Springtime is absolutely stunning in the mountains of Western NC. After months of bare-branched trees and wintery weather, the season’s warm sunshine, longer days, and vibrant colors are uplifting to the spirit. Waterfalls and streams run full with the season’s abundant rains, crashing and tumbling over rock cliffs and boulder-filled river beds. Forests come alive with wildflowers reaching for the sun as pale green leaves emerge from tree limbs overhead, and flowering shrubs burst with colorful blooms. It’s simply a magical time in our mountains!
Wondering when to hit the trail? The season’s peak really depends on the location in Asheville and our surrounding mountains and varies significantly by elevation. Our low-lying valleys welcome the season weeks earlier than our highest elevation mountains, which is pretty amazing: it’s one of our favorite seasons, and it can stretch over several months.
Asheville spring hikes: our favorite trails
Whereever your adventures take you, please always leave no trace to help preserve the incredible natural beauty of these forests, trails, and places. And as always, please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.
1.9 MILES, ROUND TRIP
It’s one of our favorite hikes off the Blue Ridge Parkway in any season, but the bloom at Craggy is exceptionally beautiful. This hike follows the Craggy Gardens Trail, climbing through a rhododendron forest filled with deep pink blooms by the literal millions. Covered with tall wildflowers and wispy grasses, the expansive grassy summit basks in abundant spring sunshine and cool mountain breezes. And the views of the surrounding Appalachians are absolutely breathtaking.
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2.6 MILES, ROUND TRIP
Blooming wildflowers, budding rhododendron, and an exceptionally beautiful waterfall: this is simply one amazing spring hike. Descend into the scenic stretches of the enormous Panthertown Valley to Schoolhouse Falls, a single-drop waterfall that features an enormous pebble-lined pool below.
4.7 MILES, ROUND TRIP
Few places in the South offer the awe-inspiring beauty and unbelievable views as Roan Mountain. Hike this scenic section of the Appalachian Trail over rolling balds covered in tall grasses and blooming wildflowers, and catch panoramic views in every direction. Cool breezes blow well into the summer season in this high-elevation wonderland, offering welcomed relief from the heat in the surrounding lowlands.
DuPont Three Waterfall Hike
4.5 MILES, ROUND TRIP
Visit five gorgeous waterfalls at DuPont State Forest, one of our favorite places to explore near Brevard. Meander the banks of the Little River to explore rolling forest filled with new green growth and the cascades of three of the park’s most popular waterfalls. This hike visits the spectacular single-drop cascade of High Falls, the gorgeous triple-tiered Triple Falls, and the wide symmetrical plunge of Hooker Falls.
Biltmore Estate is one of Asheville’s can’t-miss experiences. The gorgeous Chateau-style summer home built by George Vanderbilt is the estate’s main attraction, but the grounds and gardens around the property are equally worthy of a visit. Stroll through the many manicured flower gardens bursting with blooming perennials, shrubs, and flowering trees. Or take a lazy bike ride along the French Broad River to explore leafy forests, grassy meadows, and glassy reflecting pools framed in springtime blooms.
1.8 MILES, ROUND TRIP
Hike to outstanding high-elevation views of Linville Gorge from the summit of Table Rock. Arguably one of the best views near Asheville, the mountaintop vista provides 360-degree panoramic views as far as the eye can see. It’s a favorite spot to spread a picnic, soak up some springtime sunshine, and enjoy the incredible view.
2.7 MILES, ROUND TRIP
Hike through a sun-dappled forest to the base of Catawba Falls, spilling in multiple tendrils over mossy boulders. The relatively moderate trail is a family-friendly favorite exploring beautiful forest of pines, ferns, and showy late spring blooms of pink rhododendron. Along the way to the enormous falls at the end of the trail, explore smaller waterfalls as they tumble down the rocky riverbed and over the rustic remains of a historic power dam.
2.5 MILES, ROUND TRIP
Hike to the rocky summit of Sam Knob and grab outstanding sun-drenched mountain views just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trail explores an enormous grassy meadow at the base of the mountain filled with tall wildflowers in warm weather months. The trail climbs through a fragrant balsam-fir forest brimming with ferns and blooming mountain laurel, and scores exceptional views from the summit.
7.4 MILES, ROUND TRIP
Climb to the summit of Shortoff Mountain at Linville Gorge to beautiful views of Lake James and the scenic southern end of this enormous canyon. Recent wildfires have left the terrain open with exceptional vistas, and the forest’s rejuvenation has encouraged a lush undergrowth of wildflowers. Known for its warm summers, Linville Gorge is one of our favorite spots for early-season adventures before the temperature rises.
2.7 MILES, ROUND TRIP
Hike through a lush green forest filled with wildflowers and blooming rhododendron to the base of stunning Crabtree Falls. It’s one of North Carolina’s most beautiful waterfalls, nestled deep in a gorgeous swath of forest. The spectacular cascades tumble more than 70-feet over a rocky cliff into a deep pool of water below. And it’s long been one of our favorite springtime adventures on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.
Hiking gear list: our favorite, trail-tested gear
WHAT TO PACK?Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack? Our hiking gear list features our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes on local trails and in the backcountry. Our Asheville Trails shirts and longsleeves are printed our ultra-soft tri-blend shirts, and they’re our favorite for trail adventures all over the South. Our outdoor apparel reviews feature our favorite trail-worthy hiking boots, running shoes, jackets, and layering essentials for the South. And no matter what you pack in, pack it all back out. Please leave no trace and help preserve the beauty of Western NC.
OUR HIKING GEAR LIST
Springtime access on the Blue Ridge Parkway
If your adventures have you headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway, please note: due to late season snow and ice, the Parkway occasionally faces unexpected closures. Be sure to check the official Parkway’s official website for information on road conditions and closures before heading out.