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75+ Great Hikes Near Asheville (Within a 2-Hour Drive)

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on June 24, 2024.

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If you’re ever searching for places to go hiking near Asheville, there are almost too many to name, especially those within a day trip away from Western North Carolina‘s biggest city.

Many are located in our public lands, including national parks sites, a handful of our amazing state parks, the famed DuPont State Forest, the vast Pisgah National Forest (and the Linville Gorge), Nantahala National Forest, and more!

We created this guide to feature our favorite hiking near Asheville, all within a two-hour drive. Many surrounding mountain towns feature prominently in this guide.

They include Cherokee and Bryson City to the west, Hendersonville and Brevard to the south, Boone and Blowing Rock to the north, and Morganton to the east.

Because there are so many hikes near Asheville to cover, we also created a map of all that we feature below. We’ve also organized this guide to spotlight each park, preserve, and protected land in the area.

Here’s what you’ll find while reading:

  • Organization and Hikes Count Notes
  • Leave No Trace Reminder
  • Henderson County Hikes near Asheville
  • Appalachian Trail Hikes near Asheville
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes near Asheville (Including Pisgah National Forest and State Parks)
  • DuPont State Recreational Forest Hikes near Asheville
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hikes near Asheville
  • Nantahala National Forest Hikes near Asheville
  • Pisgah National Forest Hikes near Asheville
  • State Parks Hikes near Asheville
  • More Hikes Near Asheville
  • More Things to Do in Asheville (and Nearby)

You can also scroll ahead to a specific section or keep reading about how we organized hikes in this guide.

Read More: 80+ Great Things to Do in Asheville (The Asheville Bucket List)

Map of Asheville NC Hikes

Asheville NC Map

You can find these hiking trails near Asheville NC in our North Carolina Travel Map and our Western North Carolina Map.

Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in the Asheville area and are wondering, “What are the best things to do near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!

Read More: Asheville NC Map of Attractions (+ 7 Surrounding Counties!)

Hiking near Asheville (Organization and Count Notes)

These hikes near Asheville are sorted by the time it takes to reach them (from quickest to longest) within each section. Any tiebreakers will be decided by distance from Asheville in miles (the closest wins), and rock, paper, scissors will follow.

Also, there will be some overlap. For example, some Appalachian Trail Hikes near Asheville run through Pisgah National Forest. When this happens, we will include the description of hikes in the first section and simply mention its name in the latter section.

Leave No Trace Reminder

Devils Courthouse NC Blue Ridge Parkway Rare Plants Peregrine Falcon Nesting Sign

While visiting these amazing hikes near Asheville, we ask you to PLEASE leave no trace. Pack in, pack out, and please do not ever litter in our beloved public spaces.

You can lend a helping hand by bringing a grocery bag of your own to pick up any trash that you see!

Henderson County Hikes near Asheville

Buncombe County borders 7 NC counties overall, but Henderson County to the south is one of the quickest to reach from Asheville. This area also has some of the best hikes near Asheville.

Read More: Hiking in Hendersonville and Henderson County

Bearwallow Mountain

Distance from Asheville: 33 minutes (19 miles)
Hike Distance: 2 miles round trip

Bearwallow hiking trail near Asheville

Bearwallow Mountain is reachable via a well-marked and maintained trail, thanks to Conserving Carolina. This beautiful grassy bald provides lovely views of Mt Mitchell and Mt Pisgah.

Instead of seeing bears as the name might suggest, you will most likely see a lot of cows up here! That’s because Bearwallow Mountain is actually a working farm at 4,232 feet.

Read More: 25 of the Most Amazing Winter Hikes in North Carolina

Glassy Mountain Trail at the Carl Sandburg Home

Distance from Asheville: 40 minutes (31 miles)
Hike Distance: 2.6 miles round trip

Starting behind the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, the hike to Big Glassy Mountain is a wooded trail that climbs to a beautiful granite slab. The 267-acre National Historic Site is free to visit.

We recommend taking your time on the property and stopping to say hello to the famous goats!

Read More: Wonderful Weekend Getaways in North Carolina

Jump Off Rock

46 minutes (29 miles)
Hike Distances: Various

Hikes near Asheville NC Jump Off Rock

Jump Off Rock is a great roadside overlook in Laurel Park. Three fairly short hiking trails start from its parking lot.

The Blue Trail (480 feet) is the easiest, followed by the Yellow (1,221 feet) and Red (1,239 feet) trails.

Read More: Great Hendersonville Restaurants (+ Where to Eat and Drink)

Appalachian Trail Hikes near Asheville (Landmarks)

Hikes near Asheville

This first section of hikes near Asheville is the best-known in America. Better known as simply the Appalachian Trail (AT), this famed hiking trail runs 95.7 miles through Western NC‘s mountains.

The NC portion is especially beautiful, and many of our best AT hikes are within a two-hour drive from Asheville.

They include:

The AT even runs through the iconic Fontana Dam like Bill Bryson (and Robert Redford) did in A Walk in the Woods.

Read More: Unique Things to Do in North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes near Asheville

These Blue Ridge Parkway hikes near Asheville helped land this area on our list of favorite spring break destinations in North Carolina. For each one, we’ll indicate the Milepost (MP) to help you better locate them.

Read More: Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

Craggy Gardens (MP 364 to MP 367)

Distance from Asheville: 40 minutes (20 miles)
Hike Distance: Various

Craggy Gardens Blue Ridge Parkway

The Craggy Gardens are about 3,500 feet higher in elevation than Asheville very popular, especially in June when the rhododendrons bloom. Panoramic views from Craggy Pinnacle are just one of the reasons we love this awesome set of hikes near Asheville.

There are a few trails here worth mentioning, and we’ll start with the moderate Craggy Pinnacle Trail (1.2 miles round trip) that leads to some pretty epic views.

There’s also the Craggy Gardens Trail (1.9 miles round trip), which runs through tree-covered, rhododendron-filled paths. It runs into the more strenuous Douglas Falls Trail (8 miles round trip) shortly after you start.

Follow that last one and you’ll eventually reach the 70-foot namesake waterfall.

Read more: The Best Breweries in Asheville

Mount Pisgah Trail (MP 407.6)

Distance from Asheville: 40 minutes (24 miles)
Hike Distance: 2.6 miles round trip

The 5,721-foot peak of Mount Pisgah is easily recognizable throughout much of Asheville. And if you flip the script and climb Mount Pisgah, you can peer down into downtown Asheville on a clear day.

This hike is just off the Blue Ridge Mountains Parkway at Milepost 407 and your elevation gain is about 750 feet.

Read More: The Asheville Art Museum (How to Visit + 7 Great Things to Do)

Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower (MP 409.6)

Distance from Asheville: 43 minutes (26 miles)
Hike Distance: 1.5 miles round trip

Frying pan tower Blue Ridge Parkway

The Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower was built in 1941 by the United States Forest Service and the hike to reach it is gravelly and a steady climb up.

From the tower, you’ll see Cold Mountain, Looking Glass Rock, and more via stunning panoramic views. While the actual top of the tower is locked and closed to visitors, you can climb the first five flights of stairs to get some epic looks at your surroundings.

Read More: 15 Things We Love About The Omni Grove Park Inn

Big Butt Trail (MP 358.9)

Distance from Asheville: 45 minutes (20 miles)
Hike Distance: 5.6 miles round trip

Starting at the Walker Knob Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 358), Big Butt Trail isn’t a remix of Sir Mix A-Lot’s greatest hit. Instead, the butts are large rock outcroppings that are abundant on this long and strenuous trail.

Stop at Misery Point (what a name!) and Little Butt before turning back around at Big Butt.

Read More: 20 Awesome Wineries near Charlotte (Vineyards Within 2 Hours)

Waterrock Knob (MP 451)

Distance from Asheville: 53 minutes (45 miles)
Hike Distance: 1.2 miles round trip

Waterrock Knob Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina

Waterrock Knob is the last major hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway near the southern end at MP 469. And it fits the “best for last” billing because this is one terrific spot for hiking.

And if you don’t feel the summit hike, the views from the parking area at 5,719 feet are worth the drive! Of course, venturing up to the top will get you even better views.

The hike is steep, gaining 480 feet in elevation over a half-mile. However, on a clear day, you can see even the highest mountains in the Smokies.

We think this one pairs well with nearby Soco Falls and even Mingo Falls, which we’ll also mention shortly.

Read More: 20+ Amazing Things to Do in Maggie Valley

Mount Mitchell State Park (MP 355)

Distance from Asheville: 54 minutes (35 miles)

Hikes near Asheville NC Mt Mitchell

Mount Mitchell State Park is home to the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi and the highest in our Black Mountains. Inside Mount Mitchell State Park, you’ll find a range of difficult and easy hikes near Asheville.

For starters, you can enjoy the observation deck’s panoramic views after a few hundred-yard stroll on the Summit Trail (0.3 miles round trip).

There’s more challenging Balsam Nature Trail (0.75-mile loop), and then you get into the tougher stuff. The strenuous Old Mitchell Trail (4.4 miles round trip) takes you from the park office and the restaurant to the top and the Deep Gap Trail (8.6 miles round trip) hikes both peaks of Mount Mitchell and Mount Craig.

The Mount Mitchell Trail (12 miles round trip) begins at the Black Mountain Campground where you start for Setrock Creek Falls and ends at the summit.

Read More: Things to Do in Burnsville

Crabtree Falls (MP 339)

Distance from Asheville: 59 minutes (49 miles)
Hike Distance: 2.5 miles round trip

Crabtree Falls Blue Ridge Parkway NC Hikes near Asheville

The trail that runs through Crabtree Falls is one of our absolute favorite hikes. Of course, the 70-foot waterfall is the highlight, and we highly suggest you arrive early.

That’s because this one is on many people’s bucket lists, not just ours! The hike is a moderate 2.5-mile loop, though you can take the shorter, rockier way back.

However, the loop is much more scenic on the return, and easier in my personal experience.

Read More: 13 Amazing Restaurants in Burnsville (Best of the Best!)

Black Balsam Knob (MP 420)

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour (38 miles)
Hike Distance: 1.4 miles round trip

Black Balsam Knob

The mountain balds in Asheville are some of the most incredible in the Appalachians, and Black Balsam Knob is one you should check out.

Starting on the Art Loeb Trail, you’ll encounter your first bald after half a mile. Continue another half-mile to reach the top of Black Balsam Knob.

There is an option to continue on the aforementioned Art Loeb Trail and make your journey a 5-mile loop.

Read More: Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk (7 Important Tips Before You Go!)

Devil’s Courthouse (MP 422)

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour (39 miles)
Hike Distance: 1-mile round trip

Devils Courthouse NC View West

According to legend, the rock at the Devil’s Courthouse summit has a cave where Satan holds court. Whether or not you believe those old tales, the hike to Devil’s Courthouse offers beautiful views of the mountains after a mostly paved half-mile climb.

From the summit of 5,720 feet, you can see North Carolina, but also South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. This is a great hike to combine with Graveyard Fields and Black Balsam Knob.

Read More: 25 Wonderful Wineries Near Asheville (Vineyards Within 2 Hours)

Graveyard Fields (MP 418.8)

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour (40 miles)
Hike Distance: 3.5 miles round trip

Asheville Hiking Trails Graveyard Fields

One of the most frequented Blue Ridge Parkway hikes near Asheville is Graveyard Fields. Not only does it have wide-open spaces for stretching your legs, but this is also a popular trail that leads to one of the best waterfalls near Asheville.

Speaking of those clear areas, that’s where the name Graveyard Fields came from, due to a 1925 fire. This hike will get you to two waterfalls, one that is very easy to access and another that is more elusive.

Read More: 20+ Kid-Friendly Waterfalls In NC (Easy Hikes And Swimming Holes!)

Linville Falls (MP 316.4)

Distance From Asheville: 1 hour 20 minutes (62 miles)
Hike Distance:

Hikes near Asheville Linville Falls NC

Linville Falls is easily one of North Carolina’s most popular waterfalls.

You can see it from a few different viewpoints, via a 2-mile round trip. This hike is the most popular among families and photographers.

The Plunge Basin Trail (1.75 miles round trip) is more difficult but approaches the waterfall from the opposite side and takes hikers to the bottom of the falls.

Read More: 50+ Great Things to Do With Kids in Asheville (and Nearby!)

Beacon Heights Overlook Trail (MP 305)

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 32 minutes (70 miles)
Hike Distance: 0.5 miles round trip

Hikes near Asheville NC Beacon Heights

Beacon Heights is the first of three Tanawha Trail hikes near Asheville that we’ll mention. It is also one of the shortest in our guide.

In less than 30 minutes, you can find yourself with sweeping views and endless mountains.

You can even look back toward Grandfather Mountain, and that’s not all there is to remember about this hike. Beacon Heights serves as an intersection for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail that runs from Clingmans Dome out west to Jockey’s Ridge on the coast.

Read More: 4 National Forests in NC (Things to Do + Why We Love Them!)

Rough Ridge Trail (MP 302.8)

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 32 minutes (71 miles)
Hike Distance: 1.5 miles round trip

Hikes near Asheville NC Rough Ridge Trail Blue Ridge Parkway

Rough Ridge Trail is one of the busiest Blue Ridge Parkway hikes. We especially love it at sunrise or sunset, but think it’s great throughout the day!

It’s a quick hike to the first overlook (1/3 of a mile) and absolutely beautiful if you can get there for sunrise. You can keep going another half-mile to the summit, which stands at 4,773 ft.

Read More: Colorful Fall Hikes in North Carolina (+ 20 Beautiful Places to Explore!)

Boone Fork Trail (MP 296.5)

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 45 minutes (79 miles)
Hike Distance: 5-mile loop

Hikes near Asheville NC Boone Fork Trail Blue Ridge Parkway

Boone Fork Trail is the last Tanahwa Trail hike and also our last Blue Ridge Parkway hike.

This is an almost 5-mile loop that starts at Julian Price Memorial Park. It takes you through diverse terrain, crossing its namesake Boone Fork River at many turns. Hebron Falls, also known as Boone Fork Falls, is one of many wonderful landmarks on this trail.

Summer and early fall hikers come for swimming spots, flowers, and eventual foliage but it’s a gorgeous hike throughout much of the year.

Read More: 30+ Great Things to Do in Boone (Hikes, Eats, and More in App Town)

Dupont State Recreational Forest Hikes near Asheville

Distance from Asheville to DuPont State Forest Visitor Center: 50 minutes (38 miles)

We’ll mention a few trails for hiking near Asheville that are inside DuPont State Forest but want to note that there are roughly 90 miles of trails here in total.

  • The three-waterfall hike that takes you to Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls (2.2 miles round trip) is one of the best hikes near Asheville! You can starts from the Hooker Falls Parking Lot and hike up to Triple Falls and High Falls for an easy return from this 2.2-mile out-and-back hike. Another option is to start from the High Falls Parking Lot, hike down to Hooker Falls, and climb back up to return.
  • Bridal Veil Falls (4.4 miles round trip) is the first of a few Hunger Games film locations inside DuPont State Forest. A much smaller Bridal Veil Falls sits beside the road near Highlands (and Dry Falls). This one is a 120-foot cascade over a large rock face. Much of the hike to Bridal Veil Falls is via a gravel road, making this an easy waterfall to get to by bike.
  • On the way to Bridal Veil Falls, you can hike the Three Lakes Trail (0.84 miles) and enjoy looks at Lake Dense, Lake Alford, and Lake Julia. Just past the second Three Lakes Trailhead is a closer look at Lake Julia and the Lake Julia Spillway, too!
  • Wintergreen Falls is another great DuPont waterfall, reachable after a 1.5-mile hike from the Guion Parking area. We highly recommend it!

Read More: Visiting the Henry River Mill Village (aka District 12)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hikes near Asheville

NC’s most visited National Park has some of the best hikes near Asheville. Here are a few of them.

Big Creek Trail

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 6 minutes (56 miles)
Hike Distance: 4 miles round trip

Hikes near Asheville NC Mouse Creek Falls Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Mouse Creek Falls

The Big Creek Trailhead sits on the North Carolina side of the border, but you’ll need to drive into Tennessee on I-40 to reach it. This moderate 2-mile climb (4 miles round trip) will take you past the beautiful Midnight Hole along the way.

The 45-foot Mouse Creek Falls is the second major highlight, standing tall at the 2-mile mark of this trail.

Read More: Asheville River Arts District and Nearby (20+ Essential Things to Do!)

Deep Creek Trail

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 18 minutes (68 miles)
Hike Distance: 2.4 miles or 5 miles

Hikes near Asheville NC Deep Creek Trail Bryson City

Deep Creek is one of the most incredible hikes near Asheville, also inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This trail passes three waterfalls near Bryson City (Tom Branch Falls, Indian Creek Falls, and Juney Whank Falls) on either a 2.4-mile or a 5-mile route. It is also very popular in the summer for tubing and swimming.

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 43 minutes (73 miles)
Hike Distance: 1 mile round trip

Hikes near Asheville Clingmans Dome Observation Tower

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower is one of the shortest GSMNP hikes near Asheville and definitely worth it for the views. It’s open year-round but the road that leads to it closes from December 1 to March 31.

You can reach it via both the Appalachian Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail.

Nantahala National Forest Hikes near Asheville

Considering it’s the largest of North Carolina’s four national forests, Nantahala is packed with fun and rewarding hikes near Asheville.

Cullasaja Falls

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 25 minutes (76 minutes)
Hike Distance: 0.4 miles round trip

Cullasaja Falls is a great roadside waterfall along the Waterfall Byway section of US-64. Of course, you can descend down a tricky 0.2-mile path along rocks and ropeway but practice caution if you decide upon it.

There are no signs to indicate you’ve arrived and cars fly on this section of the road. It’ll be easiest if you’re traveling from Franklin, as the pull-off will be on the right.

Coming from Highlands, you’ll have to make a slow turn into one of the few available spots with traffic possibly coming from around the sharp curve just beyond.

Upper Whitewater Falls

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 20 minutes (61 miles)
Hike Distance: 0.5 miles round trip

Hikes near Asheville NC Upper Whitewater Falls

Upper Whitewater Falls in Jackson and Transylvania counties is (fun fact alert!) part of the tallest waterfall in the Eastern US. One vantage point of Upper Whitewater Falls is accessible and another can be reached by 150-plus stairs to a viewing platform.

If you time it right, you can see this 411-foot waterfall near Brevard all by yourself. There’s a lower section across the border in South Carolina that falls an additional 400 feet.

Panthertown Valley Trail to Schoolhouse Falls

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 29 minutes (60 miles)
Hike Distance: 2.5 miles round trip

Hikes near Asheville NC Panthertown Valley Trail Schoolhouse Falls

Panthertown Valley is a 6,311-acre backcountry wilderness area in Jackson County, near Cashiers (and Sapphire). Here, you’ll also find some of the most interesting waterfall hikes near Asheville, which lead to gorges, valleys, waterfalls, and more.

Speaking of waterfalls, the area’s most popular is Schoolhouse Falls. You can reach it by hiking the Panthertown Valley Trail and the Little Green Trail (2.5 miles round trip).

Dry Falls

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 36 minutes (82 miles)
Hike Distance: Roadside or 0.6 miles round trip

Hikes near Asheville Dry Falls

Along the same section of US-64 as Cullasaja Falls, Dry Falls is more of a roadside waterfall and short walk. It’s viewable from an accessible platform next to the parking lot but also offers one of the easiest and kid-friendly hikes near Asheville.

The 65-foot waterfall’s waters gush over a cliff, creating an overflow that allows people to walk underneath. And the “dry” part of the name comes from the fact that you can remain dry (mostly) as you walk behind it.

Read More: Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City (10 Essential Things to Do)

Silver Run Falls

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 39 minutes (67 miles)
Hike Distance: 400 yards round trip

Hikes near Asheville Silver Run Falls

Silver Run Falls is off NC-107, the same road that leads to Upper Whitewater Falls. Because there’s very little designated parking, you may blink and miss it.

Once you park either at a designated spot or carefully along the side of the road, you’ll be rewarded with a short walk to a beautiful 20-foot waterfall and huge pool.

Pisgah National Forest Hikes near Asheville

We’ve mentioned a few Pisgah hikes close to Asheville, including Linville Falls and Mount Mitchell State Park. Please see “Blue Ridge Parkway” for descriptions of those two.

North Carolina Arboretum Hikes

Distance from Asheville: 22 minutes (11 miles)
Hike Distance: Various

Hikes near Asheville NC Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum is one of our favorite botanical gardens home to the best Asheville hikes, with some pretty underrated trails. Many people visit to walk through its wonderful gardens and admire beautiful bonsais, hollies, and a massive collection of every US-native azalea species.

There are more than 10 miles of trails for hiking and biking, including the easier Bent Creek Experimental Forest Trail (1.3 miles) and the more moderate Carolina Mountain Trail (1.2 miles). 

Read More: NC Arboretum Winter Lights (How To Enjoy In 10 Important Tips!)

Catawba Falls

Distance from Asheville: 32 minutes (27 miles)
Hike Distance: 3 miles round trip

Catawba Falls North Carolina Waterfalls

Catawba Falls is a 100-foot-tall mossy waterfall that flows along the Catawba River and is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina.

It’s also one of the easiest hikes near Asheville, as you’ll reach Catawba Falls after a steady 1.5 miles with a 465-foot change in elevation.

The ease of this hike is largely credited to trail improvements courtesy of the US Forest Service. It’s also why you can enjoy these falls after a big rain.

Read More: 13 Wonderful Things to Do in Old Fort (an Awesome Western NC Town!)

Laurel River Trail

Distance from Asheville: 30 minutes (36 miles)
Hike Distance: 7.2 miles round trip

One of the flattest hikes near Asheville is the Laurel River Trail, to the north in Madison County. This one wanders along Big Laurel Creek.

This former logging road-turned-trail is perfect for waterside picnics and also, a great place to fish.

Moore Cove Falls

Distance from Asheville: 45 minutes (38 miles)
Hike Distance: 1.5 round trip

Moore Cove Falls near Brevard NC

Moore Cove Falls is one of a few great waterfalls near Brevard and its trailhead lies along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. That’s the same scenic road where Looking Glass Falls and more beautiful landmarks await.

The 1.5-mile round trip trail to and from Moore Cove Falls is beautiful alone. However, we think you’ll love the 50-foot waterfall at the end.

Looking Glass Rock  

Distance from Asheville: 46 minutes (37 miles)
Hike Distance: 6.4 miles

Looking Glass Rock NC Hikes near Asheville

Climbing over 1,700 feet in elevation in 3 miles, the Looking Glass Rock Trail is one of the most difficult yet rewarding hikes near Asheville. The rock may look like it would be impossible to hike, though many professional rock climbers do scale it!

However, you can reach the top of Looking Glass Rock from the backside.

Pink Beds Hike

Distance from Asheville: 50 minutes (31 miles)
Hike Distance: 5.3 miles

The Pink Beds Hike sits further up (or down) the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway from Moore Cove Falls, and is a longer (yet still easy) 5-mile loop. The hike remains relatively flat throughout and very shady, thanks to generous tree cover.

Naturalists love Pink Beds for its wide variety of flora, including plenty of rhododendrons and mountain laurels that bloom in the summer.

Tom’s Creek Falls

Distance from Asheville: 53 minutes (42 miles)
Hike Distance: 1-mile round trip

Toms Creek Falls Marion NC Hikes Near Asheville

Tom’s Creek Falls is north of Marion, just off I-40 (Exits 85 and 86), and is an easy waterfall to reach. Families love to visit this 80-foot two-tiered waterfall, so we suggest you start your hike as early as possible.

Don’t rush too much, though, as you’ll want to stop along the way for looks at the river flowing alongside the trail.

Just before you reach Tom’s Creek Falls, sparkling mica will start to appear, especially if the sun is out. Those shiny rocks are prominent in this area.

Read More: The Best Day Trips from Boone

John Rock Trail

Distance from Asheville: 55 minutes (38 miles)
Hike Distance: 5.7 miles round trip

You’ll climb over 1,000 feet in elevation over 5 miles when hiking John Rock inside Pisgah National Forest. The trailhead starts at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and you’ll pass an offshoot trail that leads to Cedar Rock Falls.

Please be careful when you reach the stone face of John Rock, as it’s a 200-foot drop from the cliff.

Roaring Fork Creek Falls

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 7 minutes (47 miles)
Hike Distance: 1-mile round trip

Roaring Fork Falls Burnsville 1

Roaring Fork Falls (aka Roaring Fork Creek Falls) is a beautiful Yancey County waterfall that sometimes gets overlooked by Crabtree Falls, which we covered in our “Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes near Asheville” section.

Roaring Fork Falls is about 30 minutes from downtown Burnsville and sits at the base of Mount Mitchell. The hike to this waterfall is an easy one-mile round trip with marvelous rewards.

You’ll be greeted by a 100-foot long cascade, with room to dip your feet in the water.

Not many people can come here at one time because only 5 to 6 cars are able to park at the trailhead.

Setrock Creek Falls

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 11 minutes (37 miles)
Hike Distance: 1-mile round trip

Hikes near Asheville Setrock Creek Falls

The Setrock Creek Falls trailhead is at the Black Mountain Campground, just down the road from Roaring Fork Falls. Just like its neighbor, you can reach the 75-foot Setrock Creek Falls after a short, half-mile hike.

One cool thing about this trail (among many) is that you’ll see a split for the 12-mile round trip Mount Mitchell Trail. That will explain why the parking lot may seem busier than what you find at Setrock Creek Falls.

Rainbow Falls

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 21 minutes (54 miles)
Hike Distance: 1.5 miles

Gorges State Park NC

The Rainbow Falls Trail is one of the most unique hikes near Asheville because it involves two of our parks. To reach Rainbow Falls, you’ll start from Gorges State Park (which we’ll mention shortly) and enter Pisgah National Forest.

This is why we included it in this section.

Along the way, you’ll pass Hidden Falls, which is a nice spot to swim on hot days.

Hawksbill Mountain Trail

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 33 minutes (67 miles)
Hike Distance: 2.2 miles round trip

Hikes near Asheville Hawksbill Mountain Trail Linville Gorge

We mentioned Linville Falls earlier and the Hawksbill Mountain Trail is the first of two more Linville Gorge hikes around Asheville that we’ll mention. There are a couple of ways to reach the trailhead by car, either by following Table Rock Road or Gingercake Road.

After you, cross the road for a short hike that climbs 700 feet. At the top, you’ll forget about all that when looking over at Table Rock, Shortoff Mountain, and more of the beautiful Linville Gorge.

Glen Burney Trail

1 hour 44 minutes (90 miles)
Hike Distance: 3.1 or 3.2 miles

Hikes near Asheville Glen Burney Trail Blowing Rock NC

Before we get to Table Rock Mountain, we have to share the Glen Burney Trail (3.1 or 3.2 miles), just off Main St in Blowing Rock, one of our favorite mountain towns. The trail takes you away from everything toward three beautiful falls—Glen Burney, Cascades, and Glen Mary.

They’re so awesome that we included them among our favorite waterfalls in the Blowing Rock area.

You’ll descend about 800 feet so get those legs and knees ready for a workout! Also, beware of roots and occasional muddy areas if it’s recently rained.

Table Rock Mountain Trail

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 54 minutes (72 miles)
Hike Distance:

Hikes near Asheville NC Table Rock Mountain

Speaking of Table Rock Mountain, you can combine a hike to its summit with Hawksbill since they’re on the same road.

The hike is steeper than Hawksbill and about the same distance. You’ll be treated to views of Hawksbill Mountain and of course, the Gorge from the top.

Table Rock is also popular for rock climbing.

Note: Some sections of this road close from January to March.

Read More: Wiseman’s View of the Linville Gorge

State Parks Hiking near Asheville

Elk Knob is just over two hours away and Stone Mountain State Park is 2-1/2 hours away if you’d like to check out either of those awesome parks. All of the state parks we’ll mention in this section are within a two-hour drive from Asheville.

Chimney Rock State Park

41 minutes (25 miles)

Hikes near Asheville NC Chimney Rock State Park

Some of the coolest hikes near Asheville sit inside North Carolina’s Chimney Rock State Park.

The Outcropping Trail (0.4-mile loop) will get you to the top of Chimney Rock itself. There is an elevator that will get you there, too.

The Exclamation Point Trail (0.3-miles) continues from the Chimney Rock and leads to epic views of the Hickory Nut Gorge from its 2,480-foot tall perch.

Keep going on Skyline Trail (1.1 miles) for an even higher look from Peregrine Point at 2,640 feet.

For an easier hike, the Hickory Nut Falls Trail (1.4-mile loop) will take you to the base of the 404-foot namesake waterfall.

Mount Mitchell State Park (MP 355)

Distance from Asheville: 54 minutes (35 miles)

Check our “Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes near Asheville” section for more about Mount Mitchell State Park.

Lake James State Park

55 minutes (49 miles)

Lake James State Park NC Hiking Trails

Sitting at the base of the most rugged terrain in North Carolina, Lake James State Park offers sparkling blue waters perfect for boating.

There are also several really awesome opportunities for hiking here! The Paddy’s Creek Trail (1 mile) is a popular hike along the shores of Lake James.

For a great look at the lake and the Linville Gorge, check out the Lake Channel Overlook (1.5 miles).

The Fonta Flora State Trail snakes 19 miles and loops around Lake James. When completed, this trail will eventually connect Morganton and Asheville. The Fonta Flora is multi-use and very popular for cyclists.

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South Mountains State Park

1 hour 16 minutes (70 miles)

Hikes near Asheville High Shoals Falls Loop Trail South Mountains State Park

South Mountains State Park is often overlooked (thanks, Linville Gorge!) but this Burke County park has some wonderful scenery and some of the best hiking trails in North Carolina. With more than 20,000 acres, it’s also our largest state park.

The High Shoals Falls Loop Trail (2.7 miles) leads to the 80-foot High Shoals Falls, after a steady hike with a very steep ending. The short and easy Big Bear Trail is an offshoot from the loop and leads to Big Bear Falls.

Beyond those two waterfalls, there’s a nice mix of trails here, including the difficult Sawtooth Trail (3.3 miles), the moderate Lake View (1.3-mile loop), and the easy River Trail (0.5 miles).

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Gorges State Park

1 hour 18 minutes (55 miles)

Gorges State Park NC Rainbow Falls Trail

Gorges State Park spans 7,709 acres through Transylvania County and is where you’ll leave to access the 150-foot Rainbow Falls (1.5 miles). We mentioned it in our “Pisgah National Forest Hikes near Asheville” section.

More waterfalls await in this park, including Bearwallow Falls (0.4 miles) and Turtleback Falls. The latter is also in Pisgah NF.

Grandfather Mountain State Park

1 hour 30 minutes (69 miles)

Hikes near Asheville Grandfather Mountain NC

Grandfather Mountain is home to 12 miles of trails managed by North Carolina State Parks (Free) and another section (about 720 acres) that is protected by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

Some of the most difficult (yet rewarding) Asheville NC hiking Trails are found here.

The 228-foot long Mile High Swinging Bridge (Tickets Required) is easily accessible by car and elevator. You can also park below and hike to it (0.7 miles).

From the bridge, you can reach the advanced Grandfather Trail (2.4 miles) via the Underwood Trail (0.5 miles). Grandfather Trail leads to the Calloway Peak, which is the highest of Grandfather Mountain’s four summits.

Another Grandfather Trail connection is the Profile Trail (3.6 miles), which is another tough hike in the park. It will take you to the Profile View and Foscoe View.

If you hike all the way to the end of the Profile View or decide to start there, treat yourself to a nice meal at the Pedalin’ Pig. It’s one of the area’s best restaurants!

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Crowders Mountain State Park

1 hour 46 minutes (99 miles)

Hikes near Asheville Crowders Mountain State Park

Crowders Mountain State Park in Gaston County is the first of a few mountains near Charlotte that we mentioned in our guide to day trips from Queen City.

Here, you can hike around a lake and along a creek, but the park’s two peaks (Crowders Mountain and The Pinnacle) are home to the best views.

Crowders Trail (2.5 miles) will lead you to the top of Crowders Mountain and you can see Charlotte’s skyline on clear days.

Pinnacle Trail (2 miles) takes you to the top of the second and highest peak. The Pinnacle is also the highest point in Gaston County at 1,705 feet.

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More Hikes near Asheville

The last of our favorite Asheville hiking trails include a couple of amazing waterfalls in the Cherokee and Jackson County areas, as well as one more in the High Country, not far from Banner Elk.

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Soco Falls

Distance from Asheville: 48 minutes (41 miles)
Hike Distance: 0.2 miles round trip

Best Waterfall Hikes near Asheville NC Soco Falls

Soco Falls can be seen from a viewing platform that’s about 100 feet from the parking lot but reaching it can get tricky, especially if it’s recently rained.

And honestly, we think the best views come from a short hike and scramble to the bottom. We list this hike as “moderate” only because the path down requires the use of established ropes on a narrow path.

The parking area is small, too, so be prepared. Like many other people, Soco Falls is easily one of our favorite waterfalls to stare at for as long as possible.

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West Fork Trail in Pinnacle Park

Distance from Asheville: 50 minutes (47 miles)
Hike Distance: 7.6 miles round trip

Pinnacle Park in Sylva offers amazing looks into Jackson County from an old logging road. The 3.4-mile hike along West Fork Trail climbs 2,000 feet in elevation, with some rocky and uneven sections.

When you reach the pinnacle, you will be rewarded with incredible panoramic views that will take your breath away!

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Bakers Mountain Park

Distance from Asheville: 1 hour 12 minutes (74 miles)
Hike Distance: Various

Hikes near Asheville Hickory NC Bakers Mountain Hiking

Head to Bakers Mountain and you’ll find the easternmost hikes near Asheville. This is also home to Catawba County’s highest point of elevation at 1780 feet.

The 189-acre park in Hickory is a woodland paradise and hosts six miles of scenic and well-connected hiking trails. The Orange (0.5 miles) and Blue (1.2 miles) trails are the two that’ll take you to the highest peak.

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Pigeon Creek Trail to Mingo Falls

1 hour 21 minutes (70 miles)
Hike Distance: 160 stairs

Hikes near Asheville Mingo Falls

Many people visit both Soco Falls and Mingo Falls on the same day because they’re not too far from each other.

To reach the 120-foot Mingo Falls, you’ll need to climb 160 stairs (half a mile) on the Pigeon Creek Trail.

If we were to pick a time, warmer temperatures, mountain laurels, and rhododendrons force us to suggest early summer for visiting.

Keep in mind that the parking lot for the walk up to Mingo Falls is not very big and only accommodates maybe six or seven cars at a time.

Otter Falls Trail

1 hour 40 minutes (76 miles)
Hike Distance: 1.2 miles round trip

Hikes near Asheville Otter Falls Seven Devils

The last of our favorite hikes near Asheville is certainly not the least. Otter Falls is a short drive from Boone and Blowing Rock and not far from Banner Elk.

You’ll get to admire these falls in between a strenuous 1.2-mile round-trip hike.

The park is a collection of four short trails, including two loop trails. All sit inside the resort community of Seven Devils, funded by several donors from the community in 2015.

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Ready for These Hikes Near Asheville?

We’re absolutely in love with these hikes near Asheville. If you’ve ever enjoyed any of them, we’d love to know about your favorites, too!

Also, please let us know if there’s a path (or more) that we need to explore and eventually add to our hiking near Asheville mix.

Just let us know in the comments section or contact us via email if that suits you better.

More Things to Do in Asheville (and Nearby)

2 thoughts on “75+ Great Hikes Near Asheville (Within a 2-Hour Drive)”

  1. I just moved to North Carolina. I’m not living where I intend to end up which is the Asheville region but I’m here. I’m targeting that area because it appears to be the best developed area furthest west which is where I’ll establish a base in order to find land farther westward. Correct me if this isn’t the best developed area farthest west in that state. I enjoy NC Tripping and the way the contributors describe what they’re covering but I was wondering, have you or any others any others written articles on the music scene out that way?

    • Hey there! Yes, I would agree that Asheville is the largest city in WNC, but some other great spots are Hendersonville, Waynesville, Cherokee, Bryson City, Boone… I could go on! As far as the music scene, unfortunately not yet. I am a former music major but with two small kids it’s been hard to get out while we are traveling! Maybe one day though! Thanks for the kind words, Kensho!


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