6 Can’t-Miss Hikes in Asheville, North Carolina

North Carolina, United States

Merritt McKinney

Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway offer some of the best hikes and views on the East Coast. Make the most of your trip and visit the best in the area all in one day!


If you’ve ever wanted to explore the Appalachian Mountains, chances are you’ve heard of Asheville. Asheville is a large city in North Carolina that supports an active outdoor community with its easy mountain access and massive number of hikes, rivers, and mountain biking trails. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the best guide for helping you discover all the breathtaking views Asheville offers. Here are my 6 can’t-miss hikes in Asheville via the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Where to start

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile piece of road that runs through the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. However, we’ll only be talking about miles 300-410 near Asheville. The route may be travelled forwards or backwards, but we began at milepost 300 (near Boone, N.C.) and headed south through Asheville. We set off at 9 AM sharp and finished at sunset while still having ample time to stop at numerous overlooks like the Linn Cove Viaduct.

1. Rough Ridge || Milepost 302

Rough Ridge is one of the highest points along the Parkway. The trailhead and path are clearly marked and parking is designated off the main road. The brisk hike to the top climbs 500 vertical feet and is less than a mile one-way. The trail passes several large rock formations and wooden bridges. A panoramic view of the mountains and the Linn Cove Viaduct awaits at the top.

2. Flat Rock Trail || Milepost 308

The ¼ mile walk up to Flat Rock is a simple hike with a wide view. The incline is not steep and the flat rocks at the top (as the name implies) make it the perfect place to carry a picnic lunch. The top yields a slowly sloping view of the trees and fields in between the mountain range.

3. Linville Falls || Milepost 316

Linville Falls is an extremely popular venue featuring one of the area’s largest waterfalls. There are several well-marked trails that showcase different views of the falls. The visitor center provides trail maps for all the different routes, but I would recommend the ¾ mile trek to Irwin View Overlook or scaling down to the base of the waterfall. You could easily spend an entire day exploring Linville Falls.

4. Chestoa Overlook || Milepost 320

A 3-minute walk from the parking area, Chestoa Overlook is more of a quick pull-off than a hike. Linville Gorge, Grandfather Mountain, and Table Rock are all visible from viewing platform.  

5. Crabtree Falls || Milepost 339

A more strenuous trek, Crabtree Falls is one of the most unique waterfalls I’ve visited. The trail is 2 miles out and back and is deceptively arduous on the uphill hike back from the waterfall. The wide cascade is approximately 70 feet tall and allows you to walk as close to the falls as you would like without danger. The waterfall feeds into a wide creek interrupted by boulders and is surrounded by lush green trees. A bridge traversing the creek features benches and the best view of Crabtree Falls.


6. Fryingpan Mountain Fire Tower || Milepost 409

The fire tower at Fryingpan Mountain offers a complete 360-degree view of Asheville, Pisgah National Forest, and is the ideal place to watch the sunset. Park your car on the side of the Parkway beside the gate (do not block the gate). The hike is an easy 1.5-mile roundtrip up a gravel service road. The fire tower is well-constructed and sturdy; however, the top of the tower is locked. The unbelievable view from the final stairs before the top still makes the trip well worth it.


Final Thoughts

These hikes are a terrific place to begin your outdoor adventures in the Asheville area as well as one of the best day-trips you will ever take. Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway offer some of the best hikes and views on the East Coast. After completing this list, I’d highly recommend seeking out more of the hundreds of adventures in this area. If you have more than 1 day, take your time! I’ve lived in the area my entire life and still discover new, beautiful places to hike all the time!

If you would like to learn more or see more photos from the area, follow me on Instagram!

Published: May 10, 2017

Merritt McKinney

Just another snowboarder who fell in love with the outdoors. I hike, climb, fly drones, take pictures and make videos. Currently studying computer things at the University of Alabama while exploring Chattanooga, Johns...

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