Top 10 Quick Hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville


Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway by exploring some of its 100 hiking trails. There’s a big variety of hikes, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous climbs. “Since finding the perfect day hike that offers plenty of mountain scenery can be a challenge, we created the Top 10 Quick Parkway Hikes,” says Mark File, Editor of RomanticAsheville.com Travel Guide for Asheville, North Carolina. ”

All of these hiking trails are easy to find and less than four miles, while providing plenty of reward for all fitness levels.” For a full page guide with photos of each hike, go to http://www.romanticasheville.com. The list covers 120 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, starting from the north near Grandfather Mountain and working south:

1. Rough Ridge: This unique hike offers plenty of viewpoints and a wooden boardwalk over fragile vegetation. The one-mile climb to the summit features many rock outcrops along the way to enjoy the views of Grandfather Mountain, Linn Cove Viaduct and mountain ranges in several directions. Milepost 303

2. Beacon Heights: This one-mile roundtrip hike has a big pay-off with spectacular views from a smooth rock face. Since it’s a short climb, it’s great spot to take along your picnic! Milepost 305

3. Linville Falls: See five viewpoints of the most photographed waterfall in North Carolina via two trails that begin at the Visitors’ Center. Only one of the trails is strenuous and you can hike to all viewpoints with a four-mile hike. Milepost 316

4. Crabtree Falls: A 2.5-mile easy loop trail in the Crabtree Meadows Recreation Area takes you to a beautiful 70-foot waterfall. Milepost 340

5. Mt. Mitchell: Since you can drive almost to the summit of the highest point east of the Rockies, a short paved trail takes you to the observation deck at the peak. The best hike at Mount Mitchell is the Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig (the second highest peak in Eastern USA). The two-mile roundtrip hike through a lush forest includes a good bit of climbing, but it is not overly strenuous. Since you stay above 6,000 feet in elevation, it is always around 15-20 degrees cooler than in the city of Asheville. Milepost 355

6. Craggy Gardens: There are two great, easy hikes here. The 1.5-roundtrip trail to the top of Craggy Pinnacle Trail provides exceptional 360-degree mountain views. The Craggy Gardens Trail runs from the south end of the Visitor Center Parking area to the north end of the Picnic Area and crosses a rhododendron bald. Milepost 364

7. Mt. Pisgah: This is the highest peak visible from downtown Asheville. The popular three-mile roundtrip trail to the 5,721-foot summit is strenuous. But you can reward yourself with a hearty meal at the nearby Pisgah Inn afterwards! Milepost 407

8. Graveyard Fields: This very popular hiking spot features two waterfalls in a mild-high valley filled with wildflowers and surrounded by Blue Ridge Mountains with 6,000-foot peaks. The Graveyard Fields Loop is about four miles. Milepost 419

9. Black Balsam Knob: For sweeping 360-degree views that lasts for miles along a trail, roam the bald mountaintops. Almost entirely devoid of trees above 6,000 feet, the summits are more reminiscent of New England than North Carolina. Milepost 420

10. Devil’s Courthouse: This short but strenuous trail climbs a half mile to the peak for panoramic views from the 5,720-foot peak. Its “devilish” look has created many folk tales to enjoy. Milepost 422

For more hiking trails near Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, see the Top 40 Hikes around Asheville at http://www.romanticasheville.com/hiking.html.

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One thought on “Top 10 Quick Hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville

  1. Really proficient post. Theoretically I could write something like this too, but taking the time and effort to make a good article is a lot of effort…but what can I say….I’m a procrastinater. Good read though.

    Like

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