Best Asheville Hiking Trails For Your Trip To The Smoky Mountains

April 20, 2021

Asheville hiking trails are among the many reasons to vacation in western North Carolina. Invigorating trails traverse soothing forests, open meadows and daunting outcroppings. Myriad pathways deliver the intrepid adventurer to vistas not soon forgotten.

The 2200-mile Appalachian Trail passes right through the Asheville area. You’ll find two sub-ranges of the Appalachians in the Asheville area. The Blue Ridge Mountains stretch more than 600 miles from Pennsylvania to Georgia. The Great Smoky Mountains extend from Knoxville, TN, to Asheville.

Best Asheville Hiking Trails

7 Top Hiking Trails In and Around Asheville

A mountain hike in the Asheville area is as natural as breathing itself. There are dozens of Blue Ridge Mountain hikes and Smoky Mountain hikes from which to choose. Hiking in Asheville NC can be as carefree or strenuous as you like. Take a short half-mile jaunt in town. Or, set out on a multi-day backpacking adventure exploring the Appalachian Trail.

For Asheville hiking enthusiasts, the Blue Ridge Parkway serves as a continuous trail head. Many popular trails are only minutes from Asheville. Others are a modest 20 to 35-mile drive away. The milepost designations that follow refer to locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Mount Pisgah

Milepost 407.6. Moderate-to-strenuous. 2.6 miles.

When you tell hiking enthusiasts back home that you visited Asheville, they may ask whether you took on Mount Pisgah. Early in your trek you may encounter rhododendron, mountain laurel and other wildflowers. As you approach the 5,721-ft summit, you’ll navigate switchbacks up rock steps. On a clear day you’ll see Asheville from the observation deck.

Frying Pan Tower

Milepost 409.6. Moderate-to-strenuous. 1.5 miles.

Frying Pan Tower is not far the Blue Ridge Parkway, 22 miles south of Asheville. Afraid of heights? Um, you might pass on this one. If you’re game, scaling the 70-ft, 80-year-old lookout tower will reward you with views of both Mt. Pisgah and Cold Mountain. Although dogs are welcome, some balk at the climb.

Graveyard Fields

Milepost 418.8. Easy-to-moderate. 3.2 miles.

The Graveyard Fields parking lot is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The name may not be the most poetic, but the views will certainly inspire. It is an easy enough trail for families to take on. The popular loop trail takes you to not one, but two waterfalls. In August, blueberry picking is a favorite pastime. You’re allowed to pick up to a gallon per day! This is also one of the Asheville hiking trails known for its early fall color.

Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls Trails

Little River, NC, Easy-to-moderate. 2.2 miles total

Take a 50-minute drive to the trail head in Transylvania County, “Land of the Waterfalls.” The scenery here is so dazzling that it appears in memorable films like Last of the Mohicans and Hunger Games. The three falls make this one of the best hikes in the Asheville area. If you’re short on time, consider a quick half-mile walk to a single waterfall.

Lovers Leap Loop Trail

Hot Springs, NC. Moderate-to-strenuous. 1.6 miles.

Hot Springs is a 45-minute drive from Asheville. Here, the Appalachian Trail and main street are one and the same. The Lovers Leap Loop Trail includes some steep switchbacks.

Max Patch

Madison County, NC. Easy-to-moderate. Short loop: 1.4 miles. Long loop: 2.4 miles.

Max Patch is a grassy “bald” mountain offering 360-degree panoramic views. No, it’s not the Alps, but you still might imagine Julie Andrews singing “The hills are alive” here. Indeed they are, with wildflowers, blueberries and blackberries in-season.

Outcroppings Trail

Chimney Rock, NC. Moderate-to-strenuous. 0.5 mile.

Chimney Rock State Park is about 25 miles southeast of Asheville. Chimney Rock itself is a 315-ft monolith that’s more than half-a-billion years old. Scale the iconic attraction via Outcroppings Trail. Or, take the elevator to within 44 steps of the top of the massive rock. On a clear day, enjoy 75-mile panoramic views. The park offers other options like 2.2-mile Skyline Trail. It takes you to the park’s highest lookout.

Important tip: don’t judge hiking near Asheville by the length of trails alone. A short hike with modest elevation changes is very different from one with frequent switchbacks and taxing inclines.

Still undecided about where to hike? Check out the Asheville Hiking Trail Finder. Filter your preferences by length, difficulty, type and features.

Where to Stay in Asheville NC

Wondering where to stay in Asheville NC? Vacationers choose from a terrific selection of Asheville NC hotels. Here are some recommended options.

Omni Grove Park Inn

290 Macon Avenue

Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn is a four-star resort minutes away from many attractions. Behind the distinctive stone edifice, elegance and southern charm await. Follow in the footsteps of the 10 U.S. Presidents that have stayed here.

Foundry Hotel

51 South Market Street

The Foundry Hotel is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection. The hotel is a renovation of the foundry where workers forged the steel for the Biltmore Estate. The courtyard offers a peaceful respite from the pulsing beat of Asheville’s vibrant downtown.

Hotel Indigo

151 Haywood Street

Rooms at the Hotel Indigo Asheville feature distinctive hardwood floors. In the public areas, colorful artwork depicts local mountain scenes. Enjoy farmto-table entrees in the restaurant.

Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park

43 Town Square Boulevard

The Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park is minutes from Biltmore Park Town Square. It is one of Asheville’s newest shopping, dining and entertainment districts. Select rooms offer views of the mountains and the French Broad River.

Hampton Inn & Suites

835 Brevard Road

The Hampton Inn & Suites Asheville is near Biltmore Village. It is also close to other attractions like Asheville’s Fun Depot.

Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville

1 Resort Drive

The Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville is on 125 acres adjacent to Asheville. It’s near Treetops Adventure Park and U.S. Cellular Center.

Hilton Garden Inn Downtown

309 College Street

The Hilton Garden Inn Asheville Downtown is near Pack Square and Diana Wortham Theatre. Enjoy refreshments at the Pillar Rooftop Bar.

Ashville is one of the most beautiful places to explore in the United States and is home to some of the most breathtaking hiking trails. Whether it is hiking in the mountains or checking out city sites, Guest ReservationsTM has you covered with over 100,000 lodging options worldwide. Check out our hotel options in Asheville and the surrounding area to help you find the perfect fit for your next vacation.

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