Asheville hiking trails: our favorite hikes in western North Carolina

From tumbling waterfalls to towering mountains, hike Asheville’s most popular trails throughout western North Carolina. From waterfall hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway to towering summits at Linville Gorge, and from grassy mountaintops on the Appalachian Trail to the ultra-scenic, waterfall-packed DuPont State Forest, these great hikes near Asheville top lists of favorites.

 
Ivestor Gap Trail: hiking to Shining Rock Mountain in western NC

Shining Rock Mountain on the Ivestor Gap Trail

Explore North Carolina’s Shining Rock Wilderness and the brilliant, white quartz-encrusted Shining Rock Mountain on the Ivestor Gap Trail, the easiest route to this beautiful, iconic summit.

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Hike to Black Balsam Knob, catching stunning views from a grassy mountaintop on the Art Loeb Trail near Asheville, NC

Black Balsam Knob on the Art Loeb Trail

Hike to the view-packed Black Balsam Knob summit on the Art Loeb Trail, exploring a grassy, wildflower-covered mountain with 360-degree vistas, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville.

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Appalachian Trail in North Carolina: top day hikes and backpacking adventures

Appalachian Trail in North Carolina: our favorite hikes

Hike the Appalachian Trail in western NC, climbing to sun-drenched ridges and angular peaks, meandering rivers, wildflower-covered mountain balds and view-packed historic fire towers.

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Shining Rock Mountain: hiking the Art Loeb Trail from Black Balsam Knob in western NC

Shining Rock Mountain: hiking the Shining Rock Wilderness on the Art Loeb Trail

Hike the Art Loeb Trail to the stunning, brilliant white, quartz-crusted Shining Rock Mountain, catching stunning vistas from Black Balsam Knob and exploring wildflower-covered, view-packed mountain balds in NC’s Shining Rock Wilderness.

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Hike the Graveyard Fields Loop to beautiful views from Graveyard Ridge and the Graveyard Fields waterfalls in western NC

Graveyard Fields Loop: hiking to waterfalls and views on the Graveyard Ridge Trail

Hike the Graveyard Fields Loop to explore tumbling waterfalls, views from the Graveyard Ridge Trail, and fields of wildflowers, blueberries, and blackberries just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Beacon Heights Trail: hiking to Grandfather Mountain views off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC

Beacon Heights Trail at Grandfather Mountain

Hike the Beacon Heights Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway to wide panoramic views from two overlooks, climbing through a mossy forest to stunning views of nearby Grandfather Mountain.

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Rough Ridge Trail: hiking the Tanahwha Trail at Grandfather Mountain near Boone, NC

Rough Ridge: hiking the Tanahwha Trail at Grandfather Mountain

Hike the Tanawha Trail at Rough Ridge, a rocky, angular precipice that offers exceptional summit views of Grandfather Mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC.

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Graveyard Fields Trail: top waterfall hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC

Graveyard Fields Trail

Hike the ultra-popular Graveyard Fields Trail to stunning waterfalls, through fields of wildflowers, wild blackberries and blueberries, and to beautiful views on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Hike the Appalachian Trail at Hot Springs, NC, exploring the French Broad River and gorgeous views at Lovers Leap

Appalachian Trail: Hot Springs, NC to Lovers Leap

Hike the Appalachian Trail at Hot Springs, North Carolina, climbing to beautiful views from Lovers Leap and exploring the wide, whitewater-filled French Broad River.

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Hike DuPont State Forest to visit three spectacular waterfalls: Triple Falls, High Falls and Hooker Falls

DuPont State Forest waterfalls hike: three falls (Triple Falls, High Falls & Hooker Falls)

Hike to five popular, gorgeous DuPont State Forest waterfalls, High Falls, Hooker Falls, and three waterfalls at Triple Falls, on a 4.5 mile, ultra-scenic hike on the Little River.

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Hooker Falls: hike to a waterfall and swimming hole in DuPont State Forest in western NC

Hooker Falls at DuPont State Forest

Hike the exceptionally short and easy Hooker Falls Trail to an exceptionally beautiful waterfall and swimming hole at DuPont State Recreational Forest near Brevard, NC.

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Cedar Rock Mountain: hiking the Big Rock Trail at DuPont State Forest in NC

Cedar Rock Mountain: hiking the Big Rock Trail at DuPont State Forest

Hike to the mossy, rocky summit of Cedar Rock Mountain on the Big Rock Trail, scoring some beautiful summit views into North Carolina’s DuPont State Recreational Forest.

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Triple Falls NC: hiking DuPont State Forest to a trio of tumbling waterfalls

Triple Falls Trail at DuPont State Forest, NC

Hike the Triple Falls Trail at North Carolina’s DuPont State Forest to a trio of cascading waterfalls on the scenic Little River.

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Hike Stone Mountain NC at Dupont State Forest near Brevard

Stone Mountain Trail at DuPont State Forest

Hike to the Stone Mountain summit in Dupont State Forest near Brevard, NC to catch stunning, 180-degree panoramas from a wildflower-stippled mountaintop.

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Hike to Upper Bearwallow Falls waterfall at Gorges State Park in western NC

Bearwallow Falls Trail at Gorges State Park

Hike to Upper Bearwallow Falls at Gorges State Park near Cashiers, NC, a half mile, kid-friendly hike to a beautiful, cascading waterfall.

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Hike the Sam Knob Trail, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western NC

Sam Knob Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hike the Sam Knob Trail, catching sweeping summit views and hiking through a wide, wildflower-filled meadow just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western NC.

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Hike to Rainbow Falls, NC, and visit Turtleback Falls, on the Rainbow Falls Trail in Gorges State Park

Rainbow Falls NC at Gorges State Park

Hike to the towering 150-foot Rainbow Falls, Turtleback Falls and Drift Falls through a wildflower-filled forest in North Carolina’s Gorges State Park.

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Hike the Deep Gap Trail from Mount Mitchell to Mount Craig and Big Tom Mountain

Mount Mitchell: hiking to Mount Craig on the Deep Gap Trail

Hike the Deep Gap Trail (aka the Black Mountain Crest Trail) at Mount Mitchell State Park, trekking a ridgeline to beautiful views at Mount Craig, the second highest peak east of the Mississippi River, and the neighboring Big Tom Mountain.

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Siler Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Wayah Gap

Siler Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Wayah Gap

Hike the Appalachian Trail to Siler Bald near Franklin, NC, and score some exceptional, 360-degree views from a sun-drenched, grassy summit.

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Hike the Appalachian Trail in NC to the Albert Mountain fire tower and Mooney Gap

Appalachian Trail: Albert Mountain fire tower to Mooney Gap

Hike the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, climbing to the Albert Mountain fire tower, hiking through Bearpen Gap and catching stunning views along the Big Butt ridge to Mooney Gap.

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Wesser Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Tellico Gap

Wesser Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Tellico Gap

Hike to the Wesser Bald fire tower on the Appalachian Trail, climbing to exceptionally beautiful panoramic views from Tellico Gap near Franklin, NC.

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Linville Falls in Winter: hiking the Linville Falls & Plunge Basin Trails

Linville Falls in winter: hiking the Linville Falls & Plunge Basin Trails

Hike from the winter-access trailhead at Linville Gorge, catching views of the tumbling Linville Falls waterfall from multiple overlooks, and plunging to the base of the gorge on the Plunge Basin Trail.

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Roan Mountain: hiking the Appalachian Trail to Grassy Ridge Bald

Roan Mountain, Appalachian Trail to Grassy Ridge Bald from Carvers Gap

Hike the Appalachian Trail over the rolling Roan Highlands, hiking from Carvers Gap to grassy, wildflower-covered fields and exceptional 360-degree summit views at Round Bald, Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge Bald.

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Roan Mountain: winter hike on the Appalachian Trail from Carvers Gap

Roan Mountain: winter hike on the Appalachian Trail

Stunning year-round, the Roan Highlands are exceptionally beautiful during a Winter sunrise. Hike the Appalachian Trail from Carvers Gap to Round Bald, Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge for nearly continuous, exceptional wintertime views.

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Crabtree Falls NC: top waterfall hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Crabtree Falls Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hike the Crabtree Falls Trail to one of North Carolina’s most beautiful waterfalls, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville.

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Appalachian Trail: hiking Standing Indian Mountain from Deep Gap near Franklin, NC

Standing Indian Mountain: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Deep Gap

Hike to stunning views from the Standing Indian Mountain summit on the Appalachian Trail, climbing from Deep Gap and the Standing Indian AT shelter near Franklin, NC.

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Hike the Appalachian Trail from Carvers Gap to Roan High Knob, visiting the highest-elevation AT shelter on the trail

Roan High Knob: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Carvers Gap

Hike to Roan High Knob on the Appalachian Trail from Carvers Gap, climbing through a mossy, fir-filled forest to beautiful Roan Mountain views.

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Hike the Pickens Nose Trail to stunning summit views near Franklin, NC

Pickens Nose Trail

Hike the Pickens Nose Trail through a beautiful rhododendron forest to exceptional views from a craggy summit near the Appalachian Trail and Franklin, NC.

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Hike the Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville

Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hike the Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail to stunning summit views from a historic steel fire tower just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.

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Cold Mountain, NC: hike the Art Loeb Trail from the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp

Cold Mountain: hiking the Art Loeb Trail

Hike to exceptional views on the Cold Mountain summit in North Carolina’s Shining Rock Wilderness, following the Art Loeb Trail from the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp.

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Hike the Grandfather Mountain Profile Trail to stunning summit views at Calloway Peak

Grandfather Mountain Profile Trail: hiking to Calloway Peak

Hike the Grandfather Mountain Profile Trail to Profile View, the mountain’s famous face-like profile, and climb a rocky, boulder-filled ascent to stunning views from Watauga View and Calloway Peak on the Grandfather Mountain ridge.

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Hike to The Pinnacle, a towering summit in the Plott Balsam range near Sylva, North Carolina

Pinnacle Park in Sylva, NC: hiking the West Fork Trail to The Pinnacle

Hike the West Fork Trail at Pinnacle Park in Sylva, North Carolina, climbing to exceptional views from The Pinnacle, a high-elevation, knobby summit.

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Hike the Big Laurel Falls Trail to a tumbling waterfall near Franklin, NC.

Big Laurel Falls Trail near Franklin, NC

Hike the Big Laurel Falls Trail to a gorgeous waterfall beneath abundant rhododendron in North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest.

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Whiteside Mountain Trail: top hikes near Highlands, NC

Whiteside Mountain Trail

Hike Whiteside Mountain near Highlands, NC, climbing to exceptional summit views from the mountain’s sheer, 750-foot, towering rock walls.

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Mount Mitchell: hiking the Old Mitchell Trail and Commissary Trail Loop

Mount Mitchell: hiking the Old Mitchell Trail, Camp Alice Trail and Commissary Trail Loop

Hike the Mount Mitchell High Loop, catching stunning summit views at the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Explore a rocky, high-elevation forest on the Old Mitchell Trail, and visit sun-drenched fields of wildflowers and wild berries and a waterfall on this four-mile loop.

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Hike the Appalachian Trail from the Roan Highlands to the Overmountain Shelter, a historic red barn at Yellow Mountain Gap

Roan Highlands: Appalachian Trail to the Overmountain Shelter

Hike the Appalachian Trail to stunning views in the Roan Highlands, rolling from Carvers Gap to the Overmountain Shelter, a historic red barn at Yellow Mountain Gap, on this 11 mile adventure.

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Hawksbill Trail at Linville Gorge: hiking Hawksbill Mountain

Hawksbill Mountain Trail at Linville Gorge

Hike the Hawksbill Trail at Linville Gorge in western NC, scaling the mountain’s craggy, jagged summit to outstanding mountaintop views and spectacular sunrises.

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Hike the Cloudland Trail at Roan Mountain, climbing to gorgeous views at Roan High Bluff

Roan High Bluff: hiking the Cloudland Trail at Roan Mountain

Hike the Cloudland Trail at Roan Mountain to two overlooks at Roan High Bluff, catching stunning summit views and trailing through a lush, high-elevation forest.

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Asheville Urban Trail: a free self-guided tour through historic downtown Asheville

Asheville Urban Trail

Walk or run the charming streets of Asheville on this free self-guided walking tour, exploring Asheville’s history, notable residents, architecture and local art.

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Visit Looking Glass Falls, a stunning roadside waterfall near the Blue Ridge Parkway in western NC

Looking Glass Falls

Catch views of the gorgeous cascades of Looking Glass Falls, a roadside waterfall just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Brevard, NC.

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Craggy Gardens Trail: hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway through a rhododendron-filled forest

Craggy Gardens Trail

Hike the Craggy Gardens Trail, climbing through a beautiful high-elevation forest filled with blooming rhododendron, wild blueberries and wildflowers to stunning summit views just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Hike the Craggy Pinnacle Trail at Craggy Gardens to stunning views off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Craggy Pinnacle Trail at Craggy Gardens

Hike the Craggy Pinnacle Trail through an exceptionally beautiful forest at Craggy Gardens, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, climbing to stunning summit views and abundant blooming Catawba rhododendron.

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Mountains to Sea Trail: hiking from Devils Courthouse to Black Balsam Knob in Western NC

Devils Courthouse: hiking the Mountains to Sea Trail to Black Balsam Knob

Hike the Mountains to Sea Trail to stunning vistas at Devil’s Courthouse, climbing high above the Blue Ridge Parkway to Black Balsam Knob.

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Devils Courthouse Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Devil’s Courthouse Trail

Hike the Devils Courthouse Trail to exceptional views from the summit of this jagged, rocky, towering mountain. The mountain’s views are easily some of the best off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.

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Mount Pisgah Trail: best hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC

Mt Pisgah Trail

Hike the Mt Pisgah Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway near of Asheville, trailing through a scenic forest to breathtaking views from the mountain’s towering summit. It’s a moderately difficult but short climb, and so worth the effort.

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Hike to the Dry Falls waterfall north of Highlands, NC

Dry Falls waterfall near Highlands, NC

Hike a short, kid-friendly, quarter-mile trail to Dry Falls, a gorgeous walk-behind waterfall on the Cullasaja River near Highlands. It’s one of North Carolina’s most beautiful and easy-access waterfalls.

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Hike the Mount Mitchell summit and Balsam Nature Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Mount Mitchell Summit and Balsam Nature Trail

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.

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Hike to the High Falls waterfall near Cashiers, NC at Lake Glenville

High Falls Trail near Cashiers, NC at Lake Glenville

Hike to the stunning High Falls waterfall at Lake Glenville, descending into the West Fork Tuckasegee Gorge on a moderately challenging, 1.4 mile roundtrip through beautiful, lush forest.

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Hike the Plunge Basin Trail to Linville Falls, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Linville Falls Plunge Basin Trail

Hike the Linville Falls Plunge Basin Trail to stunning waterfall views, trekking to the base of the falls on the floor of Linville Gorge. It’s one of the undisputedly best, most beautiful waterfall trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.

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Looking Glass Rock Trail near Brevard, NC

Looking Glass Rock Trail

Hike the Looking Glass Rock Trail to an iconic, domed mountaintop near Brevard, NC, catching incredible, lofty views from the steep-sided, summit.

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Skinny Dip Falls Trail: top waterfall hikes near Asheville, NC

Skinny Dip Falls: Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall hike

Hike the Skinny Dip Falls Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville to a set of beautiful, cascading waterfalls. It’s a fantastic summertime hike, and family-friendly, too, at just under 1 mile.

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Moore Cove Falls Trail: top waterfall hikes near Brevard, NC

Moore Cove Falls: waterfall hiking near Brevard, NC

Hike the Moore Cove Falls Trail to a towering, 50-foot free-falling waterfall set in a scenic creek valley filled with fern and rhododendron. It’s a beautiful, moderate, one-mile hike, and located in the Pisgah National Forest just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Linville Falls Trail: hiking Linville Gorge waterfalls near the Blue Ridge Parkway

Linville Falls Trail at Linville Gorge

Hike to epic views of Linville Gorge’s enormous waterfalls on this Linville Falls Trail two miler. It’s north of Asheville, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway – and easily one of North Carolina’s best waterfall hikes.

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Whitewater Falls NC: waterfall hiking near Cashiers

Whitewater Falls near Cashiers, NC

Hike the Whitewater Falls Trail near Cashiers, NC to the stunning, tumbling cascades of a towering waterfall on this short, easy, family-friendly trail.

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Hike to Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain on the Art Loeb Trail, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC

Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain loop: hiking the Art Loeb & Ivestor Gap Trails

Hike this double-summit, ultra-scenic five mile loop on the Art Loeb and Ivestor Gap trails, summiting Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain. It’s a sun-drenched, blueberry and blackberry-filled adventure over two bald mountains to some incredible views.

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Table Rock Mountain Trail at Linville Gorge

Table Rock Trail: hiking Linville Gorge in western North Carolina

Hike the Table Rock Mountain Trail to breathtaking panoramic views from a soaring summit in North Carolina’s Linville Gorge.

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Shortoff Mountain Trail: hiking Linville Gorge near Lake James

Shortoff Mountain Trail: hiking Linville Gorge

Hike to the summit of Shortoff Mountain, scoring gorgeous views of nearby Lake James and carving across the view-packed southern rim of Linville Gorge.

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Hike the Catawba Falls Trail to beautiful waterfalls on the Catawba River east of Asheville

Catawba Falls Trail

Hike the Catawba Falls Trail east of Asheville, trekking through a mossy, shady forest valley to a beautiful series of waterfalls on the Catawba River.

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Hike the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch Mountain to stunning views and endless fields of wildflowers

Max Patch on the Appalachian Trail

Hike the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch, one of North Carolina’s most popular AT hikes, on a grassy, bald mountain that’s covered in wildflowers. Catch a gorgeous sunrise, sunset or afternoon picnic on this moderate two mile loop with stunning 360-degree views and seemingly endless sunshine.

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Best fall hikes near Asheville, NC: our top 10 favorite trails through autumn leaf color

Best fall hikes near Asheville, NC: our top 10 favorite trails through autumn leaf color

Hike through western North Carolina’s autumn beauty on our top 10 favorite trails to stunning views and the the best fall leaf color near Asheville.

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Our top 10 favorite Blue Ridge Parkway hikes to summit views near Asheville

Asheville Blue Ridge Parkway hikes: our top 10 favorite trails to the best summit views

What a view! Hike our top 10 favorite trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, climbing to some seriously stunning mountaintop views.

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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!