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10 Best Kid-Friendly & Easy Hikes Near Asheville

Along with its delicious food scene, Asheville’s Blue Ridge Mountains are famous. The hiking in and around the city is fantastic, especially with all of those cascading waterfalls.

Yet, the mountains can also be intimidating whether you are an experienced hiker or a more casual vacation trekker.

Some trails have extremely high elevation gains and are much longer while others are quick and simple.

If you are looking for short hikes near Asheville, NC, especially if you are wondering how to pick the best family-friendly hikes in Asheville, we got you!

It’s not always easy to gauge the terrain or what to expect from hiking apps. Plus, nothing beats firsthand experience.

Below, find kid-friendly hikes in Asheville that will take you across the city’s historic landmarks and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Head to the Pisgah National Forest and chase those waterfalls near Hendersonville, NC at DuPont State Forest. See where you can picnic with the cows or on top of a mountain bald.

These family-friendly hikes in Asheville are sure to help you make the most out of Mother Nature and all that the Western North Carolina mountains have to offer without the worry.

Don’t forget to let us know your favorite kid-friendly hikes near Asheville, too. Let’s get started.

Read more about all of Asheville’s best hiking trails locals love.

Best Easy Hikes Near Asheville NC with Hooker Falls at DuPont State Forest in the fall with foliage on trees

Keep reading for our guide to the best easy hikes near Asheville that are perfect for families and younger children.

This post may contain affiliate links that earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. If you love these guides, support Uncorked Asheville here.

10 Kid-Friendly & Easy Hikes Near Asheville, NC

By Tori Curran & Christine

1. DuPont State Forest’s 3 Waterfalls Hike

One of the most breathtaking family-friendly hikes near Asheville, DuPont’s Three Waterfalls Hike is sure to impress. Encounter, Hooker, Triple, and High Falls in a 3-mile hike.

DuPont State Forest’s waterfall hikes to Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls are a must for beautiful and easy hikes near Asheville.

Plus, Triple Falls is a filming location for The Hunger Games.

Choose a short, less-than-one-mile out-and-back hike. Or, visit all three waterfalls for a lengthier stay. Either way, you can’t beat those views.

Park at the Hooker Falls Access Area and begin with one of the most kid-friendly hikes near Asheville: the .3-mile trek down to Hooker Falls.

With only a bit of elevation gain, the kids will be sprinting down to the waterfall to climb rocks or cool off in the warmer months. Just remember that there are no active lifeguards on duty.

For families that are up for more and can handle a slightly increased elevation, continue on to Triple Falls and High Falls.

From the same access area, hike about half a mile up the gravel path until you spy the waterfall. There is a picnic area for the little ones (and big ones) to take a lunch break.

Another .6 miles up, take a left onto High Falls Loop to access the third waterfall, High Falls.

Additional trails, including the Covered Bridge Trail, can be added on for overachievers. The Three Waterfall Hike will total about three miles round trip, with moderate terrain.

While these three short hikes near Asheville feature gravel, decent elevation gain, and spectacular views, they’re not particularly challenging.

Our four-year-old managed the majority of the hike himself, while our two-year-old was in and out of his Osprey toddler carrier.

Head to Hendersonville afterward for lunch and kid-friendly museums.

2. Chimney Rock State Park: Outcroppings Trail & Exclamation Point Trail

One of the most popular kid-friendly hikes near Asheville, you might recognize Chimney Rock from The Last of the Mohicans.

As a The Last of the Mohicans filming site, Chimney Rock State Park is undoubtedly one of the most popular and most crowded family-friendly hikes near Asheville.

It’s also a fabulous Asheville day-tripping option. You will have to pay to enter the park.

Chimney Rock, the 535 million-year-old monolith for which the park is named, is accessible either by the Outcroppings Trail or via elevator.

While the trail is steep with 494 steps, it is safe and well-maintained. Plus, there are plenty of breathtaking viewpoints to break up the hike, including The Grotto and Pulpit Rock.

Families can continue on to the Exclamation Point Trail. Across from the stairs, take a series of switchbacks and steps through the cliffside.

While the trail is mostly uphill and slightly strenuous, it’s only about twenty minutes to Exclamation Point, with plenty of points of interest along the way.

Pause at the Opera Box, overlooking Hickory Nut Gap and Lake Lure, then again at the iconic Devil’s Head. Enjoy a picnic and more views at Exclamation Point, then relish in the downhill hike back.

Head over to Chimney Rock’s website for ticket information.

3. Catawba Falls Trail

Catawba Falls Near Asheville NC

Catawba Falls is a beautiful and short hike near Asheville.

If you are looking for impressive, but easy hikes near Asheville, head to the Catawba Falls Trailhead for another waterfall hike.

About thirty minutes outside of Asheville and off of I-40, visitors can easily find the Catawba Falls Trailhead parking lot.

From here, it’s an easy 1.5-mile hike (3 miles round trip) with a mild but steady incline to the 100-foot waterfall. Leashed dogs are welcome here, as well.

Along the way, kids will enjoy crossing the river via the footbridge, exploring some of the smaller cascades, and spying historic buildings dating back to the 1920s. These sites are accessible by additional short trails.

The trail ends at the base of Catawba Falls. While you may be tempted to hike up to Upper Catawba Falls, know that it is not recommended.

While short, the hike to the upper falls is extremely dangerous, and we don’t suggest it for children.

4. Bent Creek Experimental Forest’s Homestead Trail

Bent Creek hosts some of Asheville’s best hiking and biking trails that locals love. Teach your family how to mountain bike along some of these short and easy trails. Of course, there are some seriously hard trails hiding in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest, too.

While we haven’t personally hiked here yet, we are eyeing Bent Creek and Lake Powhatan for our next trip to Asheville with the kids.

Christine and Tom frequent Bent Creek’s trails.

You’ll find dozens of short and easy hikes in Asheville in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Pick one for a quick but leisurely walk or piece together a longer hike if you’re up for it.

The easy .7 mile out and back Homestead Trail (Bent Creek Trail 333) hugs Lake Powhatan and is popular among families. Hikers will pass Lake Powhatan, the dam, and footbridges.

Add the Deerfield Loop or Small Creek Trail for another one to two miles of easy, pleasant hiking.

For a much longer but easy hike, link up to the Hard Times Trail, which also connects to The NC Arboretum.

You’ll also see families teaching their younger children how to mountain bike along a few of Bent Creek’s trails. For short hikes in Asheville, you can’t go wrong in this area.

5. Black Balsam Knob Via Art Loeb Trail

Although one of the more moderate hikes on this list, you’ll find families, school groups, and older couples hiking Black Balsam via Art Loeb Trail. Along with Graveyard Fields, this is one of the most frequented Blue Ridge Parkway fall hikes.

Black Balsam Knob, also known as Black Balsam Bald, is the second-highest mountain in the Black Balsam Mountains. Don’t let the elevation deter you though.

The 1.5-mile out and back to Black Balsam via Art Loeb Trail to the top is one of the most popular kid-friendly hikes near Asheville with only 347 feet of elevation gain.

Spy beautiful wildflowers, take in the gorgeous panoramic views of the mountains, and peep the foliage during the fall.

Black Balsam via Art Loeb Trail is also one of the most frequented short hikes near Asheville, so plan your 45-minute drive from the city accordingly and consider arriving early.

Read more about all of the gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway hikes in North Carolina.

6. Max Patch

Max Patch Appalachian Trail with dirt pathway and blue green mountains at summit

Max Patch boasts a gorgeous mountain bald along the AT perfect for a picnic.

About an hour and a quarter outside Asheville on the Tennessee-North Carolina Border, Max Patch is the farthest of our recommended short hikes near Asheville.

A 1.5-mile loop, Max Patch intersects with the famed Appalachian Trail and provides some of the most spectacular views of the mountains.

If you’re looking for bucket list, family-friendly hikes near Asheville, this is it. Don’t forget to pack a picnic, too, but remember to take your trash with you.

From the Max Patch parking lot, hike along rolling hills and wildflowers before coming to an intersection for the AT. Stay to the right to keep on the Max Patch Loop or hike up the AT to head straight to the top of the mountain.

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Please just keep in mind that the road to Max Patch’s trailhead can be more difficult to navigate and a tad frightening in poor weather.

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7. Biltmore Estate Trails

Biltmore Estate has fantastic short and easy hikes in Asheville perfect for the entire family. You can even rent bikes.

Did you know that the Biltmore Estate offers some of its very own family-friendly hikes in Asheville? You will need an annual pass or ticket to enter, though.

While the twenty-two miles of trails range in difficulty, Biltmore visitors will find plenty of easy and moderately short hikes.

Stroll the one-mile mostly paved Azalea Garden or explore the Historic Gardens.

Moderate, but mostly flat, trails include the three-mile Lagoon Trail, the six-mile Farm Trail, and the Westover Trails.

The Deerpark Trail will treat you to a side view of Biltmore Estate and end in the gardens.

Biltmore’s trails are a great place to start experiencing some of WNC’s naturescapes and find amazing, but easy, kid-friendly hikes in Asheville. Bamboo forests included.

Know that you can also bring your own bikes or rent mountain bikes from the Bike Barn. The Lagoon Trail is an especially popular biking trail amongst families and their littles.

Read more about all of the ways that you can enjoy Biltmore with the entire family. Head over to Biltmore’s website for ticket information.

Also, be sure to check out all of our Biltmore Guides to make the most out of that ticket price.

A few more family-friendly hikes near Asheville from Christine

8. Bearwallow Mountain

Chill with the cows at Bearwallow Mountain.

Another one of the most popular short hikes near Asheville, either take the wide gravel access road or more challenging forest trail up to a beautiful meadow filled with cows.

Trek one trail and take the other down to create a loop. The cows freely roam around you and may throw you some shade. Watch out for those cow pies too.

Bearwallow Mountain is an easy 2-mile hike that is perfect for picnics and sunsets. This is also a great fall and winter hike.

9. Moore Cove Falls

Moore Cove Falls Pisgah National Forest NC near Daniel Ridge with waterfall cascading over a rock ledge

Located in the Pisgah National Forest near Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock, Moore Cove Falls is a kid-friendly, short hike near Asheville that promises a 50-foot waterfall. If you are lucky, you might catch a rainbow.

Moore Cove Falls is one of the best easy hikes near Asheville, especially for families.

Trek a 1.4-mile out and back straight to a 50-foot waterfall. Never climb these falls, though – there have been causalities.

The trail may grow a bit muddy based on the season, and you’ll cross small wooden bridges with a few narrower spots along the trail.

Moore Cove Falls is located just past Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest off of the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. Sliding Rock is also nearby.

10. Oconaluftee River Trail

Many people come to Asheville to get a glimpse of the Smoky Mountains. If you want a quick introduction to the Smokies with the entire family, head to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and River Trail.

Although a bit of a drive, if you are craving a quick introduction to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, head to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and River Trail.

The Oconaluftee River Trail is one of two trails in the Smoky Mountains where visitors can walk their dogs on a leash and/or ride bikes.

Encounter a beautiful 3-mile nature walk along the Oconaluftee River. You don’t have to follow the trail all the way to the end since it’s an out-and-back.

Encounter elk from afar, and spot wildflowers and birds. View exhibits educating visitors about Cherokee artwork, traditions, and spiritual beliefs.

For families, you’ll also pass the open-air Mountain Farm Museum. Freely explore a collection of log buildings dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Don’t miss the log farmhouse, barn, and apple house.

You can also view the Davis House, which is constructed from American Chestnut wood. Be sure to walk over to Mingus Mill. See how families lived and worked in the Appalachian Mountains years ago.

Lastly, enjoy the amenities of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Find restrooms, maps, and even a few Park Rangers to answer your questions.

The local gift shop is perfect if you need more snacks, want to stock up on water, or if you wish to grab local literature and souvenirs. Bear plushes included.

If you don’t mind stairs, Mingo Falls is also a gorgeous short hike nearby.

A Note On Skinny Dip Falls**

Skinny Dip Falls Trail North Carolina waterfall between trees and rocks

Severe flooding damaged Skinny Dip Falls and the area no longer looks the same. This photograph was taken before the damage by Sarah Resta Photography. We don’t recommend visiting Skinny Dip Falls at this time but will update this post when we know more, especially since Skinny Dip was one of the most popular family-friendly hikes near Asheville.

**We’d also normally suggest Skinny Dip Falls as the perfect kid-friendly hike near Asheville, especially since it’s a bustling swimming hole for families.

However, with the recent 2021 flooding, Skinny Dip is unrecognizable and in need of repairs. Certain areas are especially dangerous. Floods have washed away the bridge.

We will keep our eye on updates for the summer of 2022. Sliding Rock is also currently closed.

Lastly, if hiking seems a tad much, read more about Asheville’s quaint parks and gardens.

You and your family may also enjoy the nature trails at Beaver Lake and the Botanical Gardens at Asheville.

Save These Kid-Friendly Hikes For Later

Kid Friendly Hikes Asheville NC Pinterest Pin with picture of Hooker Falls at DuPont State Forest in fall

Did you find a few new short hikes near Asheville to try? Save this post for later, and hike like a local with Uncorked Asheville.

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Tori Curran Explore With Tori white woman with long dirty blonde hair in light blue shirt with baby in hiking pack on back

Thank you to Uncorked Asheville contributor, Tori Curran from Explore With Tori

Tori is a mom to two boys, living in New York but adventuring everywhere, usually with a toddler on her back. She’s an avid traveler, nature junkie, and writer encouraging families to get outside and start exploring the world. When she’s not hiking or traveling, you can find her lost in a book, watching Bravo reruns, or obsessively decluttering her home.

Which short hikes near Asheville, NC do you love?

There are a plethora of easy hikes near Asheville. Which ones do you frequent or most enjoy? What are your favorite family-friendly trails? Let us know in the comments.

14 Great Hiking Trails Near Asheville for Any Experience Level

What comes to mind when you think of Asheville? If it’s not miles upon miles of beautiful hiking country, maybe it should be!

Asheville is known for being one of the most beautiful areas in western North Carolina. It’s a charming town tucked away in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s home to dense green forests, brilliant waterfalls, and plenty of mountain summits with impressive views.

Some of these hiking trails are part of a larger trail network called the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. This impressive 1,200-mile trail begins at the Tennessee border and runs through Asheville, connecting to ten state parks and three national forests along the way.

Whether you are a brand-new hiker or an experienced mountaineer, Asheville hiking will be rewarding. With the help of this guide, you will be able to plan your next great adventure on the best hikes in Asheville, NC!

Table of Contents

Easy Hikes Near Asheville, NC

1. Asheville Botanical Gardens Trail

Location: Asheville Botanical Gardens

Trail Length: Half-mile

Trail Type: Loop Trail

Estimated Time: 30 minutes round-trip

The 10-acre Asheville Botanical Gardens is located just over a mile north of downtown at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. This is an easy shaded half-mile loop that features more than 600 species of plants and wildflowers native to the Appalachian Mountains.

This is a family-friendly trail that would be a great introduction to hiking. Along the trail, you will encounter a babbling creek and plenty of great picnic spots. And keep your eyes peeled for the historical marker that commemorates where the Battle of Asheville took place at the end of the Civil War!

asheville botanical gardens

Photo Credit: kingary (flickr)

2. Black Balsam Knob Trail

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway

Trail Length: 2 miles

Trail Type: Out and Back

Estimated Time: 1-hour round-trip

This easy hike gives you all the views you’d expect from the Blue Ridge Parkway, including gorgeous vistas of Black Balsam Knob. This trail is both family-friendly and dog-friendly which makes it perfect for a weekend outing. It’s very popular during the summer months since it’s peak blueberry season. Bring the whole family to pick delicious blueberries with stunning mountain views.

When you arrive at the trailhead for Black Balsam Knob, you’ll also be at the parking area for the Art Loeb Trail. You will take this trail to get to Black Balsam Knob. As the trail starts, you will hike through a lush forest with rocky terrain before arriving at a meadow with panoramic views. Then, you’ll pass through a bald as you gently ascend to the top of Black Balsam Knob. Bring a picnic for the summit, and then gently descend the way that you came.

3. Craggy Gardens Trail

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway

Trail Length: 2 miles

Trail Type: Out and Back

Estimated Time: 1-hour round-trip

Craggy Gardens is a unique, rocky forest full of rhododendrons that you don’t want to miss. Tall grasses, wildflowers, scrubs, and blueberry bushes cover scenic mountain balds.

You will begin by hiking through a dense forest and twisted, knobby trees to a grassy meadow at the summit. At the peak, the 360-degree views of this high-elevation dreamscape will stun you.

This trail is beautiful in many seasons as the rhododendrons are blooming in June, and blueberries are ripening in late summer.

After enjoying epic mountain views at the summit, you will dip back into the tree line that eventually leads to a picnic area and back to the visitor’s center.

4. Max Patch Trail

Location: Appalachian Trail in the Pisgah National Forest

Trail Length: 1.5 miles

Trail Type: Loop Trail

Estimated Time: 1-hour round-trip

Max Patch is a scenic mountain bald nestled in the southern Appalachian Mountains. This landmark is often called “the crown jewel of the Appalachian Trail”.

The bare mountain top didn’t occur naturally, as it was cleared for grazing land in the 1800s.

This trail begins at a parking area along a gravel road. You will follow the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail up a gradual open climb with panoramic views that only get better as you go. You then briefly enter a dense green tunnel before emerging again on the bald as you ascend to the top of Max Patch. The summit is a great place to have lunch and enjoy the views!

From the peak, you can see Mount Mitchell to the east and the Great Smokey Mountains to the west. About one mile in, you will leave the white blazes and veer right to follow the Max Patch spur trail back to the trailhead and parking area.

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Moderate Hikes Near Asheville, North Carolina

5. Balsam Nature Trail & Mount Mitchell Summit

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway at Mt. Mitchell State Park

Trail Length: 1 mile

Trail Type: Paved Loop Trail

Estimated Time: 1-hour round-trip

This trail may not be very long, but the one-mile loop sure offers some incredible panoramic views!

This trail summits Mount Mitchell, which stands at 6684 feet. At this summit, you’ll be standing on the highest peak east of the Mississippi River!

Due to the high elevation, it can often be windy, foggy, and sometimes even snowy at the top of Mount Mitchell, so it’s important to plan accordingly. Despite this, hiking through the mist and foggy forest will still leave you in awe.

The trail then connects to the Balsam Nature Trail through a high-elevation forest that provides gorgeous vista views.

This trail is both family and dog-friendly, and it’s easy to access via the free summit parking area off of the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile point 355. The trailhead is also inside the Black Mountain Campground.

This popular hike is definitely one to include on your next Asheville hiking adventure!

6. Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway

Trail Length: about 1 mile

Trail Type: Out and Back

Estimated Time: 1-hour round-trip

This trail is relatively short but deep, and easy to access as it’s one of the closest hikes to downtown Asheville.

You will begin by hiking through a tunnel of rhododendrons. As you continue, you will begin to climb up stone-cut steps. These will bring you to the pinnacle which boasts epic panoramic views of mountain vistas and dramatic rocky outcroppings.

This summit is said to have some of the best sunsets in North Carolina! And for a bonus, hike this trail in June during peak rhododendron bloom for the most gorgeous views.

You should keep in mind Craggy Gardens has a fragile ecosystem with delicate plants, so it’s important to stay on the trail to protect the Craggy Pinnacle.

To access the Craggy Pinnacle Trail, take the Blue Ridge Parkway North past the Visitor Center and park in the Craggy Dome parking lot.

7. Mount Pisgah Trail

Location: Pisgah National Forest

Trail Length: 2.5 miles

Trail Type: Out and Back

Estimated Time: 2 hours round-trip

Mount Pisgah is an iconic landmark in Asheville, North Carolina, and it can be seen from many surrounding mountain summits.

After leaving the trailhead in the Pisgah National Forest, the trail begins relatively flat as you hike through rhododendrons and mountain laurel. From there, you begin a steep climb through a hardwood forest that eventually leads to a series of rock steps. As you get closer to the peak, you’ll then encounter log step switchbacks.

You will be stunned by the vista views at this 5,721-foot summit with an observation platform. On a clear day, you can see Cold Mountain to the west, and Looking Glass Rock and Frying Pan Mountain to the southwest.

This trail boasts beautiful wildflower blooms in the spring and summer that you won’t want to miss! Once you reach the summit of Mount Pisgah, you can see another legendary peak in Asheville: Cold Mountain. After taking in all the views, you descend the same trail in which you came.

8. Rattlesnake Lodge via Mountains to Sea Trail

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway

Trail Length: 4 miles

Trail Type: Out and Back

Estimated Time: 3 hours round-trip

This trail is known for its beauty and unique history. It’s a dog-friendly route less traveled making it perfect for a peaceful hike with you and your best friend.

The trail begins at a small parking lot and follows the Mountains to Sea Trail to the east. On the way to Rattlesnake Lodge, a breathtaking view of rocky outcropping above the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Along this trail, you will hike through a hardwood forest along a narrow historic road to the remains of an estate dating back to the 1900s. The majestic lodge was built in 1904 as a wealthy family’s summer home. The lodge got its name because of its infamous living room ceiling covered in rattlesnake skins.

This trail is especially beautiful during the autumn months due to the breathtaking fall foliage colors.

Difficult Hikes Near Asheville

9. Art Loeb Trail

Location: Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, North Carolina

Trail Length: 30 miles

Trail Type: Point to Point

Estimated Time: 3-4 days round-trip

If you’re looking for a stunning trail for your next multi-day backpacking trip, the Art Loeb Trail is perfect for you.

This hiking trail was named in memoriam of Art Loeb, who was a true lover of the Blue Ridge Mountains and an activist from the Carolina Mountain Club.

This trail follows peaks and ridges and touches some of the highest points in the Black Balsams. Many hikers describe this trail as equal parts stunning and challenging, as it boasts some of the most beautiful views of the Pisgah National Forest. Many backpackers hike this trail in 3 or 4 days, but it’s also possible to hike shorter sections of the Art Loeb Trail as day hikes.

This trail is also dog-friendly, so make sure to bring yours along for this backpacking adventure!

10. Grandfather Mountain Trail

Location: Grandfather Mountain State Park

Trail Length: about 5 miles

Trail Type: Loop trail

Estimated Time: 5 hours round-trip

If you’re up for the challenge, this rewarding trail is known as the most technical hike east of the Mississippi! It’s quite the adventure, but keep in mind that it’s meant for experienced hikers.

The trail takes you to Grandfather Mountain’s three iconic peaks: MacRae Peak, Attic Window Peak, and Calloway Peak. The trail starts at the parking lot and quickly ascends through evergreen and rhododendron forests. It then becomes rugged and includes multiple cable assists, so this is where experience is needed.

You will use cables and ladders to summit the sheer rock face of MacRae Peak. The next summit is just over a quarter-mile up the trail and offers gorgeous views of dramatic rocky outcroppings.

Many hikers will choose to turn around after summiting the Attic window, but you can continue just over one mile to Calloway Peak, which is the highest of the three at 5,964 feet. The difficulty of this trail is well worth it as the high-elevation views are unmatched.

11. Table Rock Mountain Summit Trail

Location: Linville Gorge in western North Carolina

Trail Length: 2 miles

Trail Type: Out and Back

Estimated Time: 1.5 hours round-trip

This trail may be short, but its steep grade makes it quite the challenge.

Table Rock Mountain is a flattened peak with a rocky summit, and the trail leading up to it provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Linville Gorge. Some avid hikers even say that the views from this summit are some of the best in North Carolina!

Your journey begins at a trailhead off of a Forest Service Road. From there, you will steadily climb an ascending stone staircase surrounded by craggy cliffs and dense green shrubs. As you get closer to the summit, you’ll encounter a few scrambles on rocky outcroppings while continuing up switchbacks.

At the apex, the wide expanse of exposed granite will leave you awestruck by its rugged beauty. From the summit, you’ll be able to see Hawksbill Mountain and Linville Falls to the north. After you’ve taken in the stunning landscape, you’ll begin your descent back to the trailhead.

Hikes with Waterfalls Near Asheville

12. Trail to High Falls, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls

Trail Length: 2 miles

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway

Trail Type: Out and Back

Estimated Time: 1-hour round-trip

The areas around Dupont State Forest are known as “The Land of the Waterfalls”. After completing this hike, you will understand why! This easy to moderate hiking trail gives you a glimpse of some of the most beautiful falls in the region. Family-friendly, dog-friendly

Start from the Hooker Falls Access Area parking lot. Hike through dense evergreen and hardwood forest. Hooker Falls is peaceful and quaint. From there, go back the way you came until the pedestrian bridge. Walk along Little River to the base of Triple Falls, much steeper. Continue to reach High Falls.

13. Linville Falls

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway

Trail Length: 2 miles

Trail Type: Out and Back

Estimated Time: 1-hour round-trip

The Linville Gorge is carved into the mountains between Asheville and Boone, North Carolina, and the Linville Falls are at the gorge’s northern edge near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This moderate hiking trail begins at a visitor center off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 316. From there, it crosses over the Linville Falls which cascades over a massive cliff and pools into the basin below.

You’ll get another stunning view as the trail continues to climb toward the upper falls. The trail then enters an old-growth forest before yet another beautiful view of the falls at the Chimney Rock overlook. The trail then goes shortly downhill to Erwin’s View which offers panoramic views of Linville Falls.

14. Looking Glass Falls

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway

Trail Length: half-mile

Trail Type: Out and Back

Estimated Time: 20 minutes round-trip

Known as one of North Carolina’s most popular waterfalls, these beautiful falls are set just off highway US 276 between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Brevard.

This short, easy day hike is not one to miss, as this 60-foot waterfall is an absolute must-see!

Begin for a hike at the parking lot to make the quarter-mile jaunt over to the base of the falls. In the summer months, you’ll enjoy a cool mist and abundant wildflowers along the way. Swimming is allowed at the waterfall, but rocks are slippery so swim at your own risk.

This trail is family and dog-friendly, so make sure this one is on your list for waterfall hikes for the whole family!

15 Best Hikes Near Asheville NC

Ah, the hiking in Asheville! It’s home to some of the best trails in the Eastern part of the United States. Several of the hikes on our list are located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and some are further outside of the city. Lots of locals will refer to trailhead parking lots being located at a certain mile marker off the Parkway so we’ve included them in here as well when applicable.

We’ve also shared distances (round-trip) and difficulty (easy, moderate, strenuous) so that you can make an informed decision before you head out on an adventure! Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and remember to Leave No Trace!

The Best Hikes Near Asheville NC - includes distance and difficulty //

Last Updated: March 12, 2021


1. Mount Pisgah

Drive from Asheville: 35 miles / 51 minutes away
Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Strenuous
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.42105, -82.74984

This is one of the most popular hikes in the area. The trailhead is located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile 407.6 and has a fairly large parking lot to accommodate the weekend crowds. The trail is rocky in sections and though it’s only a mile and a half up to the summit (5,721 feet), some sections are strenuous. There is a large tower at the top but the view is still incredible.

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2. Craggy Gardens Trail

Drive from Asheville: 19.6 miles / 39 minutes away
Distance: 1.6 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Address: 364 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Black Mountain, NC 28711

The trail, which is a Natural Heritage Area, starts at the Visitor Center. About a quarter-mile into the hike, you’ll pass under a trail shelter that offers shade from the sun during warmer months. If you keep hiking for another half mile or so you will come to a bald that in mid-June is pink and purple with the flowers of the Catawba rhododendron. This trail is worth visiting year-round. In the fall, the mountain ash produces a red berry that is a photographer’s delight. In the winter, many of the trees are covered in ice, which gives the mountain a shimmering, frosted look. No matter the season, please stay on the trail as this is a fragile eco-system and one that is damaged by human footsteps.

Craggy Gardens Trail - In the fall, the mountain ash produces a red berry that is a photographer’s delight. //

3. Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Drive from Asheville: 19.6 miles / 39 minutes away
Distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Address: 3641 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Barnardsville, NC 28709

Want an awesome view but don’t want to be in the woods for half a day? No worries, this trail is short (3/4 of a mile to the top) and sweet. There are a few trees at the summit so you can bring along a hammock for the best rest of your life. Full disclosure: it climbs 252 feet in elevation and is not flat, but you get a head start on the elevation because the parking lot sits at 5,640 feet.

4. Looking Glass Hike

Drive from Asheville: 38 miles / 53 mins away
Distance: 6.5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Strenuous
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.30372, -82.79346

Wake up early, get to the trailhead before everyone else does to set forth on one of the most popular hikes in the area. About two miles into the hike you’ll come to a flat rock area or clearing used for helicopter landings for rescuing rock climbers. This is a good place to rest but don’t quit here, the view coming up is more than worth it. This is one of my favorite hikes in the area. The elevation is only 1,700 feet but it feels like you’re much higher. My first time there, I felt like we were out west.

Looking Glass Falls NC + 15 Best Hikes Near Asheville NC

5. DuPont State Forest

Drive from Asheville: 39 miles / 1 hr 7 mins away
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Address: 89 Buck Forest Rd, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718

There are 86 miles of trails here! Located between Brevard and Hendersonville, it’s a 40-mile drive from Asheville. This is a 3-mile hike taking you to 3 separate waterfalls (Hooker, Triple, and High Falls). The park is free and open 5 am to 10 pm, so bring breakfast for a sunrise hike or watch the sunlight fade and the stars appear for a night picnic. If you’re looking to avoid crowds here, visit early in the day or during the week.

Dupont State Forest - There are 86 miles of trails here! It’s a 40-mile drive from Asheville. This 3-mile hike taking you to 3 waterfalls (Hooker, Triple, and High Falls). //

6. Max Patch Hike

Drive from Asheville: 52 miles / 1 hr 16 mins away
Distance: 1.4 mile loop (crosses the summit) / 2.4 mile loop (circles the mountain)
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.79638, -82.95855

When Caroline’s parents came to visit, we took them hiking here. Her dad said that it was the highlight of his entire trip. Getting there (and back) can be tricky because the turnoffs are not marked well. We recommend taking notes or snapping photos at the turns. It can look very different on the drive back out and several sections of the road are gravel lanes. As her dad will vouch, the view is more than worth it. Can you even imagine a 350-acre grassy bald with panoramic views?

Max Patch Hike Near Asheville NC - When Caroline’s parents came to visit, her dad said this was the highlight of his entire trip. Imagine a 350 acre grassy bald panoramic views //

7. Graveyard Fields Loop

Drive from Asheville: 35 miles / 58 minutes away
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.32091, -82.85291

Several hundred years ago, high winds toppled the trees leaving stumps that resembled gravestones across the valley. A wildfire in 1925 scorched all growth here after recently being logged and the area has been slow to recover since. There are two waterfalls here in a mile-high valley surrounded by wildflowers. The colors as the leaves change in the fall are glorious with 360-degree views of 6,000-foot peaks.

Graveyard Fields Loop - There are two waterfalls here in a valley surrounded by wildflowers. The fall colors are glorious with 360-degree views of 6,000-foot peaks. //

8. Sliding Rock

Drive from Asheville: 35 miles / 59 mins away
Distance: A short walk from the parking area
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.3115, -82.78723

Sliding rock is an exhilarating natural water slide. Caroline’s dad slid over this rock when he was a kid! Right off the road is a 60-foot long smooth sloping boulder with 11,000 gallons of water flowing per minute. At the end of the slide is an 8 ft deep swimming hole, so make sure you can swim. The water temperature stays chilly (between 50-60 degrees), so it’s extremely popular on hot summer days and the lines can get long. When lifeguards are on duty (seasonally), it’s $2 admission.

9. Mt. Mitchell Summit Trail

Drive from Asheville: 37 miles / 1hr 9 mins away
Distance: 1/10 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.76544, -82.26508

Mt. Mitchell is the highest mountain in the Eastern United States. The summit is located within Mt. Mitchell State Park, which is free to enter and is easily located off the Parkway. Not feeling up for a hike today but still want the view? You can actually drive almost all the way to the top for a panoramic view.

Pro Tip: If you’re up for a longer day of hiking, consider the Mount Mitchell Trail which is 5.6 miles long and considered strenuous. It’s steep in sections but the views are more than worth it.

Mount Mitchell is the highest mountain in Eastern United States - If you

Mount Mitchell Summit Trail - Mt. Mitchell is the highest mountain in the Eastern United States. Here


10. Sam Knob Hike

Drive from Asheville: 37 miles / 1 hr away
Distance: 2.2 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.32572, -82.882

Sam Knob is great for a spectacular view since it sits at an elevation of 6,045 feet and is located on a bald with rocks and shrubs (read: very little stands in your way of a panoramic photograph). The trail starts out as gravel, gives way to a boardwalk, and then turns into singletrack with big rocks.

Pro Tip: The view at the top is fantastic but be sure to bring sunscreen since there is very little shade at the top.

Sam Knob hike near Asheville NC is great for a spectacular view since it sits at an elevation of 6,045 feet and is located on a bald with rocks and shrubs. //

11. Rattlesnake Lodge Trail (part of the Mountains to Sea Trail)

Drive from Asheville: 14 miles / 20 minutes away
Distance: 2.8 roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.669750, -82.471250

The MST or MTS Trail is an 1,150-mile trail that runs east/west from the mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The entire trail is not finished, but it is still the longest trail in the state of North Carolina. Want to hike the MTS but don’t have a few months to devote to the trek? Park off Ox Creek Road and hike a section of it! Dr. Chase Ambler built this summer home for his family in 1904 and was in use until 1926 when it burned down. You will see remains of a spring house, pool, main reservoir, ‘the Shack’, cow barn, and main lodge. Though right on the Parkway, this hike quickly veers away from it so that little traffic noise can be heard the further along the trail you get.

12. Shut In Trail

Drive from Asheville: 10 miles / 16 min away
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Trailhead Address: 3938 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Arden, NC 28704

The Shut-In Trail was constructed by George W. Vanderbilt (he also constructed the Biltmore Estate!). It starts at NC Highway 191 near Bent Creek and goes to the Mount Pisgah Parking Area. The entire trail is 16.3 miles long and there is even a pretty famous running race that takes place on this trail on the first Saturday in November. Most people don’t want to do the entire trail because overnight camping is not allowed along the Parkway, so day hikes are common. Park at the French Broad overlook, milepost 393.8. The trail starts at the Parkway’s entrance/exit ramp for NC 191.

13. Lake Powhatan at Bent Creek

Drive from Asheville: 10 miles / 16 mins away
Distance: 1.5 mile roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead Address: 375 Wesley Branch Rd, Asheville, NC 28806

Bent Creek is part of the original 1,100 acres purchased by George Vanderbilt of the Biltmore Estate. Park at the Lake Powhatan recreation area and from here you can navigate an easy wooded walk that takes you around the lake. Fishing and swimming are allowed, so bring an ice chest filled with snacks to spend an entire afternoon or book a campsite and make it an overnight!

Bent Creek hike is an easy wooded walk that takes you around Lake Powhatan. Check out the other best hikes near Asheville NC //

14. Black Balsam Knob

Drive from Asheville: 37.6 miles / 1 hr 4 min away
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.32558, -82.88198

If you hike this, you’ll be climbing the 23rd highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina over 6,000 feet. Actual elevation? 6,214. The views are as good as you imagine at this height. In the winter, some of the trees get covered in ice and will give the mountainside a silvery look. The parking lot is conveniently located at Mile 420.2.

Black Balsam near Asheville NC - If you hike this, you’ll be climbing the 23rd highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina that are over 6,000 feet //

15. Devil’s Courthouse

Distance: 1 mile roundtrip
Difficulty: Strenuous
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.30288, -82.89568

If you’re into old folklore, this is the hike for you. The rock profile has led locals to call it “devilish.” It’s also home to a cave where, in Cherokee lore, the devil holds court. This hike is short and is located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile 422.4. It’s great if you don’t have a lot of time but still want a great view. It’s short (a half mile) but also steep and strenuous. Elevation? 5,720 feet!

Pro Tip: The trail is paved but flip flops are not recommended.

If you’re into old folklore, the short Devil

Map of 15 Best Hikes in Asheville

Like what you’ve seen? Pin it for later or share it on Facebook! Got a tip of your own? Leave it in the comments below!

Here is the best of Asheville hiking with distance, difficulty, and trailhead information.

The hikes near Asheville NC are some of the best in Eastern United States. The trails are what brings a lot of people to town and convinces many of them to stay //

The Best Hikes Near Asheville NC with the distance and difficulty //


They are entrepreneurs and creatives who love finding adventure, both big and small. The two have made a daily practice of sharing vulnerabilities, truth telling, and side splitting laughter. They’ve honed the art of travelling fast and doing all of the things that an adventurer can do in a day or two. The couple lives in Asheville, North Carolina and spend as much time as possible in the mountains.


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