Blue Ridge Parkway: top hiking trails near Asheville

Blue Ridge Parkway: our favorite hiking trails near Asheville

Hike these popular Blue Ridge Parkway trails to stunning mountain summit views, tumbling waterfalls and through some of Western North Carolina's most beautiful forest near Asheville.

Winding, twisting, curving and carving through the landscape, the Blue Ridge Parkway travels some of Western NC’s most scenic terrain. This 469-mile, all-American road meanders through Asheville, offering access to some exceptional high-elevation views from the overlooks peppered along its path.

But if you’ve only experienced the Parkway for the drive, you’re missing out: scattered along the Parkway, trailheads lead to some seriously great hiking and running trails. Grab a hike or trail run to rushing waterfalls, through rolling forest, to lofty summits with see-forever views, and through grassy meadows filled with endless wildflowers and wild berries in the summertime months. Thanks to its already-high elevation, most Blue Ridge Parkway hikes don’t have to venture far – making many of these hikes beginner-hiker-friendly.

Blue Ridge Parkway: our favorite hiking trails near Asheville

 

Our favorite hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville

The Parkway follows a high ridge for much of its drive. Elevations along the road are often much cooler than nearby Asheville, so pack a jacket, even in summertime, and dress in layers to stay comfortable on your hike. And before you go, check the official Blue Ridge Parkway website for road closures, especially in snowy winter months. For each hike, we’ve listed the Blue Ridge Parkway milepost (MP) number to help you get there – and each trail page includes driving directions, trail info, and interactive maps to help you plan your adventure.

Grab your hiking boots, hit the Parkway and get ready for an adventure – and enjoy the spectacular drive to the trailhead, too.

Hike the Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail to beautiful sunrise and sunset views near Mt Pisgah on the Blue Ridge Parkway

FRYINGPAN MOUNTAIN | MP 409.6

Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail

Just south of Mount Pisgah, the Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail summits a mountain and climbs a historic steel fire tower, catching some stunning 360-degree panoramas.

1.5 MILES

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Devil’s Courthouse Trail: Hike the Blue Ridge Parkway to stunning panoramic views from a  towering precipice southwest of Asheville, NC

DEVIL’S COURTHOUSE | MP 422

Devil’s Courthouse Trail

It’s a short climb from the Blue Ridge Parkway, but so worth the effort. Hike to the towering, jagged Devil’s Courthouse summit through a beautiful high-elevation forest to catch some stunning summit views from the top.

.9 MILE

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Hike the Graveyard Fields Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway southwest of Asheville to a duo of waterfalls and through a beautiful, rolling valley

GRAVEYARD FIELDS | MP 418.8

Graveyard Fields Trail

Two waterfalls, beautiful views from the trailhead and miles and miles of rolling terrain filled with wild blueberries and blackberries: it’s no wonder that Graveyard Fields is one of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s most popular hikes.

3.3 MILES

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Hike the Mountains to Sea Trail to Black Balsam Knob from Devil's Courthouse, catching stunning views above the Blue Ridge Parkway

DEVIL’S COURTHOUSE | MP 422

Mountains to Sea Trail: Devil’s Courthouse to Black Balsam Knob

Hike the Mountains to Sea Trail from Devil’s Courthouse, catching stunning view after stunning view from steep overlooks above the Parkway. The trail crosses through fragrant balsam fir forests, passes towering rock overlooks and spans wildflower-covered outcrops en route to the grassy summit of Black Balsam Knob.

5.5 MILES

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Hike the Crabtree Falls trail to one of North Carolina's most beautiful waterfalls

CRABTREE FALLS CAMPGROUND | MP 339.5

Crabtree Falls Trail

Hike to the towering cascades of Crabtree Falls, trailing through a lush, rocky forest filled with wildflowers, rhododendron and mountain laurel. The trail also explores the smaller, yet equally beautiful, Upper Crabtree Falls upstream, and a shady creek valley peppered with broad-trunked hardwoods. It’s one of most popular waterfall hikes off the Parkway.

2.7 MILES

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Hike the Plunge Basin Trail to up-close views of Linville Falls, trekking to the base of the falls on the gorge floor

LINVILLE FALLS | MP 316

Linville Gorge: hiking the Plunge Basin Trail

Hike this just-off-Parkway trail to up-close views of the Linville Falls waterfall, trekking to the Plunge Basin Overlook and the Linville Gorge floor.

1.75 MILES

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Hike the Tanawha Trail to spectacular views at Rough Ridge near Grandfather Mountain

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN | MP 302.8

Rough Ridge at Grandfather Mountain

Hike to exceptional summit views at Rough Ridge, a rocky, jagged summit just off the Parkway on Grandfather Mountain’s lower elevations. Follow boardwalks through stretches of extremely fragile, rare plant life, catching view after stunning view from the Rough Ridge rock outcrops. It’s a popular hike, so expect fellow hikers, but the views are simply unforgettable.

1.2 MILES

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Hike the Deep Gap Trail at Mount Mitchell State Park, trekking a ridgeline to beautiful views at Mount Craig, the second highest peak east of the Mississippi River

MOUNT MITCHELL STATE PARK | MP 355

Deep Gap Trail to Mount Craig

Hike the two tallest peaks east of the Mississippi River on the Deep Gap Trail, catching stunning high-altitude views along a ridgeline from Mount Mitchell to Mount Craig.

2.1 MILES

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Hike this double-summit, ultra-scenic five-mile loop on the Art Loeb and Ivestor Gap trails, summiting Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain

BLACK BALSAM KNOB | MP 420

Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain Loop

Climb two summits, hike five miles and catch many epic views. This loop hike is one of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s most scenic, trailing over the grassy bald mountaintops of Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain.

5.1 MILES

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Hike the Art Loeb Trail from Black Balsam Knob, rolling elevation over wildflower-covered balds to the brilliant white, quartz-topped summit of Shining Rock

BLACK BALSAM KNOB | MP 420

Shining Rock Mountain via the Art Loeb Trail

Hike the Art Loeb Trail from Black Balsam Knob, rolling elevation over grassy, wildflower-covered balds into the Shining Rock Wilderness. The final destination: the summit of Shining Rock, which offers stunning views from enormous, white quartz boulders and rock outcrops.

9.9 MILES

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Hike to Mt Mitchell's stunning summit views, and hike the connecting Balsam Nature Trail through gorgeous, lush, high-elevation forest. It's a view-packed one mile hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mount Mitchell State Park.

MOUNT MITCHELL STATE PARK | MP 355

Mount Mitchell Summit and Balsam Nature Trail

Hike a two-trail duo to the summit of Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi, and through a gorgeous, shady forest filled with sweet-scented balsam fir.

1 MILE

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Hike the Craggy Gardens Trail, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, to a grassy summit filled with blooming rhododendron, wild blueberries and wildflowers

CRAGGY GARDENS | MP 364

Craggy Gardens Trail

It’s a can’t-miss hike just north of Asheville: hike the Craggy Gardens Trail through a beautifully surreal, gnarled forest of rhododendron and blueberries to an idyllic, grassy mountaintop.

1.9 MILES

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Hike a moderate 6-miler to the ultra-popular Graveyard Fields waterfalls just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, and ascend Graveyard Ridge to trek through fields of wildflowers, blueberries, and blackberries and catch some stunning views

GRAVEYARD FIELDS | MP 418.8

Graveyard Ridge and Graveyard Fields Loop

Hike a loop at Graveyard Fields, one of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s most popular hiking destinations, to ridgeline views, two waterfalls and through fields of wildflowers, wild blueberries, and blackberries.

6.15 MILES

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Hike to beautiful sunsets at Craggy Gardens, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC

CRAGGY GARDENS | MP 364

Craggy Gardens: Hiking the Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Our favorite Craggy Gardens hike climbs to gorgeous 360-degree views, hiking through a mossy, lush, green forest of gnarly-branched rhododendron.

.9 MILES

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Trek this ultra-popular Blue Ridge Parkway hike to exceptional summit views from Black Balsam Knob, a bald wildflower-covered mountain on the Art Loeb Trail

BLACK BALSAM KNOB | MP 420

Art Loeb Trail to Black Balsam Knob

It’s one of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s best: hike the Art Loeb Trail to the sun-drenched, grassy summit of Black Balsam Knob, climbing through a forest of sweet-scented black balsam fir.

1.4 MILES

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Hike to epic views of Linville Gorge’s enormous waterfalls on the Linville Falls Trail north of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway

LINVILLE FALLS | MP 316

Linville Falls Trail

Hike to exceptional views of some of the best waterfalls near Asheville, trekking to three overlooks with views of upper and lower Linville Falls and some beautiful views into Linville Gorge.

2.2 MILES

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Hike the Sam Knob Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway, catching sweeping views from the Sam Knob summit and hiking through a wide, wildflower-filled meadow

BLACK BALSAM KNOB | MP 420

Sam Knob Trail

Hike to some exceptional Sam Knob summit views, trekking through a wide, open meadow filled with wildflowers, from a trailhead off the Parkway near Black Balsam Knob.

2.5 MILES

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Hike the Skinny Dip Falls Trail to a popular swimming hole and waterfalls near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Graveyard Fields

LOOKING GLASS ROCK OVERLOOK | MP 417

Skinny Dip Falls Trail

Hike to a popular summertime swimming hole south of Asheville, where a multi-tiered waterfall spills into deep, crystal-clear pools in a beautiful, shady cove at Skinny Dip Falls.

.9 MILE

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Hike to the Mt Pisgah summit for beautiful views of Cold Mountain and Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway

MOUNT PISGAH | MP 407.6

Mt Pisgah Trail

It’s a moderately difficult climb, but the views are well worth the effort: hike to the Mount Pisgah summit south of Asheville to catch some stunning long-range views.

2.3 MILES

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Hike our top 10 favorite trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville to simply stunning summit views

SIMPLY STUNNING SUMMIT VIEWS

Our top 10 favorite Blue Ridge Parkway hikes to summit views

Looking for a fantastic, view-packed hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville? Our top 10 favorite Parkway hikes climb through grassy, wildflower-filled meadows and beautiful, scenic forest to summit ten towering mountains with seriously beautiful, unforgettable views.

1-10 miles

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Hiking gear list: what to pack on day hikes, our favorite, trail-tested gear

WHAT TO PACK?

Hiking gear list: our favorite, trail-tested gear

Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack? Our hiking gear list details our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear that we’ve used – and loved – over thousands of miles on the trails throughout the South. From backpacks to safety gear (and a few extras thrown in for fun), our gear list offers the essentials to help inspire your own packing list.

SEE OUR HIKING GEAR LIST

Let’s hit the trail, Asheville!   #ashevilletrails

Western North Carolina's beauty is simply stunning. From Asheville's urban biking and running trails to the curvy meanders of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and from the towering heights of Mount Mitchell to the shady, cool, waterfall-filled valleys of the Pisgah National Forest, there's a whole lot of outdoor beauty to be seen in Western NC.

Snap a selfie from a hike to your favorite mountain summit, a group shot of your favorite hiking buddies, or a morning sunrise from your trail run off the Blue Ridge Parkway... we'd love to see your adventures! Share your photos with us! Tag them #ashevilletrails on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We'll share our favorites, as well as our own favorite shots!