With over 3,000 miles of hiking trails near Asheville, it’s an impossible task to pick our favorites. Featuring cascading waterfalls and tall peaks that kiss the sky, there’s a little something for everyone who loves a good hiking adventure. Our love for our gorgeous and perfectly preserved trails is indiscriminate, but you can read on to learn 5 of the most notable ones.
Triple Falls Trail
One of Asheville’s more famous trails, DuPont State Forest is home to the Triple Falls Trail featured in blockbusters “The Hunger Games” and “Last of the Mohicans”. This trail features a winding and well-maintained pathway that is perfect for any waterfall lover, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the sights and sounds of a beautiful waterfall? You’ll make your first stop at Hooker Falls and then follow the path to Triple Falls, a series of three gorgeous cascades, before you end up at High Falls; it’s only a three-mile round-trip. This slice of heaven is located just 37 miles south of Asheville.
Old Mitchell Trail
Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and the Old Mitchell Trail will take you to the very top, 6,684 feet into the sky to be exact! The mountain features many different paths to ascend to the top, but Old Mitchell Trail is one of our favorites. Featuring a four-mile round-trip that will take you through the lush Balsam Nature Trail and bring you face-to-face with some tough climbs over rocks and roots, this trail rewards you like no other with a fantastic view of the world below as you stand atop the Appalachian peaks. Any difficulty faced along the way is immediately rendered worthwhile as you’re blanketed with the chilled mountain air and given a fresh perspective of the world.
Max Patch Short Loop
One of the best spots for a picnic with the family, Max Patch Short Loop is an easily traversable trail that delivers you to the top of Max Patch, which is a domed mountain bald covered in freckles of wildflowers and blackberry bushes. Surrounded at its base by woods and pastureland that swell into distant mountains such as the Black Mountain Range and the aforementioned Mount Mitchell, you’ll have a 360-degree view of North Carolina’s finest peaks. The Max Patch Short Loop is just a 1.4-mile hike and the mountaintop is very accessible from the nearest parking area, but it fills up quick, so make sure you arrive early!
Linville Gorge Wilderness Loop
If you’re looking for a trail that requires a higher degree of difficulty and experience, this is the one for you. This 21.9-mile trail will take you along the rims of Jonas Ridge and Linville Mountain while also dipping 2,000 feet below into the Linville River. The path is made even more difficult by poor trail markings and fallen trees, so we suggest bringing a map and compass to help you out. This trail is best completed over the course of two or three nights, but fortunately, there are plenty of campsites along the way for you to pitch a tent. You’re rewarded with fantastic views at the tops of Big Flat Rock Overlook and Table Rock Mountain along the way, which provide great incentive to keep up your trek.
As one of the best views in the Asheville wilderness, Craggy Gardens offers you a very high reward for little exertion. This 1.9-mile round-trip trail climbs only 252 feet in elevation but ends at the pinnacle of Craggy Gardens, a beautiful heath bald dotted with pink rhododendron and swaying wildflowers that sits 5,892 feet above sea level. Your adventure to the peak will take you through pleasant tunnels of mountain laurel and birch trees with the occasional lookout to steal a gorgeous view while you catch your breath.