With more than 100 hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which ones provide the best scenery without taking a extensive trek? Here are our Top 10 Quick Parkway Hikes near Asheville, North Carolina. Peak fall color will begin in the highest elevations in early October and end in the lowest valleys by late October.
1. Rough Ridge: This unique hike features the first fall color with panoramic views of Grandfather Mountain, Linn Cove Viaduct and mountains beyond from a wooden boardwalk atop fragile vegetation. Milepost 303
2. Beacon Heights: This one-mile roundtrip hike has a big reward with spectacular views from a smooth rock face. It’s a great spot to have a picnic! Milepost 305
3. Linville Falls: See five viewpoints of the most photographed waterfall in North Carolina. Only one of the trails is strenuous, and you can hike to all observation areas with a four-mile hike. Peak fall color is usually the second week of October. Milepost 316
4. Crabtree Falls: A 2.5-mile loop woodland trail takes you to a beautiful 70-foot waterfall. Milepost 340
5. Mt. Mitchell: A short paved trail leads you to the observation deck on the summit of the highest mountain in the eastern United States. Plus, the Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig is a two-mile roundtrip hike through a fragrant alpine forest. Milepost 355
6. Craggy Gardens: The 1.5-roundtrip trail to the top of Craggy Pinnacle provides spectacular 360-degree mountain views, one of the best in North Carolina. Peak fall color is early October. Milepost 364
7. Mt. Pisgah: This is the highest mountain visible from downtown Asheville. The popular three-mile roundtrip trek to the 5,721-foot summit is strenuous. Milepost 407
8. Graveyard Fields: This mile-high meadow features two waterfalls and a four-mile loop with brilliant fall color in early October. The hiking trail is surrounded by 6,000-foot mountaintops. Milepost 419
9. Black Balsam Knob: For sweeping mountain views as you walk for miles, roam these bald mountaintops on the Art Loeb Trail in the Pisgah National Forest. Milepost 420
10. Devil’s Courthouse: This short but strenuous trail climbs a half mile for views from the 5,720-foot peak. Milepost 422
Take a jacket since temperatures and weather can change quickly. And be sure to gas up before you hit the Parkway. For a mile-by-mile vacation guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville with more hikes, picnic spots and things to do, go to http://www.romanticasheville.com/BlueRidgeParkway.htm.