If you’re familiar with the area, you can still use it for navigation offline without a pre-downloaded map, but only do this if you have a paper map as backup AND you have a general sense of where you are (i.e. Ask them to be more specific, and they’ll say Black Balsam Knob. Email me here. Best time to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway? They all look so stunning that we will have a difficult time to decide which ones to take. Oh nice, that’s an easy 4-day weekend trip! Explore local history by … Mitchel in our short amount of time we have in Asheville but then found out the parkway is closed to get there unless i go in from north entrance. This hike starts from a dirt parking lot about a mile south of Pisgah Inn. Even better, many of the most beautiful views are accessible on easy hikes near Asheville. This is one of my favorite views in the region. Sure, you could see it all from the comfort of your car. But it won’t reconnect if it gets disconnected, and it won’t help me get home when I turn it on with no service. The trail begins from a parking area (with restrooms) a mile off the Parkway. It passes three beautiful waterfalls at the beginning, climbs a small ridge, and covers two more waterfalls near the end. It also has some of the flattest, easiest trails accessible for people of all hiking experience levels. Park at the Mount Mitchell Parking Area and start by visiting the overlook. To stay within the 30 minute limit, my only ideas are 1) Drive to Montreat College ,about 18 miles east of Asheville on I-40, and hike the Greybeard Trail. You can go tubing right from the campground. No need to drive 30 minutes out of town to hike. Eventually I found a one-pump gas station that looked like this and did not take credit cards. Take this route. // About 30-40 minutes from town. Park at Balsam Gap and take the trail on the south end of the parking lot for 2.5 miles. Return the way you came. One of the flattest hikes near Asheville is the Laurel River Trail in Pisgah National Forest. The trail starts from the first small parking lot you reach if you turn into Craggy Gardens Picnic Area (i.e. I’ve included specific notes for each trail in this guide, but as a general rule, you should always be prepared to drive down unpaved roads to reach a trailhead. Or, if you would like to learn about longer and more difficult hiking or backpacking routes, I can help you with that too. Many of them sit within Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, state parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park , and along scenic roads beyond the Blue Ridge Parkway. My car is a tiny Honda Insight and I’ve never been unable to reach a trailhead. Within a 30 minute drive of Asheville, you can reach some excellent sections of the North Carolina Mountains to Sea Trail via the Blue Ridge Parkway. From December-March, the trees are barren so you can get awesome ridge-line views that are normally obscured. Park at Craggy Gardens Picnic Area and follow the Mountains to Sea (white-blazed) trail for just under a mile. Distance from Asheville: 36 miles (30 minutes) Hike Distance: 7.2 miles round trip. The trail is seven miles in its entirety, taking an average of 3.5 hours there and back, although hiking a shorter segment would still be a worthwhile excursion. Someday I’ll write a post about how I spent nearly two hours almost running out of gas looking for Black Mountain Campground on unpaved Forest Service roads…. Lookout Mountain in Montreat is a good choice. Continue along the Deep Creek Loop trail and you’ll find the second waterfall another half-mile in. You can return the way you came, but the descent is steep and slippery. The trail is much more challenging and unless you’re experienced at hiking in the dark, you could easily injure yourself. The John Rock Trail loops back to Cat Gap, from where you can continue back the way you came. Another hiking horror story I’ll someday write is the time I drove 20 miles on empty after getting horribly lost in the back roads in the Black Mountains. Before we dive in to the best short hiking trails near Asheville, let’s go over a few of the basics. Then, continue another mile along the flat low-elevation trail to reach the start of the loop. Plus, you can see the fire tower at the top the whole way. Easy hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville. Hikes with views within 30 minutes of Asheville, Re: Hikes with views within 30 minutes of Asheville, Get answers to your questions about Asheville, Suggested stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Visiting the Biltmore Estate - Trip reports, InterContinental (IHG) Hotels in Asheville, Hotels with Complimentary Breakfast in Asheville, Hotels near Western North Carolina Nature Center. This is where you’ll find most of the Asheville area’s best waterfall hikes, as well as some of the most beautiful low-elevation forest in the country. In the summer, it’s a popular swimming destination. Easy hikes near Asheville NC: Frequently Asked Questions, Easy hikes in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, Easy hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville, Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway: Easy Asheville hike, Easy hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville, How to hike the Bearwallow Mountain Trail near Asheville, NC, Easy hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Final thoughts on the best easy hikes near Asheville, NC. Black Balsam Knob is the best sunrise/sunset spot in the region. The Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville has a completely different character than the southern section. (It’s been 5 years since I last went there.). Keep an eye out for smaller waterfalls on the left side of the trail. 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