Tumbling waterfalls, rivers, wildlife and rare plants dot the Southern Appalachians, stretching across western North Carolina. Asheville hiking trails provide the perfect base to explore the region, which includes the famed Blue Ridge Mountains. For residents of the area, prime Asheville real estate is surrounded by hikes close enough to enjoy on daily exercise routes and weekend explorations.
So close, in fact, that Asheville luxury homesites reside among mountain views, woodlands and frolicking wildlife. From leisurely strolls to challenging treks, let’s take a look at some of the very best Asheville hiking trails.
Hard Times Loop Trail
For unique glimpses of majestic Biltmore House and the Asheville skyline, take the 6 mile Hard Times Loop Trail. The easy hike winds through Bent Creek Experimental Forest, where you can detour to Lake Powhatan. Or, continue on to Blue Ridge Parkway and the cultivated gardens of the North Carolina Arboretum.
Catawba Falls Hike
Just 25 miles from downtown Asheville, Catawba Falls are a series of cascades tumbling through the forest over mossy riverbeds, in the Pisgah National Forest. The moderate, three mile round-trip includes footbridges across the river, to get up-close and personal with rushing water. Along the way, you’ll see stone foundation ruins from the early 1900s, hardwood forest and large boulders that are perfect for rest breaks.
Graveyard Fields Loop Trail
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of America’s favorite scenic drives and offers a starting point for spectacular hiking options. One of the most popular, is Graveyard Fields. If you love summer blueberry picking, cascading waterfalls and panoramic views, this high, flat mountain valley delivers, with a variety of trails on a backdrop of ever-changing, seasonal colors.
Ambitious hikers head to Montreat, a conference center and college on 4500 acres at the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Just 25 minutes by car from Asheville, the Greybeard Trail leads to incredible views of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in North Carolina. You’ll see streams, old hardwood forest and enchanting seasonal wildflower colors, especially during fall. Though you can walk it within a day, rocky technical terrain and strenuous assents require moderate fitness levels, preparation and ample provisions.
Lover’s Leap Trail
Cherokee legend suggests a broken-hearted princess leaped to her death from a lookout, along the aptly named Lover’s Leap Trail. Located in Hot Springs, just 35 miles from Asheville, this trek offers a sample of the famous Appalachian Trail, views of the French Broad River, peaceful hardwood forest and a bit of a challenge for more serious hikers.
DuPont State Forest Waterfall Hike
Scenic locations from movies, The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans, are found on the three-mile hike to Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls, in the DuPont State Forest. The popular weekend destination is only 38 miles from Asheville, accessed via the Hooker Falls car park. Observation areas, shallow pools for swimming and shady picnic spots make the area ideal for family day trips from the city.
Million-dollar views await, on the 2.9-mile round-trip to the top of Hawksbill Mountain. On a clear day, the 360-degree panorama includes the canyon of Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, Linville River and even the skyline of North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte. The trail is progressively technical and steep, offering a fantastic challenge for keen hikers, though it’s short enough to be classified as moderate.
The hiking scene around Asheville, NC, is about as good as it gets, with more options than you could hope to explore in a lifetime of incredible trails.