A trip to Asheville offers much to enjoy–from delicious food and craft beers to funky art and cool nightlife, there’s plenty of culture and community to take in! But a visit wouldn’t be complete without an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors! Situated on a plateau in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, NC is an excellent springboard to hikes and other outings, and the mild climate makes adventuring accessible all year long. Read on for a dozen ideas to get started, then get outside!
1. DuPont State Forest
There’s really something for everyone at this magical, 10,000-acre site, located just an hour south of Asheville. With over 80 miles of easy, even trails, DuPont State Forest welcomes walkers and hikers of all ability levels, as well as mountain bikers and even horseback riders. And, if you’re more of a movie buff than a nature explorer, DuPont is still worth a visit, since several key scenes of “The Hunger Games” movies were shot here on site!
2. Land of Oz
While this family-friendly attraction is only open a few times a year during the fall, it’s worth planning a visit around, especially for fans of the classic film. Wander the famous Yellow Brick Road beneath a crisp autumn sky, and visit a small petting zoo and other family-friendly attractions and amenities. The park, which is situated in the forest atop Beech Mountain, is a great option for those who want to be educated and entertained, all while getting in some great views of NC’s natural sights.
3. Crabtree Falls Trail
A relatively easy hike of just 3 miles round trip, Crabtree Falls culminates in a gorgeous 70-foot waterfall that’s great for recharging the senses, and taking some great photos to preserve the memory! Accessible from the Crabtree Meadows Campground, this hike offers moderate elevation of under 500 feet, so it’s a great option for kids, as well as four-legged friends, who are welcome on this trail.
4. North Carolina Arboretum
A gorgeous park featuring 65 acres of cultivated gardens, the Arboretum is a memorable place to stroll outside and learn about the incredible plants that make their home in NC. Locals enjoy classes and other events throughout the year, so be sure to check the website or call ahead to take advantage of any educational programming options in addition to the beautiful sights, sounds, and smells of this floral wonderland.
5. Asheville Urban Trail
Want to keep your outdoor excursion super local? Check out the self-guided Asheville Urban Trail, which covers 30 interesting spots in just under 2 miles across downtown Asheville. Learn a little history, while scoping out cool urban sculptures and other architectural and cultural landmarks.
6. Sunrise Craggy Pinnacle Hike at Craggy Gardens
Just 24 miles outside of Asheville, Craggy Gardens offers a 1.5-mile round trip hike with stunning, 360-degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A great adventure at any time of time, it’s particularly cool to take an early morning sunrise hike to enjoy the first rays of the day from this accessible, high elevation spot.
7. No Taste Like Home Foraging Tour
If you’re a foodie who likes to eat local, really local, then this tour is for you! Enjoy exploring the natural world with experienced guides to forage wild edibles grown in and around Asheville. The tour concludes with a sampling of appetizers from local chefs that use the foraged ingredients in a unique dish that brings the great outdoors to your very own plate.
8. Grandfather Mountain
This breathtaking area includes a 6,000+ mountain, plenty of hiking trails, plus a thrilling 200-foot suspension bridge that’s the highest in the entire country. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of beautiful terrains to explore, and the more indoor inclined can check out the collection in the on-site Nature Museum, including carefully sculpted wax botanicals.
9. Asheville Treetops Adventure Center
Just minutes from downtown Asheville, but light-years away from your typical tourist experience, this outdoor adventure park is the perfect destination for thrill-seekers who want a sun-kissed adrenaline rush. With plenty of activities to choose from, from climbing walls to zip lines, this grown up’s jungle gym is a great way to do something different while getting outside!
10. Namaste in Nature
Want to hit up a local Asheville yoga class, but want to spend your day outdoors? Namaste in Nature’s half and full-day yoga hikes allow you to do both! Perfect for small groups, this is an awesome option for enjoying a short guided hike along with a professional yoga class in a unique, beautiful setting. Choose which location works best for your group, and enjoy either mountain or waterfall views while you stretch and soothe your body and soul.
11. Asheville Outdoor Center
If you’re looking to satisfy the needs of a diverse group of friends or family of all ages, this might be the place for you. With a range of amenities, from on-site gas grills to corn hole, the two main attractions here are river floating and gem mining. Kill a leisurely few hours on the French Broad River, either floating on a raft or in a canoe or kayak or using the working waterwheel to mine for gems in the silty water.
12. Hunter Banks Fly Fishing
Want to live out your dream of peacefully fly fishing beside the Blue Ridge Mountains? This established fly fishing outfit makes it easy! With options for floating or wading trips, and either half-day or full-day guided fishing expeditions, this is a great way to get outdoors and learn or practice a practical and meditative outdoor skill.
Ready to get outside? Be sure to bring sunscreen, bug repellant, and clothing layers to enjoy the best outdoors activities Asheville has to offer, while still staying warm and safe. Enjoy the adventure!