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Head outside with a guide to Asheville’s parks

We’re highlighting the 23 best parks that Asheville has to offer — complete with dog parks, sports facilities, and nature trails.

A bike rider on a paved trail in Carrier park with two people in the background and a bright sun

Carrier Park is beautiful all year around.

Photo by AVLtoday

Table of Contents

Whether you’re looking for a place to play with the kiddos or to decompress with some off-screen time, Asheville has 55+ parks and recreational spots for you to enjoy.

Ready to plan your trip to the park? Grab your shades and trusty water bottle — here are a few of our favorite parks in the 828:

Nature parks

Botanical Gardens at Asheville, 151 WT Weaver Blvd.
Explore 10 acres of native plants and bask in the rich world of Southern Appalachian habitats at this local community garden. Admission is free but donations are encouraged.

Bent Creek River Park, 1610 Brevard Rd.
Find mountain biking trails, hiking paths, and plenty of grills and picnic spots at this riverside oasis. The sloped bank also makes for a great spot to launch boats, canoes, and kayaks.

Hominy Creek River Park, 220 Hominy Creek Rd.
With a direct link to the French Broad Greenway and accompanying French Broad River, you couldn’t ask for a better location for a park (especially in the summer). Since there’s a boat ramp, it’s also a great spot to drop in for a tube, kayak, or canoe ride down the river.

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The North Carolina Arboretum was established in 1986.

Photo by @ncarboretum

NC Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
This sprawling park is part of the Bent Creek Experimental Forest (right alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway) and offers 434 acres of gardens, trails, and botanically-diverse plants. Fun fact: The arboretum was originally dreamt up by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

WNC Nature Center, 75 Gashes Creek Rd.
Black bears, red wolves, otters, and red pandas await you at this 42-acre educational center. Pro tip: Get free admission with a Buncombe County Public Library ZOOM Pass.

Collier Cove Nature Preserve, 194 Rhododendron Dr., Arden
With 29+ acres of hillside woodland, there’s plenty of room to roam here. Serious hikers will also enjoy two miles worth of steep and strenuous trails. While you’re there, you can also catch beautiful views of the eastern Butler mountain range.

Lake Julian Park Asheville

The 300-acre Lake Julian is great for fishing, paddleboarding, and canoeing.

Photo by @chop_sooey

Family parks

Lake Julian Park, 37 Lake Julian Rd., Arden
Take in gorgeous views and enjoy amenities like sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, a disc golf course, and walking trails. Plus, the lake is stocked with bass, catfish, bream, and crappie for fishing.

Silver-Line River Park, 1050 Riverside Dr., Woodfin
Woodfin’s newest park opened to the public in 2022. The nearly five-acre plot has wonderful river access, swinging benches, a children’s playground, public restrooms, and walking trails. See a bird’s eye view.

Charles D Owen Park

Charles D. Owen Park has something for everyone.

Charles D. Owen Park, 875 Warren Wilson Rd., Swannanoa
This idyllic spot is near the Swannanoa River and has fishing ponds, basketball courts, baseball fields, picnic shelters, and walking trails.

Carrier Park, 220 Amboy Rd.
Carrier has something for everyone, including basketball and volleyball courts, baseball fields, a giant playground, and the famed “Mellowdrome,” which is perfect for skating or biking.

Murphy-Oakley Park, 715 Fairview Rd.
This park packs a lot in its 7.7 acres, including bouncy animals, a swing set, three slides and more. Bonus: Stop into the Oakley Library story time or to check out some books when you leave the park.

Roy Pope Memorial Park

Little ones can go on an adventure at Roy Pope Memorial Park.

Roy Pope Memorial Park, 45 Jonestown Rd., Woodfin
A huge and huggable dragon that sits between two climbable castles is a selling point on its own, but then you consider the large pyramid-shaped rope climbing web — and know this is a kid’s dream.

Lake Louise Park, Lake Louise Dr., Weaverville
Situated on 15.5 acres, this lakeside park boasts monkey bars, a climbing wall, six slides, exercise equipment, and more. Don’t miss the old red water wheel (said to be the remains of the area’s oldest gristmill site) — it makes for a lovely photo backdrop.

French Broad River Park

Dogs love the French Broad River Park.

Photo by @navi.wild

Dog parks

French Broad River Dog Park, 510 Riverview Dr.
This riverside park, which most locals consider the most lively dog park in town, offers two fenced-in play areas and is a great place for dog owners to chat.

Azalea Dog Park, 395 Azalea Rd.
Azalea is arguably the most peaceful dog park in town, thanks to its sprawling acreage, minimal crowds, and nearby river access.

Buncombe County Sports Park, 58 Apac Circle
Buncombe County’s first-ever dog park, which opened in May 2022, features two fenced-in play areas. County staff hope to add more amenities and water fountains in the future.

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Enjoy a drink and a snack while your furry friend plays.

Photo via Wagbar

Sweeten Creek Brewing, 1127 Sweeten Creek Rd.
This local brewery, which offers weekly open mic, trivia, and live music, has a 8,000-sqft fenced area to the mix so dogs can frolic with their humans in the brewery’s grassy meadow.

Wagbar, 320 Merrimon Ave., Weaverville
This outdoor, interactive 25,000-sqft bar has ramps, tunnels, and a permanent pool to keep your dog entertained for hours. There’s also plenty of shade, fans, and outdoor heating options — along with a plethora of snacks and beverages for purchase — to make the outdoors more bearable for humans.

It was a community-led effort to get Jake Rusher Park an upgrade.

Photo via City of Asheville

Sports parks

Montford Park, 345 Montford Ave.
This 4.1-acre regal park is lodged in the middle of a historic neighborhood and offers two tennis courts, a basketball court, a playground, and plenty of grassy fields that are perfect for a calisthenics session.

Richmond Hill Park, 300 Richmond Hill Dr.
If you’re into disc golf, this 18-hole course is the spot. The wooded, hilly park also includes a mountain bike trail system in addition to an already plentiful collection of winding trails.

Jake Rusher Park, 160 Sycamore Dr., Arden
Upgraded as part of the 2016 parks and recreation bond referendum, this neighborhood park has a playground, pavilion, basketball courts, and plenty of parking. Read about the park’s rich history.

Buncombe County Sports Park, 58 Apac Dr.
We’re listing this one twice because in addition to having a great dog park, this campus also features soccer fields, disc golf, walking trails, bocce courts, sand volleyball courts, and a playground.

asheville-nc-memorial-stadium-project-avltoday

Memorial Stadium is getting a six-lane competitive track installed over the next few years.

Photo by AVLtoday

Memorial Stadium, 32 Buchanan Pl.
This 28.8-acre park has a soccer field, track, volleyball courts, and a stadium of bleachers (stairs workout, anyone?). A project to upgrade the existing track into a six-lane competitive track is in the works.

Your park grab bag

Picked your perfect park? Make the most out of your experience with our favorite items for a relaxing day outside:

  • Is there anything quite like sitting in the shade and enjoying a good book? Check out our guide to books by local authors to help choose your next great read.
  • The Kindle Paperwhite is a lightweight e-reader option that stands up to bright sunlight.
  • A good water bottle keeps you hydrated — we’re big fans of the best-selling Owala FreeSip + this insulated stackable tumbler from Asheville-based retailer Pirani.
  • Heading to the park with kids? Check out the Owala FreeSip for kids.
  • Don’t forget the travel-size bug spray and sunscreen.
  • These sunglasses from Nordstrom Rack are available at discount prices + have a style for everyone.
  • Keep it all together in a handy tote bag — these adorable tote bags are all crafted by small businesses and local makers.

Ready to visit these local parks but don’t know where to start? Check out this handy map so you can find all of these featured parks.

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