Are you looking to spend a leisurely day exploring the natural landscapes across Asheville? If so, you’re in luck. There are many easy trails to follow through the forests, alongside rivers, and even up the mountain hillsides. You just have to know where to find them. Want the inside scoop? Here’s a look at the top six super easy hikes to trek through this charming corner of North Carolina.
The Catawba Falls trail takes you on a chill four-mile walk along the riverside to a spectacularly beautiful 100-foot waterfall. All along the way, you get to see the historic buildings scattered about, giving you a glimpse into the history of the region. Although now defunct, the buildings once served as an important part of the hydropower dam for Old Fort in the early 1900s.
You’ll cross many streams, too, giving you a chance to look at the aquatic plants and potentially spot wildlife along the banks. The stream crossings can prove rather slippery, especially after periods of heavy rainfall. But you just need to watch your footing and consider using hiking poles for even more support to make it to the other side without incident.
If you want to gaze in awe at all the peaks and valleys across Asheville, you just have to hit the Waterrock Knob trail. At only 1.2 miles round-trip, the trail is a quick walk, although it gets rather steep at times. By the time you reach the top, you’ll be at 6,273 feet in elevation, giving you a bird’s eye view of the sheer beauty of the Appalachians.
For the ultimate experience, time your trip so you’ll reach the end of the trail just before sunrise or sunset. Then, set up your chairs and enjoy the view as the sky lights up in vivid purple, red, pink, and orange hues.
For an overhead view of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, take a trip up the Craggy Pinnacle trail. On this 1.4-mile round trip hike, you’ll get to go through rhododendron tunnels surrounded by wildflowers. Plus, you’ll encounter many twisted birch trees, each with their own story to tell, giving you photo opportunities galore.
As you near the top of the trail, you can either continue up to the summit or go down to the lower overlook. At the summit, you have several rock walls to rest on as you enjoy the breathtaking views from 5,892 feet. Although the lower overlooks don’t take you quite as high up, their unique vantage points are well worth enjoying as well.
If you’ve always wanted to see a triple-tiered waterfall flow into the gorge below, a trip to the Linville Falls trail is in order. An easy 1.6 miles round-trip, this trail will take you up to a clear vantage point above the Linville Gorge. From there, you can see the waterfall plunging down the rocks, creating three distinct streams to admire.
Even before you spot the waterfall, you’ll hear it in the distance. The sound of rushing water grows ever more distinct with every step you take, creating a serene atmosphere all along the trail. During the travel season, the trail can get packed with tourists, however, so plan your trip early in the day to avoid the crowds.
Even more stellar summit views await at the end of the Fryingpan Mountain lookout tower trail. The trail goes on for 1.5 miles round-trip, ending at the bottom steps of the lookout tower. Upon climbing the tower steps, you get to enjoy the 360-degree views of the Pisgah National Forest from 70 feet above the summit.
The ambiance of the trail is just as heavenly, too, with its scent of wildflowers coming from every direction. Wild blueberries grow along the trail as well, which work with the wildflowers to fill the air with the buzz of honeybees. Although tourists often travel this trail for a chance to soak in picturesque views, there’s plenty of room for all on the wide gravel pathways.
For an ultra-short hike with big rewards at the end, set your sights on the Dry Falls trail. On dry days, you’ll only need about 15 minutes to walk the trail as it’s just 0.4 miles round-trip. But when the rains come, give yourself extra time to ensure steady footing as you climb the oft-slippery stairs.
At the end of the trail, you’ll get to see the stunning 72-foot waterfall pouring into the pool below. The lush Nantahala National Forest vegetation perfectly frames the falls, too, adding even more interest to the scene before you. Since it’s such a short walk with a big payoff, expect to see lots of visitors in your midst. But it’s well worth walking through the crowds to get a glimpse of this popular waterfall.
Time to Get Ready for Asheville Hiking Adventures
Now that you know where to hike with ease, it’s time to get ready to hit the trails in Asheville. For starters, remember to wear lots of moisture-wicking layers, plus a good pair of hiking shoes and thick socks. Bring a poncho as well just in case it starts to rain along with hiking poles for extra support on slippery trails.
On top of that, you should bring:
- At least one gallon of water per person and pet
- Protein-rich, calorie-dense snacks for all
- Map, compass, and handheld GPS locator
- Fully stocked first aid kit
- Sunblock, sunglasses, and sunhat
- Locally sourced bug spray
- Multitool with a knife
Don’t forget a camera in a waterproof case, so you can take fun photos as you travel down the trails.
Once you have everything gathered up, put all your items in a sturdy hiking backpack. Then, make sure it’s light enough to carry a long distance. After that, you’re ready to hit the road and enjoy your hiking adventures in Asheville.