Western North Carolina is renowned for world-class hikes to suit all tastes and experience levels. Living in Asheville affords easy day trips to every manner of mountain trail. But what if you just want a quick lunchtime loop or an easy afternoon jaunt without going far? Asheville and the immediate area around it are replete with spontaneous options sure to stimulate the senses and pump the blood. Below, a few favorites.
NC Arboretum Explorer Loop
For a nearby hike you can do in just a few hours, head to the North Carolina Arboretum in southwest Asheville, near the banks of the French Broad River. The 4.4-mile loop offers beautifully maintained and gently grade trails that are perfect for young hikers and those looking for a less arduous route. The trail traces the perimeter of the Arboretum, beginning at Hardtimes Road and culminating at the beautiful gardens and sculptures surrounding the Visitor Education Center.
Destination Center Track Trail
The Blue Ridge Parkway visitor center at milepost 384 near Asheville offers an easy, 1.4-mile loop trail that starts at the far end of the visitor center parking lot. The trail allows visitors to enjoy the Parkway’s nature without venturing too far from the road, and also connects to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Stop into the center before the hike to get a map, talk to a ranger, pick up some merchandise, learn about other area offerings, watch the park film, and explore Parkway-themed exhibits.
Bent Creek North Loop
This southwest Asheville trail nestled in Bent Creek Experimental Forest offers views of Enka, Candler and Biltmore Lake along its 8-mile loop. The hike starts at Rice Pinnacle Trailhead and runs along Deer Lake Lodge Trail, up the slopes of Little Hickory Top. The payoff of the moderately difficult climb along the trail is reaching Ingles Field Gap and tracing Stradley Ridge to take in long-range views of west Asheville and Enka.
Haw Creek Valley Overlook
From the Folk Art Center just east of Asheville to the Haw Creek Overlook runs a 5-mile, out-and-back trail featuring a moderate course overflowing with wildflowers and wild mushrooms in season. The gradually uphill hike follows the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway north from the Folk Art Center at milepost 382 to the mountain just above Haw Creek Valley Overlook, which offers picturesque mountain and valley views. When you’re done hiking, you can stop into the center to view a variety of Appalachian arts and crafts and, in season, enjoy daily craft demonstrations and talk to the craftspeople as they work.
For a personally guided tour of neighborhoods near local hiking trails, or for more information on real estate anywhere in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.