Top backpacking trails near Asheville, NC – Asheville Trails – The Best Hikes Near Asheville

By 12/10/2022canus

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We’ve got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Asheville. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community. Company Mill Loop. William B. Umstead State Park.

Length: 9. The Company Mill Trail can be surprisingly tranquil for it proximity to the capitol city. Approximately 25 minutes into the hike Crabtree Creek appears, which is where the Company Mill site existed back in the early ‘s. Remnants of the old dam are visible on both sides. Crossing an iron bridge, you begin the trail’s loop section. Heading right, the trail follows the creek before walking up a short series of terraced steps. The views at the top will be minimal during the summer months.

Cherokee National Forest. This trail is great for backpacking and normally would make an overnight backpacking trip. This hike begins at Carver’s Gap parking lot.

You can either take the AT trail at the Carver’s Gap parking lot or walk up the road 2 miles to get to the parking area near Roan High Knob. Daniel Ridge Loop. The trail gets its unique name because the summit appears to resemble a menacing face when you look up at it from the base of the mountain. There are also quite a few Appalachian legends attached to the area, including the belief that the devil holds court in a North Carolina cave deep below the summit rock. The path itself is paved, but fairly steep, and travels continuously uphill.

However, all things considered, we still rate this as an easy hike. What once was an old logging road is now a beloved hiking trail that leads to four spectacular waterfalls in just a 2.

Located about an hour south of Downtown Asheville , the hike starts just off of US Surrounded by the lush scenery and wildlife of the Pisgah National Forest, each of these waterfalls feels like a little surprise. All of them offer great photo opportunities, as well as spots to sit and enjoy being immersed in nature.

Easily accessed via the Blue Ridge Parkway near MP , the Beacon Heights Trail is a favorite among families because of its short distance and spectacular payoff. After following the Mountains to Sea Trail for a short while, the hike veers to the left and reaches the southern overlook, which features far-reaching views.

Departing from this overlook, more beauty awaits as the trail heads to the northern Beacon Heights overlook. The views there are simply stunning, and the summit makes for a great photo or picnic spot.

Max Patch is a popular mountain located near the Tennessee-North Carolina border. It is widely regarded as one of the best spots to stop along the AT.

But this short, 1. Starting from a gravel parking area, the trail begins a gradual climb up Max Patch Mountain, gifting you with increasingly expansive views along the way. Max Patch is what is known as a bald mountain, meaning there are no trees at the summit.

But there are an abundance of wild berries and wildflowers that serve to beautify the area and make it a popular place for picnics. Of course there are also breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges, including the Black Mountains the tallest mountains in the Eastern US , Great Balsams, and Great Smoky Mountains. You can tour the historic house and learn more about this famous writer before exploring the five miles of hiking trails that are located on the property.

The 1. It has some fairly steep sections, but overall is relatively easy, with several benches along the way in case you want to rest a bit. To finish the hike, just go back the way you came. You can also explore other trails, like the 0. The iconic western style fire lookout tower at the summit offers spectacular sunrise views. Max Patch is one of the most visited, and well-loved, hiking destinations near Asheville.

Thanks to exceptional views at the summit, this grassy bald mountain can see crowds of hikers on warm-weather weekends. Our favorite route to Max Patch follows the Appalachian Trail from Lemon Gap , offering some extra mileage and a bit of solitude along the way. Camping is often restricted on the grassy bald, but multiple campsites along the route are available year-round along. Whether you want to stay one night or many, these are some of the best hikes with overnight camping around the Pisgah Ranger District.

While experienced hikers and trail runners may attempt a single-day traverse, most opt to split the trip into days. Across NC and just a short drive away, the Middle Prong Wilderness showcases a rugged backcountry that is rarely visited.

Similar, but less crowded than Black Balsam, Green Knob provides a phenomenal camping opportunity in a clearing with killer views of the sky.

 
 

 

The Best Hiking in Asheville NC Bucket List (Top 25 Hiking Trails).The best Backpacking in and near Asheville, North Carolina

 

The area is also home to some of the most charming Blue Ridge mountain tow ns , from quaint small towns such as Banner Elk and Burnsville to larger towns such as Boone and Asheville.

Known for a bustling downtown area packed with art deco architecture, stylish shops, critically acclaimed restaurants, art galleries , and breweries , Asheville has a little something for everyone. It also offers close proximity to some of the best hiking trails around. Hundreds of trails wind their way through the North Carolina mountains near Asheville, offering sublime views and all sorts of awesome adventures. The well-maintained trail travels mostly downhill on the way in and has bridges that cross creeks lined with lush greenery and North Carolina Wildflowers , including trillium and jack-in-the-pulpit.

For a different view, you can also make your way over the rocks to get behind the falls. Just make sure to be careful and wear shoes with traction, as the wet rocks here can be extremely slippery! There are blooming rhododendron and other vibrant wildflowers scattered about in late spring, and glorious fall colors all around in October. The views of the surrounding Pisgah National Forest are remarkable, with the majestic peaks of Mount Mitchell and Mount Craig in the near distance.

After pulling yourself away from the stunning summit views, you can follow the hike to a picturesque picnic area before retracing your steps back to the trailhead. Level of difficulty: Easy. It immediately begins climbing towards the summit on a path lined with colorful wildflowers and wild blueberries.

Once a place reserved for rangers to watch for forest fires in the area, it now provides visitors with an awesome vantage point for admiring Looking Glass Rock, Mount Pisgah, and Cold Mountain.

The jaw-dropping scenic views here will be hard to leave. While the name alone may grab your attention, Skinny Dip Falls offers a series of cascading waterfalls that are sure to captivate you with their simple beauty. The family-friendly hike departs from the Looking Glass Rock Overlook before following the Mountains to Sea Trail to the southwest and descending a steep set of wooden stairs. At just a half-mile in, the trail makes its way down a curved rock outcropping.

Here you will reach the lower pool, which offers unimpeded views of the lower Skinny Dip Falls. You can stay here or take a wooded bridge to get the best views of the upper falls. But note that the bridge is very narrow and only railed on one side.

To head back, just follow the trail back the way you came. Departing from the Blue Ridge Parkway Overlook at MP , the Devils Courthouse Trail is one of the best hikes near Asheville because of its short length and absolutely breathtaking views. The trail gets its unique name because the summit appears to resemble a menacing face when you look up at it from the base of the mountain.

There are also quite a few Appalachian legends attached to the area, including the belief that the devil holds court in a North Carolina cave deep below the summit rock. The path itself is paved, but fairly steep, and travels continuously uphill.

However, all things considered, we still rate this as an easy hike. What once was an old logging road is now a beloved hiking trail that leads to four spectacular waterfalls in just a 2. Located about an hour south of Downtown Asheville , the hike starts just off of US Surrounded by the lush scenery and wildlife of the Pisgah National Forest, each of these waterfalls feels like a little surprise.

All of them offer great photo opportunities, as well as spots to sit and enjoy being immersed in nature. Easily accessed via the Blue Ridge Parkway near MP , the Beacon Heights Trail is a favorite among families because of its short distance and spectacular payoff.

After following the Mountains to Sea Trail for a short while, the hike veers to the left and reaches the southern overlook, which features far-reaching views. Departing from this overlook, more beauty awaits as the trail heads to the northern Beacon Heights overlook. The views there are simply stunning, and the summit makes for a great photo or picnic spot.

Max Patch is a popular mountain located near the Tennessee-North Carolina border. It is widely regarded as one of the best spots to stop along the AT. But this short, 1. Starting from a gravel parking area, the trail begins a gradual climb up Max Patch Mountain, gifting you with increasingly expansive views along the way. Max Patch is what is known as a bald mountain, meaning there are no trees at the summit.

But there are an abundance of wild berries and wildflowers that serve to beautify the area and make it a popular place for picnics. Of course there are also breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges, including the Black Mountains the tallest mountains in the Eastern US , Great Balsams, and Great Smoky Mountains.

You can tour the historic house and learn more about this famous writer before exploring the five miles of hiking trails that are located on the property. The 1. It has some fairly steep sections, but overall is relatively easy, with several benches along the way in case you want to rest a bit. To finish the hike, just go back the way you came. You can also explore other trails, like the 0.

It offers relatively minimal elevation gain, yet still gifts you with magnificent views. The hike starts at the Art Loeb Trailhead just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost and heads northbound through a beautiful balsam forest. Continuing north, the trail makes its final stretch to the summit of the bald mountain at 0.

Located about 38 miles from Asheville, Sam Knob is a striking mountain that stands over 6, feet tall. The hike to the summit is under 3 miles and has moderate elevation gain, so it is usually managed well by most reasonably fit hikers.

The Sam Knob Trail starts off the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP and follows a wildflower-lined gravel road through a forest before the trees open up to reveal a broad, grassy meadow. After traversing the meadow and crossing a set of wooden stairs, your ascent up the mountain begins. The views are exceptional, with the Devils Courthouse visible to the south, the summit of Black Balsam Knob peeking out in the east, and the Middle Prong Wilderness and Shining Rock Wilderness all around.

Just 25 miles from downtown Asheville, the Catawba Falls Trail is one of the most popular waterfall hikes near Asheville, especially during the summer months. Named for the Catawba Indians and formed by the headwaters of the Catawba River, Catawba Falls features an impressive series of cascades plummeting over feet from two major drops. Along the trail, keep your eyes peeled for stone ruins from the early s, including the wall of an old dam. The peaceful gurgling of small streams and cascades provides a soothing soundtrack as you hike the 3-mile round-trip trail.

One of the most iconic and tallest North Carolina mountains , Mount Pisgah towers at 5, feet, allowing it to be seen all the way from downtown Asheville. The first half-mile of the hike will seem easy, with very little elevation gain. Soon thereafter, your efforts will be rewarded as you reach a wooden observation deck where you can admire the long-ranging summit views. The name Graveyard Fields may evoke images of a dark and eerie stretch of wilderness. But this is actually a beautiful trail, with sparkling waterfalls and fields of wildflowers along the route.

The trail gets its odd name from stumps that were said to resemble tombstones, which were once dispersed across the area after a terrible wildfire. Those haunting remnants are long gone, and the area is now one of the most popular day trips from Asheville. Along with the high-elevation meadows and wildflowers, blueberry bushes can be seen all over the area. Around August, lots of people come here to pick their own berries , with National Park Service rules allowing visitors to pick up to 1 gallon of blueberries per day!

There are many trails that can take you to the falls, but the most popular is the 4. The trail will lead you through a gorgeous stretch of DuPont Forest. At around 2. Here you can admire the cascading water up close as it rushes down the granite rock face before collecting in a series of pools and settling in the area below.

While it may not have the jaw-dropping summit views that some of the other Asheville hiking trails on this list offer, the Rattlesnake Lodge Trail makes up for it with its understated beauty and rich history. A popular hike among locals, this trek follows the Mountains to Sea Trail eastbound.

It allows hikers to explore the ruins of Rattlesnake Lodge, which was built by physician-turned-conservationist Dr. Chase Ambler. Named for its living room ceiling, which was covered in rattlesnake skins, the lodge was originally built in the early s as a summer home for the Ambler family. But it was later sold, and ultimately destroyed in a fire in the s. The hike to the summit is relatively short, but we rate this trail as moderate for its fairly intense elevation gain.

Departing from a trailhead off of NC Forest Service , the trail delves into a hardwood and pine forest. Along with featuring beautiful Crabtree Falls in the middle of the hike, this trail is also unique because it passes an amphitheater that hosts ranger talks and demonstrations. The sound of rushing water will fill your ears as the trail crosses a wooden bridge over the base of the falls.

This is a picturesque spot for photos and admiring the sparkling water as it cascades down a massive rock face. You can simply retrace your steps back to the trailhead from here or continue on for a more scenic route that passes a shallow cave and another smaller waterfall. The trail follows Davidson River upstream, passing by several smaller cascades along the way.

There are also some roots and larger rocks you have to make your way around, so be sure to watch your step! Once you reach the falls and spend some time admiring the scenery, you can continue along the loop trail to complete the hike at four miles.

The hike to this scenic area starts off with a few steep switchbacks. Tumbling nearly feet down a cliff into a boulder-strewn pool, Rainbow Falls is a beautiful sight to behold. And when the sun hits it just right, this waterfall creates a brilliant rainbow in the mist. If you want to see this stunning sight, the hike departs from the Grassy Ridge Trailhead in Gorges State Park, one of the newer state parks in North Carolina.

The trail passes through dense thickets of mountain laurel and a creek valley before leaving the state park and entering the Nantahala National Forest.

Following the Horsepasture River, the trail crosses a small stream before beginning an uphill climb. The sound of the waterfalls will become increasingly loud before the spectacular cascades come into view.

After admiring the waterfall, retrace your steps back to the trailhead to end the adventure at just under four miles. The payoff here is incredible, with seemingly endless views spanning across a magnificent spruce-fir forest. But it comes at the cost of an intense elevation gain of nearly 3, feet. The trail is an out-and-back route that can be done in a day, but there are also hike-in campsites along the way! One of the longer, more strenuous hikes near Asheville, the Art Loeb Trail is a great option for trekkers looking for a long distance, multi-day backpacking adventure.

The trail makes its way across myriad peaks and ridges, which provides hikers with astounding views across the Pisgah National Forest and allows you to see most of the surrounding mountains.