Best Hiking Trails in Asheville

View of Mount Mitchell near Asheville, North Carolina
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Asheville, North Carolina, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with its stunning natural beauty and diverse range of hiking trails. From the soaring peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the lush valleys and waterfalls of the Pisgah National Forest, Asheville has something for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, you’ll find plenty of trails to explore and discover in this scenic mountain town. In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 hiking trails in Asheville, based on their popularity, accessibility, and natural beauty. So pack your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and get ready to explore some of the best hiking trails that Asheville has to offer!



Black Balsam Knob Trail

Trail Length: 6.2 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 1,584 Feet | Trailhead: Black Balsam Parking Area

The Black Balsam Knob Trail is a must-visit hiking destination in Asheville, North Carolina. Located in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, this trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. The trail is known for its high-altitude balds, which provide panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape. With a moderate difficulty level and a relatively short distance, the Black Balsam Knob Trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels who want to experience the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Reasons to Hike Black Balsam Knob Trail:

  • Breathtaking Views: The Black Balsam Knob Trail offers stunning panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including several high-altitude balds that offer unobstructed vistas of the surrounding landscape.
  • Easy Accessibility: The trailhead is easily accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the trail itself is well-maintained and marked, making it a great choice for hikers of all skill levels.
  • Unique Hiking Experience: The high-altitude balds and rocky terrain give the Black Balsam Knob Trail a unique feel and provide a memorable hiking experience that is unlike any other in the Asheville area.
  • Wildlife Sightings: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, black bears, and a variety of bird species, making it a great spot for wildlife viewing and photography.
  • Seasonal Beauty: The trail is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change color, but it also offers stunning views in the spring and summer, when the wildflowers are in bloom and the surrounding forests are lush and green.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Daypack, Trekking Poles, Water Bottle, Snacks, Rain Jacket, Sunscreen


Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

Trail Length: 3.2 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 617 Feet | Trailhead: Graveyard Fields Parking Area

The Graveyard Fields Loop Trail is a popular hiking destination located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, North Carolina. This trail takes hikers on a scenic journey through a beautiful valley filled with waterfalls, wildflowers, and lush forests. With its moderate difficulty level and well-marked trail, the Graveyard Fields Loop Trail is a great choice for hikers of all skill levels who want to experience the natural beauty of the Asheville area.

Reasons to Hike Graveyard Fields Loop Trail:

  • Scenic Waterfalls: The trail takes hikers past two stunning waterfalls, Lower Falls and Upper Falls, which provide plenty of opportunities for photos and relaxation.
  • Beautiful Valley: The Graveyard Fields Loop Trail winds through a picturesque valley filled with wildflowers, lush forests, and scenic vistas.
  • Accessibility: The trail is easily accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway and has a well-marked trailhead, making it a great choice for hikers of all skill levels.
  • Dog-Friendly: The Graveyard Fields Loop Trail is dog-friendly, so hikers can bring their furry friends along for the adventure.
  • Seasonal Beauty: The trail is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change color, but it also offers stunning views in the spring and summer, when the wildflowers are in bloom and the surrounding forests are lush and green.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Daypack, Water Bottle, Snacks, Insect Repellent, Sunscreen, Rain Jacket


Max Patch Loop Trail

Trail Length: 1.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy | Elevation Gain: 328 Feet | Trailhead: Max Patch Parking Area

The Max Patch Loop Trail is a must-do hike for anyone visiting Asheville, North Carolina. This 1.5-mile loop takes hikers to the top of Max Patch, a stunning grassy bald that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. With its easy accessibility and breathtaking views, the Max Patch Loop Trail is a popular choice for hikers of all skill levels.

Reasons to Hike Max Patch Loop Trail:

  • Spectacular Views: The Max Patch Loop Trail offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making it one of the best places in the area to catch a sunset or sunrise.
  • Easy Accessibility: The trailhead is easily accessible from the parking lot, and the trail itself is short and easy to navigate, making it a great choice for hikers of all ages and skill levels.
  • Unique Terrain: The trail takes hikers across a grassy bald, a rare type of ecosystem in the southern Appalachian Mountains that provides a unique hiking experience.
  • Wildflowers: In the spring and summer, the Max Patch Loop Trail is covered in colorful wildflowers, creating a picturesque and peaceful atmosphere.
  • Great for Picnics: The top of Max Patch provides a perfect spot for a picnic or a rest, with plenty of space to spread out and take in the scenery.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Shoes, Daypack, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Hat, Snacks


Craggy Gardens Trail

Trail Length: 1.4 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy | Elevation Gain: 322 Feet | Trailhead: Craggy Gardens Visitor Center

The Craggy Gardens Trail is a stunning hiking trail located on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina. This 1.4-mile round-trip hike takes you to the top of Craggy Pinnacle, where you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. With its beautiful wildflowers, unique rock formations, and breathtaking views, the Craggy Gardens Trail is a must-do hike in the Asheville area.

Reasons to Hike Craggy Gardens Trail:

  • Spectacular Views: The Craggy Gardens Trail offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making it one of the best places in the area to catch a sunrise or sunset.
  • Unique Rock Formations: The trail takes hikers through a unique area of exposed rock formations, which provide a great opportunity to explore and take in the natural beauty of the area.
  • Beautiful Wildflowers: The Craggy Gardens Trail is home to a variety of stunning wildflowers, including rhododendrons and mountain laurels, which bloom in the late spring and early summer.
  • Great for All Skill Levels: With a short distance of just 1.4 miles round-trip, the Craggy Gardens Trail is accessible for hikers of all skill levels, including families with children.
  • Convenient Location: The trailhead is easily accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and is located just a short drive from Asheville, making it a convenient destination for a quick hike or a day trip.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Shoes, Daypack, Water Bottle, Snacks, Sunscreen, Hat, Camera


Looking Glass Rock Trail

Trail Length: 6.2 Miles | Difficulty Level: Strenuous | Elevation Gain: 1,823 Feet | Trailhead: Looking Glass Rock Overlook Parking Area

Looking Glass Rock Trail is a challenging yet rewarding hiking trail located in Pisgah National Forest near Asheville. The trail offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as a unique rock formation at the summit that resembles a looking glass. The 6.2-mile round-trip trail is perfect for experienced hikers looking for a challenging climb and breathtaking vistas.

Reasons to Hike Looking Glass Rock Trail:

  • Stunning Views: The trail offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and valleys.
  • Unique Rock Formation: At the summit, hikers can witness a unique rock formation that resembles a looking glass, adding to the trail’s allure.
  • Challenging Hike: The trail is a challenging climb, making it a perfect adventure for experienced hikers who enjoy a good challenge.
  • Wildlife and Nature: Hikers can encounter a variety of wildlife and natural beauty along the trail, including waterfalls and wildflowers.
  • Accessibility: The trail is located just a short drive from Asheville, making it easily accessible for hikers visiting the area.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Snacks


Mount Mitchell Trail

Trail Length: 11.2 Miles | Difficulty Level: Strenuous | Elevation Gain: 3,664 Feet | Trailhead: Black Mountain Campground

The Mount Mitchell Trail is a challenging and rewarding hike that takes you to the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. As you make your way up to the summit, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. The trail is steep and rocky, but the stunning scenery and sense of accomplishment make it all worth it.

Reasons to Hike Mount Mitchell Trail:

  • Highest Peak in the Eastern United States: Mount Mitchell stands at an elevation of 6,684 feet, making it the tallest peak in the eastern U.S.
  • Spectacular Views: The Mount Mitchell Trail offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding forests.
  • Challenging but Rewarding: The trail is steep and rocky, but the sense of accomplishment and stunning scenery make it worth the effort.
  • Opportunities for wildlife viewing: Keep an eye out for black bears, deer, and other wildlife along the trail.
  • History and Culture: Mount Mitchell is named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor who first measured its height in 1835. The trail offers a glimpse into the natural and cultural history of the region.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Hat, Warm Layers


Rattlesnake Lodge Trail

Trail Length: 3.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 696 Feet | Trailhead: Rattlesnake Lodge Parking Area

The Rattlesnake Lodge Trail is a moderate hike that offers a unique glimpse into Asheville’s history. The trail features the remains of the historic Rattlesnake Lodge and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. With a variety of terrain and scenery, this trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels.

Reasons to Hike Rattlesnake Lodge Trail:

  • Historic Site: The trail takes you to the ruins of the Rattlesnake Lodge, a former summer retreat for wealthy families in the early 1900s.
  • Scenic Views: You’ll encounter stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests as you hike the trail.
  • Accessibility: The trailhead is easily accessible and located just a short drive from Asheville.
  • Varied Terrain: The trail offers a mix of rocky terrain, lush forests, and open meadows, providing a diverse hiking experience.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, deer, and the occasional black bear, making it a great spot for nature lovers.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Daypack, Trekking Poles, Sunscreen, Water Bottle, Snacks, Hat,


Moore Cove Falls Trail

Trail Length: 1.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy | Elevation Gain: 400 Feet | Trailhead: Moore Cove Falls Parking Area

Moore Cove Falls Trail is a picturesque hike located near Brevard, North Carolina. This easy trail leads to a 50-foot waterfall that cascades over a rock outcropping and creates a refreshing mist below. The trail is perfect for all skill levels, making it a great option for families with children or those who want a more relaxed hike.

Reasons to Hike Moore Cove Falls Trail:

  • Beautiful Waterfall: The trail leads to the stunning Moore Cove Falls, which cascades 50 feet down a rock face into a tranquil pool.
  • Easy Hike: The trail is only 1.5 miles round-trip and is relatively flat, making it a perfect hike for families with children or those looking for a leisurely stroll.
  • Well-Maintained Trail: The trail is well-marked and maintained, so you can focus on enjoying the scenery rather than worrying about getting lost or navigating difficult terrain.
  • Forest Views: The trail winds through a beautiful forest, offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy the peaceful natural surroundings.
  • Wildlife Sightings: Keep an eye out for wildlife, including birds, deer, and other animals that call this area home.

Recommended Gear: Comfortable Hiking Shoes, Hydration System, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Snacks, Rain Jacket, Camera


John Rock Trail

Trail Length: 5.6 miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 1,183 Feet | Trailhead: Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education

The John Rock Trail is a popular hiking destination in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, North Carolina. The trail offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and takes hikers through lush forests, over streams and past waterfalls. The highlight of the trail is the panoramic views from the top of John Rock, which is one of the highest points in the area.

Reasons to Hike John Rock Trail:

  • Offers Breathtaking Views: The John Rock Trail rewards hikers with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Pisgah National Forest.
  • Provides a Challenging Hike: With a total distance of around 5.5 miles and a steep ascent, the John Rock Trail offers a challenging and satisfying hiking experience.
  • Opportunities for Outdoor Activities: This trail is great for activities such as hiking, trail running, and wildlife spotting.
  • Scenic Waterfall Views: Hikers will have the chance to view the mesmerizing views of the nearby waterfall.
  • Rich Flora and Fauna: The John Rock Trail offers opportunities to see diverse flora and fauna native to the Pisgah National Forest.

Recommended Gear: Sturdy Hiking Boots, Daypack, Water Bottle, Trekking Poles, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Headlamp


Rainbow Falls Trail

Trail Length: 3.9 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 1,201 Feet | Trailhead: Rainbow Falls Parking Area

Rainbow Falls Trail is a picturesque 3.9-mile hike located in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, North Carolina. This moderate trail offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains and a beautiful waterfall that cascades 150 feet into a pool below. The trail is well-maintained and features a number of wooden bridges and rocky outcroppings that add to the adventure.

Reasons to Hike Rainbow Falls Trail:

  • Majestic Waterfall: The trail leads to the stunning Rainbow Falls, which cascades down a height of 150 feet, offering a breathtaking view.
  • Wildlife: The trail provides ample opportunities to spot wildlife, including black bears, deer, and various bird species.
  • Scenic Views: Hikers are rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding Pisgah National Forest throughout the trail.
  • Hiking Difficulty: With moderate difficulty, the trail is perfect for hikers of various skill levels looking for a challenge.
  • Trail Length: The trail’s length of 3.9 miles round-trip is perfect for a half-day hike.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Shoes, Backpack, Water Bottle, Snacks, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Camera


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