: 1.2 miles (round trip)

Waterrock Knob is a quintessential Appalachian peak, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Located 47 miles southwest of Asheville, 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 trail to Waterrock Knob begins in the parking lot opposite the visitor center. You’ll find the first part of the path paved, but after reaching an established resting area with stone wall, the path turns more natural with a rocky footpath underneath. Although this hiking trail is short, and considered to be on the easier side of hiking, keep in mind that it can become quite steep in parts. Take breaks and bring plenty of water! 

 

Don’t think you can make it all the way to the top? Don’t feel like you’ll be missing out since the parking area for this hike is one of the best places to catch a breathtaking sunset near Asheville, North Carolina!

 

INSIDER’S TIP: The visitor center and restrooms are closed during “off peak season” months.

Craggy Gardens

easy hike near Asheville North Carolina Craggy Gardens
  • Location: Blue Ridge Parkway. Milepost 364.4
  • Elevation: 5,892 feet
  • Distance: 1.4 miles (round trip)

Craggy Gardens is renowned for its stunning displays of rhododendron blooms in late spring and early summer, but this iconic hiking destination is equally enchanting in all seasons! You’ll find the trailhead to this family-friendly hike located off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 364.4, just 20 miles northeast from Asheville. This hike offers a mix of wooded paths and rocky outcroppings, giving you a great mix of breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. To truly explore the entire Craggy Gardens area, be sure to jut off the side trails to experience an open mountain field and an idyllic gazebo with never ending views! For a more in-depth look at the Craggy Gardens area off the Blue Ridge Parkway, check out 2 family-friendly hikes near Asheville.

 

INSIDER’S TIP: 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
  • Location: Blue Ridge Parkway. Milepost 417
  • Elevation: 3,500 feet
  • Distance: 1 mile (round trip)

Tucked away in the Pisgah National Forest, Skinny Dip Falls is a hidden gem for families that offers one of the easiest hikes near Asheville. Although the trailhead may appear hidden, you can find it across the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Looking Glass Rock Overlook (Milepost 417). From there, a short but scenic hike takes you deep into the forest where wildlife and old-growth trees await. Approximately 0.5 miles into the hike, you’ll stumble upon a scenic river that flows over large boulders.

 

Although Skinny Dip Falls was once considered one the greatest swimming holes near Asheville, a recent tropical storm caused damage to the area. The once deep swimming holes were filled in by the natural disaster. However, visitors can still enjoy the babbling stream and splash in the cool water.

 

INSIDER’S TIP: 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 Loop

Must See North Carolina waterfall near Asheville North Carolina
  • Location: Blue Ridge Parkway. Milepost 418.8
  • Elevation: 5,200 feet
  • Distance: 1.3 miles

Graveyard Fields is a ruggedly beautiful wilderness area known for its diverse terrain and abundant blueberry bushes. It received its name due to tree stumps which resembled grave stones after strong winds and logging activity destroyed the trees. You’ll find the trailhead to all hikes in this area off the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 418.8 (approximately 40 miles southwest of Asheville).

 

The hike to Graveyard Fields begins with a gentle descent through dense rhododendron tunnels before reaching the Yellowstone Prong River. Here. you’ll be greeted by expansive meadows and one of the most impressive waterfalls near Asheville! During 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 to swim in the clear, deep water of Second Falls.

 

For an in-depth look at all the hiking in this area, check out Graveyard Fields: An Insider’s Guide.

 

INSIDER’S TIP: This is one of the most popular easy hikes 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
  • Location: US 276. Pisgah National Forest
  • Elevation: 2,200 feet
  • Distance: 1.5 miles (round trip)

Moore Cove Falls is a gentle waterfall located near Brevard, NC, approximately 35 miles southwest of Asheville. Although there is no official signage for the trailhead, you can easily find it off US 276 where there’s an information board and stone bridge. 

 

The hike to Moore Cove Falls is relatively flat with minimal obstacles, making it one of the easiest hikes near Asheville. The trail meanders through a lush forest filled with ferns and moss-covered boulders before arriving at the base of the waterfall. What makes Moore Cove Falls unique is that it’s one of the few North Carolina waterfalls that you can safely walk behind!

 

Enjoy feeling the gently streaming waterfall pound on top of your head, but keep in mind that the rocks surrounding this waterfall stay wet, so are prone to being slippery.

 

INSIDER’S TIP: 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.

Final Thoughts

From the breathtaking peaks of Waterrock Knob to the refreshing streams of Skinny Dip Falls, these easy hikes near Asheville, NC offer something for everyone to enjoy. Consider choosing one of these hikes if you’re just starting to get into hiking or if you’re looking for some of the best hikes for kids near Asheville!

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top