Best Hikes Near Asheville NC

Asheville NC is a unique and artsy city, that is within a short distance of some of the most beautiful and scenic places in Western NC.    In fact, the famous Blue Ridge Parkway itself travels through Asheville!  

Asheville NC make for a great home base, as it provides modern city dining and accommodations, yet venturing outdoors to do some hiking, driving a nearby scenic drive, or to exploring nearby waterfalls are only minutes away.

In this guide, we're going to share with you the Best Hikes Near Asheville NC to visit near Asheville NC:


Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Craggy Pinnacle Trail is located just outside of Asheville NC and right on the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP364.4.  Craggy Gardens is a popular area for visitors and those traveling the Parkway, due to the gift shop, picnic area, and views.  You'll want to drive past the visitor enter for the Pinnacle trail.

The pinnacle trail is moderate due to the climb up, but only 1.4 miles roundtrip.   The hike begins in the parking area, and takes you up to the observation deck at the top, for incredible 360 degree views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.  

The view during all season are incredible, but they are exception in the summer when the Rhododendron are blooming, and during the Fall with peak colors.   Even better?  The observation area at the top provides both incredible sunrise and sunset views.


Devil's Courthouse

Devil's Courthouse

Located outside of Asheville NC, at MP422.4, it's difficult to miss, as you can see in the photo above.  Devil's Courthouse is a popular stopping point on the Parkway, but most visitors enjoy the views from the parking area.   You can hike to the top.

The trail up is only 1/2 mile up (1 mile roundtrip), but it's one of the steepest 1/2 miles you'll climb.  As as a result we give this trail a strenuous rating, but the views from the top are well worth it.  The trail is paved about half way, then turns to gravel as you approach the top.

The location and trail, gets it's name from Cherokee legend, which says the Devil holds court in the caves below the rocky faced mountain.


Cat Gap Loop Trail

Unamed Falls at Cat Gap Trail

The trailhead for Cat Gap Trail, is located near Looking Glass Falls, at the old Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, off Service Road 475 (Fish Hatchery Road).  Hiking along this loop, with short excursion will take you to three really nice waterfalls, and along a really nice creekside hike through beautiful Pisgah National Forest.

The hike is easy to moderate, and is 1.8 miles roundtrip to the first waterfall , about 2 miles roundtrip if you visit the first and second waterfalls, and 5.5 miles roundtrip to the 3rd.


Black Balsam Knob

Black Balsam Bald

Black Balsam Knob is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP420 on Black Balsam Rd.    The hike is moderate, and given it's out and back, can be adjusted in length to your needs.  The trail is along the famous Art Loeb Trail, which goes through the area.

The hike starts off in a beautiful forest area, and climbs upwards to the bald ridge line to Black Balsam.  The views once you break the tree-line are incredible.  Along the way you'll walk along grassy trails, and climb rocks as you make your way up to the knob. 

At the top, you'll be treated with incredible 360 degree, and long distance views, and a plaque of remembrance for Art Loeb.


Sam's Knob Trail

Sam's Knob and Flat Laurel Creek Trail

One of our favorite hikes, Sam's Knob Trail is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, on Black Balsam Rd at MP420.  You'll drive all the way to end and park for the trailhead.   The trail is moderate, due to the incline up to Sam's knob.  If you do the full loop, it's 3.5 miles roundtrip.

Your hike begins next to the restrooms, and starts on a forested ridge-line, then down a long flight of wooden stairs into a beautiful meadow full of flowers, and surrounded by mountains.  The meadow is stunning.  After the meadow, you'll turn right to begin your accent up to the top of Sam's Knob for incredible 360 degree views.  On a clear day, you can see the Great Smoky Mountains.


Graveyard Fields

Also on the Blue Ridge Parkway, at MP418.5 is Graveyard Fields, named for the fallen trees from a storm and fire that were covered in moss, and resembled grave stones many years ago.    Graveyard Fields has 2 primary waterfalls, and offers a number of hiking trails.  The most popular being Upper and Lower Falls.   Lower Falls is the shorter of the two moderate hikes.

Graveyard Fields provides for a beautiful hike due to the unique vegetation that grows here, including blueberries.  Lower Falls is absolutely stunning and very photogenic.  This area makes for a great family hike due to the distance and easy access to water, waterfalls and swimming.


Mount Pisgah Trail

Mount Pisgah Trail

Photo by: The Wandering Viewfinder Photography

One of the most prominent and visible mountains from Asheville NC is Mount Pisgah.  In fact, many of the windows from Biltmore house provide direct views of the 5,721 foot tall Mount Pisgah.

The trailhead to the summit is located at MP407.6, off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The trail is moderate in difficulty, and 2.6 miles roundtrip.   On the way to the top, you'll see incredible views, including Frying Pan Mountain and fire tower.  You'll reach the observation platform a the top, for beautiful long distance views on a clear day.


Moore Cove Trail and Falls

Moore Cove Falls

Located not far from  Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock, and south of Asheville is the trailhead and waterfall, Moore Cove Falls.   The trailhead begins from a small parking area right off Highway 276.  The trail is moderate, and 1.4 miles roundtrip.  The hike out to the falls is very nice, and Moore Cove Falls itself is definitely worth the hike and visit.

Even though Moore Cove Falls isn't a strong flowing waterfall, it is very pretty, and has the unique feature of allowing visitors to stand under it.   Moore Cove Falls is a very popular hike year-round, so expect lots of people.   We recommend visiting early.


Max Patch

Max Patch North Carolina

Located about an hour from Asheville, in Pisgah National Forest, is Max Patch.  Max Patch provides hiking trails, incredible 360 degree views from the top, and access to the Appalachian Trail.

Max Patch mountain was once a pasture for cows, and is clear of trees and provides incredible 360 views at 4,600 feet in elevation.  The trail up is moderate, and about 1.5 miles roundtrip.  The bald at the top makes for a great picnic location, and place for the kids to run and play.

The sunsets and sunrises at Max Patch are exceptional.


Dupont Waterfalls Trail

Fall at Triple Falls, Dupont State Park

Dupont State Forest is located south of Asheville NC, near Brevard NC and is the home to a number of hiking trails and waterfalls.  The Dupont State Forest Waterfalls trail, will take you to three very beautiful waterfalls AND the filming locations for The Hunger Games.

The trail begins at the Hooker Falls parking area, where you can hike down to Hooker Falls, a beautiful waterfall, and also a filming scene for the Last of the Mohicans.  From there, you can hike up to Triple Falls, famous as the film location for The Hunger Games, and then onto High Falls, which has a beautiful covered bridge across the top.

The trail is just a few miles roundtrip, and moderate.   


Crabtree Falls Trail

Crabtree Falls Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the most popular hikes and waterfalls, Crabtree Falls is a fantastic hike to an absolutely stunning waterfall.  The trailhead and parking area is located north of Asheville NC on the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP339.5.  

The roundtrip distance is around 2.5 miles, but varies depending on if you out and back, or take the longer loop.   The difficulty is moderate.   The hike itself is really nice, and well maintained, and well, the waterfall itself is simple stunning.


Rainbow Falls Trail

Rainbow Falls is located near Highlands NC, south of Asheville NC in Gorges State Park.  The 150 foot waterfall is huge, and gets it's name from the rainbow that can often be seen as you approach it along the trail.

The trail is 3.0 miles out and back, but you can hike a little further and visit Turtleback Falls as well, a popular swimming hole.  


Looking Glass Rock Trail

Looking Glass Rock

One of the most iconic scenes on the Blue Ridge Parkway, south of Asheville NC is the view of Looking Glass Rock from Looking Glass Rock Overview at MP417.  Many don't realize that you can hike to both the bottom of the rock, and to the top as well.  To hike to the top, you can hike up Looking Glass Rock Trail.

The trail is 6.2 miles roundtrip, and strenuous.  The hike will take you to the top of this famous bald faced mountain, for incredible views of Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Hiking Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Looking for more great hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains??  There are plenty of them!   

See our Hiking Trails Guides full of great options, guides, photos, and video.

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.


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