Pack a picnic and enjoy the sweeping, breathtaking sights.
Best hikes in North Carolina’s mountains
Graveyard Fields is one of the most popular trailheads near Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s a great swimming hole that many people hike to during the summer, and the landscape looks like its on fire when the leaves change in the fall. It tends to be crowded, so get there early or plan to park farther away from the trailhead.
Art Loeb is another favourite for a reason. This trail climbs four balds including Cold Mountain and the quartz rock formations of Shining Rock Mountain. It’s located within Pisgah National Forest which means it’s at a lower elevation and open longer throughout the year thanks to milder weather than on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
If you’re after stunning waterfalls, this is a hike for you. This is a fast out-and-back trail that’s only a mile and a half, so it’s an easy one for an afternoon adventure. It’s also the perfect summer swimming hole thanks to its relative seclusion.
If you’ve spent any time in Asheville, you’re no doubt familiar with Catawba beer. Pack a few in with you to enjoy once you reach the falls, but don’t forget to pack your cans out too. This three-mile out-and-back trail is a refreshing walk with a beautiful reward.
This trail located along the Appalachian Trail is a great five-miler with wide open views of rolling hills all around. Once you reach the ridgeline, rock along and take in everything that surrounds you.
This three-mile round trip out-and-back trail is something of a perch. Once you reach the turning back point, you can see in every direction around you. Go around sunset for a beautiful scene, but take a headlamp even though the elevation gain isn’t much. It’s easily one of the best hikes in North Carolina.
Located within Pinnacle Park, this hike is definitely more challenging, but the final reward is worth the work. Relatively good fitness is required to make the six and a half mile trip that gains roughly 2,800 feet (850 meters) of elevation. Once you reach the top though, you’ll find wide-sweeping views of craggy forest-covered mountains that make it all worth the effort.