A Guide to Hiking in Asheville

Between lush arboretums, vast overlooks, and rugged mountain trails, Asheville is a limitless playground for experienced hikers.
Written by Max Werner
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Jun 02, 2022
From scenic strolls along the Blue Ridge Parkway to rugged paths overlooking Lake Powhatan, the best hikes in Asheville are closer than you might think.
North Carolina
may be known as a playful, urban mountain town, but its natural beauty is often overlooked. Between its looming peaks, lush gardens, and vast forests, Asheville is a near-limitless playground for both novice and experienced hikers.
Ready to find your next go-to trail?
, the certified
super app
car insurance
expert, has created a comprehensive list of the best hikes in Asheville. 
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever

The best hikes in Asheville

Asheville is an artsytown, but everyone needs to get out once in a while. This sparkling city is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the highest mountains in the Eastern U.S. It’s also close to
Great Smokey Mountain National Park
Nantahala National Park
, and
Pisgah National Forest
. That is to say that there are miles of beautiful hikes all around the city.

Best for views: Blue Ridge Parkway

Distance: 469 miles of total land
Difficulty: Beginner-Expert
Trail type: Varied 
Elevation gain: N/A
Parking: Yes
Dogs: Yes 
Starting point: 3884 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Asheville, NC 28803
Looking for a classic mountain getaway? The
Blue Ridge Parkway
should top your list—it surely tops ours. Technically, the blue ridge parkway is a winding mountain road spanning Waynesboro,
, to Cherokee,
North Carolina
, but its best views are in Asheville.
To start your trip, we recommend heading to one of the Parkway Ranger Hikes. From here, you’ll have your choice between multiple trails—from the jaw-dropping 70-foot waterfall of Crabtree Falls to the 360-degree mountain views of Craggy Pinnacle.
Most Ranger hikes clock between 1-3 miles. However, if you’re up for a challenge, consider the Flat Rock Trail. Flat Rock is a simple, 6-10 mile loop sprinkled with vast lookouts and fabulous picnic spots—weaved baskets and pattern napkins not included.
Pro Tip Hiking trails by the Blue Ridge Parkway vary significantly in size and difficulty. New to hiking? Pay close attention to signage and guidelines. Gear up accordingly if you decide to set out on a more strenuous trek!

Best for Instagram: Bass Pond Lookout

Distance: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Trail type: Loop
Elevation gain: 62 feet
Parking: Yes
Dogs: Yes
Starting point: Biltmore Estate Dr, Asheville, NC 28805
Many who visit Asheville’s
Biltmore Estate
can hardly contain their excitement in exploring the centuries-old home. We can’t blame them! The Biltmore is a fabulous spot for wine tastings, garden trips, and photo ops. However, the nearby Bass Pond Lookout isn’t to be missed.
This tucked-away oasis is the perfect place for a photo op or just taking in the sights. The Bass Pond Lookout contains the same unmatched greenery featured across the Biltmore estate and a stone bridge—the perfect place to stop and reflect on the journey it took to reach it.
Pro Tip Bass Pond is a beautiful sight, but it can be challenging to find! To reach the pond, proceed through the Shrub Garden (after the Italian Garden), and go down the stairs to the Walled Garden. Head through the Walled Garden to the Observatory, then the nearby Azalea Garden. About a third of a mile through the Azalea Garden, you’ll find the pond.

Best for families: Craven Gap Trail

Distance: 4.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: Out and back
Elevation gain: 3182 feet
Parking: Street
Dogs: Yes
Starting point: Asheville, NC 28805
Craven Gap is a small mountain pass near Peach Knob and Rice Knob. It connects directly to the Blue Ridge Parkway, making it a great spot for day hiking. The Craven Gap trail is a smaller section of the Mountain-to-Sea Trail: A 1,200-mile pathway that spans from the Great Smoky Mountain to the Atlantic coastline.
The area is known for frequent bear sightings. If you happen to see a bear on your journey, look big, back away, and do not run. Craven Gap hikers recommend singing along the trail to let the bears know you are there.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever

Best for dogs: Haw Creek Valley Overlook 

Distance: 4.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Trail type: Out and back
Elevation gain: 813 feet
Parking: N/A
Dogs: yes
Starting point: 3800 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Asheville, NC 28805
Is your best friend also your best hiking companion? Haw Creek Valley Overlook is the perfect picturesque destination for you and your pup. This overlook is only a few miles outside Asheville, but the lack of tall vegetation makes it an ideal spot to take in the entire area.
Like the Graven gap trail, this spot also connects to the Mountain-to-Sea trail, so if you plan on stretching out your trip, plan (and pack) accordingly!

Best for dates: The North Carolina Arboretum  

Distance: N/A
Difficulty: Easy
Trail type: Loop
Elevation gain: ~0 feet
Parking: Yes
Dogs: N/A
Starting point: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806
North Carolina Arboretum
is lush with cultivated gardens, groomed trails, and acres of outdoor activities. By visiting this unique spot, you help support wildlife and nature conservation across the state. The Arboretum also offers several dining and photography venues, creating the supreme destination for you and your boo.
Pro Tip The North Carolina Arboretum offers a wide range of guided and unguided tours of its vast trails. It’s also a popular
biking destination
for nature-loving riders.

Best for exercise: Collier Cove Nature Preserve  

Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Moderate challenge
Trail type: Loops
Elevation gain: 374 feet
Parking: Yes
Dogs: Yes
Starting point: 175 Rhododendron Dr, Arden, NC 28704
Collier Cove Nature Preserve
is terrific for a picnic or for getting some exercise. Due to its sharp turns and steep inclines, this trail prohibits bikers and other vehicles. 
Collier Cove consists of 2 miles of well-worn trails and over 49 acres of hilly woodlands. Your reward for beating the mountain: Beautiful views of the Butler mountain range peppered across the trail. 

Tips for hiking in Asheville

Hiking in Asheville is the perfect way to see everything this mountain city has to offer—from gorgeous views to show-stopping hideaways. But you can’t start trekking without the right gear. Here are some tips for safe, respectful, and fun hikes in Asheville:
  • Load up on water. Hydration is a must when going on a long outdoor walk, especially for those not acclimated to the mountain air. Having more water and some snacks will let you stay out longer!
  • Bring the right gear. If you’re new to hiking, wear a comfortable backpack (without putting strain on your neck or shoulders). Some other items to consider are first aid kits, trash bags, bug spray, rain jackets, and a multi-purpose tool!
  • We all scream for sunscreen. This may seem basic, but sunscreen is one of the most overlooked hiking necessities. Protect yourself from UV rays (and exhaustive burns) with the correct SPF sun lotion.
  • Be considerate of nature and other hikers. The number one rule of hiking is to preserve the trail. This means bringing trash bags, picking up after yourself, and remaining aware of other hikers.
  • Start early if possible. Beat the crowds and ensure you have enough time to get back by starting early. An early start is most beneficial during the summer when trails are at their busiest and hottest.

How to save money on car insurance in Asheville

Hiking in Asheville is a great way to let off some steam. But if you’re looking to take mountain-sized chunks out of your
car insurance
, you needn’t look further than
As a licensed broker and the #1 rated insurance app, Jerry partners with over 50 of the top insurance providers to compare quotes for the coverage you need. In just 45 seconds, Jerry can find out whether you’re overpaying for car insurance. 
If you find a lower quote in the app, Jerry’s team of experts will help you switch in record time so you can start saving as soon as possible—with no unwanted phone calls or endless paperwork! On average, Jerry users save over $800 a year on car insurance. 
“Without a doubt, using
was a seamless process!  The staff were attentive to my every question. My new Nationwide policy premium saves me $200 a month. Let them save you money too!” —Kenny P. 
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings (100% Free)
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store


Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free