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24 places to hike in the Asheville area

Check out these 24 hiking trails catering to all skill levels in and around Asheville for outdoor adventures.

Lookout-Point-Asheville-hikes-Voices-avltoday

Lookout Point offers sprawling views.

Photo by Danny Bernstein

Table of Contents

From quick and easy loops around town to drives that take you to fantastic lakes and mountains, our city has so many options to hit the trail. So lace up your hiking boots, because we’ve compiled a hiking guide for the Asheville area with 20+ routes and trails to help you plan your next adventure and experience breathtaking views.

Note: While parks and trails may be listed as open, we recommend checking park websites — especially the Blue Ridge Parkway, which often has closures during the winter — before visiting for further info, current trail conditions, and safest practices for the area.

Key: Easy = 🥾 | Moderate = 🥾🥾 | Hard = 🥾🥾🥾

Bearwallow Mountain

Find some bovine companions atop Bearwallow Mountain.

Close to town

Bearwallow Mountain, N35.4607, W-82.3681

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 2.1 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This trail slopes gently uphill, eventually leading you to a gorgeous, pastoral bald with plenty of space to roam and picnic. Very often, you’ll see cows roaming the bald.

Beaver Lake Perimeter Loop Trail, 1056 Merrimon Ave., Asheville

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 1.9 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Gravel surface likely navigable by wheelchair, but some rocks and roots
  • Pet-friendly: Permit needed for walking dogs

This mostly flat trail has sections of gravel, paved road, and dirt. Plus, the trail connects you to the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary — join Blue Ridge Audubon for a bird outing at the sanctuary on the first Saturday of each month.

Rattlesnake Lodge, 667 State Rd. 2109, Weaverville

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 3.7 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

You’ll get a beautiful overlook view with the bonus of historical artifacts. After a good number of switchbacks and a few rocky outcrops, you’ll encounter the former site of the Rattlesnake Lodge, which was built in 1904 and gets its name from the now-defunct living room that was covered in rattlesnake skins.

Hard Times Loop Trail, 375 Wesley Branch Rd., Asheville

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 6.4 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This lovely loop is part of the trail network that traverses Bent Creek Experimental Forest and the NC Arboretum. It’s open year-round and has a moderate grade, with the exception of a steep incline about halfway through the hike.

Richmond Hill Park

Wander a creekside trail in Richmond Hill Park.

Photo by AVLtoday

Richmond Hill Park, 300 Richmond Hill Dr., Asheville

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: Various mileage
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This city-owned park peers above the French Broad River with a surprising number of wooded trails (plus, specific zones for mountain bikers and frisbee golfers) that weave throughout the forested area. Be warned: It can be easy to get turned around here, but there’s usually plenty of friendly folks willing to point you in the right direction.

French Broad River Greenway, Asheville

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 3.5 miles
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

The greenway links Hominy Creek River Park, Carrier Park, and French Broad River Park with an asphalt trail that winds along the river. Park at any of the three parks then start on a simple, beautiful jaunt.

Pine Tree Loop, Bent Creek Experimental Forest

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 3.2 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This relaxing route is a great spot for newer hikers to explore — there’s plenty of shade and minimal elevation gain. Trails are mixed-use so you can also come out here for a run or bike ride.

Asheville Botanical Gardens, 151 WT Weaver Blvd., Asheville

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 0.5 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Portions, hard-packed gravel with some small hills
  • Pet-friendly: No

Located on UNC Asheville’s campus, this short trail provides beautiful scenery for a leisurely stroll. Plus, the gift shop is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunset Shining Rock Wilderness

Sunsets are hard to beat in Shining Rock Wilderness.

Photo by @laurahackk

Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest

Catawba Falls Trail, 3074 Catawba River Rd., Old Fort

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 3.5 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This popular trail is freshly reopened after being closed for about two years for safety improvements, including retaining walls, boardwalks, and 580 stairs — plus, the addition of three overlooks and a 60-foot observation tower. There are currently some detours while construction is wrapping up — folks say the detours were a bit muddy this past weekend, so always proceed with caution.

catawba falls

Folks enjoyed Catawba Falls as it reopened last weekend.

Photo via Nick Freeman

Looking Glass Rock Trailhead, N35.290937, W82.776548

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾🥾
  • Length: 6.1 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Can be dangerous for pets

One of the most popular hikes in Pisgah, the summit of this hike offers panoramic views atop a large smooth rock that gets its name from the way it reflects ice in the winter. On the way up, you’ll encounter several springs and plenty of rhododendron and mountain laurel.

Crabtree Falls Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 339.5

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 2.6 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This popular trail guides you to a stunning 70-foot waterfall. There’s quite a bit of uphill hiking, so it may be difficult for less experienced hikers.

Frying Pan Mountain Lookout Tower, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 409.6

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 1.5 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

The historical tower was constructed in the 1940s so that the US Forest Service could watch for fires. You can climb up the 70-foot tower for gorgeous views. Scared of heights? Don’t worry, it’s still scenic even if you don’t make the climb.

Moore Cove Falls Trail, US-276, Pisgah National Forest

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 1.2 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This easy route wanders by moss-covered outcroppings, around creeks and streams (so watch out for occasional mud), and under forest shade. The trail ends at the beautiful Moore Cove Falls, which spills over a ~50-ft. rock overhang.

moore cove falls in pisgah national forest

Moore Cove Falls gently showers the rocks below.

Photo by AVLtoday

Pink Beds Loop, US-276, Pisgah National Forest

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 5.1 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

Sequestered in the historic Cradle of Forestry, this trail is not as pink as it name implies — but it’s a lovely place to observe wildflowers, babbling brooks, and towering pine trees. There are also several boardwalks throughout the trail that are ideal for observing bugs and other water critters.

Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 418.8

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 3 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

We recommend getting here early as the parking lot fills up quickly. This historic trail moves through an old fire site and several waterfalls.

Black Balsam Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 420.2

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 1.4 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This expansive bald has some of the best views in Pisgah — often times, soaring above the misty Blue Ridge clouds. To get there, trek through a grove of balsams and up a rock outcrop. You’ll want to bring a jacket as it gets very windy up there.

Craggy Gardens

Craggy Gardens is known for its twisty rhododenrons.

Photo by @jared_kay

Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 364

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 1.9 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

Rhododendrons famously decorate the landscape of this iconic Asheville trail in early June — but the panoramic views of Pisgah are sublime all year long (just make sure the Blue Ridge Parkway is open before heading out). Make sure you stay on the trail and within the rock wall at the summit to avoid damaging the local flora.

Mt. Pisgah, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 407.6

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 4.5 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This steep, technical trail climbs through tunnels of rhododendrons and some muddy patches to offer a rewarding summit. The hike finishes at an observation deck and transmission tower, with sweeping views of Pisgah National Forest.

Mount Mitchell

Mount Mitchell’s summit is a sight to behold.

Mount Mitchell State Park

Mount Mitchell Trail, S. Toe River Rd, Burnsville

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾🥾
  • Length: 11.2 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This one’s not for the faint of heart — but it can be done if you start early enough or if you bring overnight supplies and make it a camping trip. If you complete this hike, which reaches up to 6,684 ft., you get forever bragging rights for scaling the highest peak in the Eastern US.

Mount Mitchell Summit Trail, 2388 NC-128, Burnsville

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 0.4 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes, with assistance or special equipment
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

Want the epic views of Mt. Mitchell without an excruciatingly long hike? Park at the visitor center, and hop on this paved trail. There’s also a concession stand and gift shop on-site. A four-passenger ATV is available upon request to transport people with mobility disabilities to the Observation Deck.

Max Patch

Snowy sunrise over Max Patch can’t be beaten.

Photo by @jared_kay

Appalachian Trail

Max Patch Loop, Max Patch Rd., Hot Springs

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 1.5 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

Be warned: the drive up to the Max Patch parking lot is bumpy and twisty. But if you can manage that, you’ll be rewarded with a short, family-friendly hike that offers deeply memorable views of the mountains and plenty of space to picnic and frolic.

Lover’s Leap, 138 Silvermine Rd., Hot Springs

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 1.6 mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

This hike is especially great if you’re already planning an excursion out to Hot Springs Resort and Spa. It’s perched alongside the French Broad River — climbing over rocky, root-laden terrain — and offers many wonderful vantage points of the Appalachian Trail, river, and surrounding township.

Linville Gorge - Shortoff Mountain

Views of Linville Gorge from Shortoff Mountain extend for miles.

Photo by @laurahackk

Linville Gorge

Shortoff Mountain, Wolf Pit Rd., Morganton

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾🥾
  • Length: 4.5 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

If you’re looking for stunning views of Linville Gorge and a challenging yet rewarding journey up there, this is a dream hike. Quartz crystal glistens along the trail, and you also get fun views of Lake James.

Linville Falls, Hwy. 183, Newland

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 0.9 mile out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, on leash

If you’d rather experience Linville Gorge from the perspective of the river that cuts through it, this hike offer the perfect vantage, with several waterfalls sprinkled throughout the trail. It’s best to visit April through November as it gets rather icy in the winter months.

When you’re hiking, it’s important to take the “leave no trace” mantra to heart. Stick to the trails, always take your trash, and keep nature beautiful and clean for all visitors.

Get the right gear

Get the most out of your trip with comfortable, handy, and helpful hiking gear:

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