12 Beautiful Hikes near Asheville Including waterfalls 

The area surrounding Asheville really is a mecca for all hiking enthusiasts. No matter your ability, there is a hike for you. You could traverse some spectacular mountains, take in 360-degree views, stroll through flower-filled meadows and venture through thick forests. The options are endless, but chances are you will pass a good few waterfalls along the way.

The Blue Ridge Mountains provide a hikers’ paradise, so it can be hard to work out which hike is best when looking to go hiking near Asheville including waterfalls. I have put together a list of some of the most popular hikes near Asheville to make the decision that little bit easier.

Catawba Falls Trail

Length: 2.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: The grand finale of the Catawba Falls

Picture ice-cold, clear water tumbling through lush forest. The Catawba River is one of the most scenic rivers in the Pisgah National Forest. You really do get a lot of bang for your buck on this hike as there are seemingly endless waterfalls to discover as you make your way over the moss-covered rocks and wild surroundings. 

After crossing the stream several times, you will soon reach the final Catawba Falls, the biggest and most impressive on the route, rushing over multiple tiers into the pool below.

Bridal Veil Falls

Length: 4.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: Lake Julia, High Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls

Set in the midst of the impressively moody DuPont State Forest sits Bridal Veil Falls, reached by a winding 4.6-mile hike that’s almost as impressive as the waterfall itself. The waterfalls are huge, tumbling in two tiers, the second fall tumbling in a veil-like structure over a large rocky sheet.

As it is a longer hike, you are much more likely to get this little slice of waterfall heaven to yourself, with easy views from the observation deck. Along the route, you’ll also pass the large Lake Julia, and you will cross a covered bridge that sits just above the huge High Falls as a little bonus. 

Crabtree Falls Trail

Length: 2.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: The huge Crabtree Falls

Just off of the Blueridge Parkway, discover one of North Carolina’s most impressive waterfalls via this 2.7-mile trip. Although the waterfall is the real highlight here, to reach it, the hike through the thick forest will immerse you in nature as soon as you step into the trees. 

If you time it just right, then you’ll be able to experience the valley filled with wildflowers and rhododendron, and let us just tell you this isn’t a sight you’ll forget in a hurry. Once you reach the base of the huge waterfall of Crabtree Falls you will forget all about the climb that it took to reach it.

DuPont State Forest Trails & Waterfalls

Length: 4.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: Triple Falls, High Falls, and Hooker Falls

Get three in one with this incredibly scenic hike through the DuPont State Forest. The Little River that runs through the park creates a waterfall lover’s paradise, with the water playfully hopping and jumping over the rocky riverbed. 

The trail firstly stops at High Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in the park. After taking in the vastness of this cascading water, the route then takes you down through the forest to Triple Falls, before finally reaching Hooker Falls. This is a great spot to cool down with a dip in the pool at the waterfall’s base. This is a relatively long hike. With lots of ups and downs, with a few scrambles, so may not be suitable for those that are not used to hiking but is the ideal option when looking to go hiking near Asheville including waterfalls. 

Daniel Ridge Falls Loop

Length: 4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: Daniel Ridge Falls

Although there are many waterfalls in the area, Daniel Ridge has to be one of the more impressive. It helps that it is towering 150 feet tall, and is actually one of the lesser-visited in the area. The hike follows a picturesque trail next to the Davidson River, and is open to both hikers and mountain bikers. 

It is a fairly rough track upstream, with lots of rocks and branches for about a mile, before emerging from the forest and heading through some beautiful open meadows. 

There is also the option of going straight to the waterfall and back at 0.5 miles each way, perfect if you are short on time but still want that impressive waterfall shot.

Moore Cove Falls Trail

Length: 1.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: Walking behind the waterfall, wooden bridges

The Moore Cove Falls Trail is short and sweet, but gives you the rare opportunity to actually head behind the waterfall once you reach it. Located in the Pisgah National Forest, this is the perfect one for kids and those with all hiking abilities thanks to the boardwalks and wooden bridges that make this an easy walk. At a 50 foot plunge, this may not be the biggest in the area but is a lot of fun, and a perfect hike if you are short on time.

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

Length: 3.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: Views, colorful flowers

Graveyard Fields are beautiful no matter the season, but especially so in the summer when the flowers are in full bloom. In June, a path surrounded by rhododendrons will take you to a viewing platform with incredible vistas. 

There are a few small waterfalls scattered along the trail after passing the viewing platform, but for a change, it is not the waterfalls that are the highlight of the hike, it is the meadows. With incredible views, bright flowers, and plenty of options for blueberry picking on the route, it is the perfect place to spend the afternoon. Come early in the day in August, and you’ll be able to pick enough to have blueberry pie for days.

Hawksbill Mountain Trail

Length: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: Incredible views

Short but steep, the hike up Hawksbill Mountain will have your legs burning, but the views make it all worthwhile. From the lofty peak, you’ll have incredible views of Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, with the Linville River snaking below you. Although it is only a 1.5 mile roundtrip, you will be gaining around 700 feet in elevation, so this is not one to be taken lightly. 

The longer you walk, the rockier and steeper the trail gets. Once you have made it to the top, there are a few options for exploring the summit, but we think the trail on the right offers the best views!

Log Hollow Falls Trail 

Length: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: 2 impressive waterfalls, fewer crowds

At just a mile round trip, Log Hollow Falls is the perfect short jaunt if you want to stretch your legs surrounded by beautiful nature. You’ll be hiking through the Pisgah National Forest, and is very easy as for the most part you will follow a service road that is no longer open to vehicle access.

Most hikers will just reach the 25-foot drop of Log Hollow Falls and turn around, but if you can carry on going for just another quarter of a mile, you’ll be greeted with a bonus unnamed 80-foot waterfall which you will likely have all to yourself. Surprisingly, the views are the best in the winter as the is no tree coverage, but be aware the road is usually closed between January and March.

Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower Trail

Length: 1.5 miles 
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: Views, pet friendly

The views from the Frying Pan Mountain Lookout Tower will take your breath away, but you have got to get there first. This short hike can be reached from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and at only 1.5 miles, the view is totally worth the walk. The hike follows a gravel road to the mountain’s summit, so there is a steady elevation gain involved, but the views and surrounding wildflowers will help to take your mind off of the leg burn.

Once you reach the tower, you will be able to climb 5 flights of stairs just under the top of the highest platform and admire the incredible views of Looking Glass Rock, Mount Pisgah, and Cold Mountain. The tower was originally built as a fire lookout tower. Dogs are allowed on this trail, so bring your furry friend along for the trip as well.

Glassy Mountain Trail

Length: 1.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: History, views, shorter climbs

Reach the highest point in the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site on the Glassy Mountain Trail. Pick up a trail map from a park ranger and set off on your adventure, following the path up from the parking lot towards the lake on the property.

Not only is the hike beautifully scenic, but you can also build up a bit of historical knowledge as you go. Along the way, you will pass historic barns and the old house of Carl Sandburg the author. The trail officially starts just behind the house and is wooded and well maintained the entire way, but be prepared for a bit of a climb! Once you reach the peak, take in the views that surround you, and even stop for a picnic if you have the time. Sure, this mountain might not be as impressive as others in the state, but it provides a great starting point for those just starting mountain climbing.

Black Balsam Knob Trail 

Length: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: Wildflowes, incredible views,

Hiking the trail up to Black Balsam Knob is almost a right of passage if you think of yourself as a true Asheville hiker. If you time it right, you’ll be able to see nearly the whole mountain, almost entirely covered in wildflowers. 

The trail gets its name from the Balsam tree that you will find all along your hike, scattering its needles underfoot. After coming out of the trees, the ridgeline and expanse of the mountain top will show themselves, and no matter which way you turn your head, you won’t be able to escape the incredible views. 

You have reached 6000 feet at the summit, so it’s hardly surprising that the panorama in front of you is breathtaking. The hike is so popular is it offers these beautiful views with minimal effort, as the hike is easy and accessible for almost all hiking abilities.

Frequently asked questions for Hiking around Asheville

What is the best time and months for hiking here?

The most popular time for hiking near Asheville is the summer months, from April to September. This is when access tends to be easier, there are better views, and the weather should be a lot better. Months of March and November are shoulder season, which means the temperature is a little cooler, and the trails are not so busy.

What do you need to pack for the hikes?

What you pack depends on the time of year you are visiting. If you’re planning a trip in the summer months, then you are going to need a base layer, hiking boots, and you should still probably bring with you a raincoat. In the winter, you will want more layers, so think of a base layer, plus mid-layers of long-sleeved tops and trousers, and warm gloves and socks. Waterproof boots, a hat, ear coverings, and an insulated winter jacket should keep you warm.

A small backpack for your phone, water, keys, and maps is always helpful.

Is the area famous for any wildlife?

Asheville is full of wildlife of all shapes and sizes. If you are lucky, you might be able to see red-tailed hawks circling the skies, red squirrels in the trees, elks rustling in the undergrowth, and maybe even a black bear or two.

How many waterfalls are there near Asheville?

Asheville is not called the ‘Land of the Waterfalls’ for nothing. You will find literally hundreds of waterfalls scattering the landscape around Asheville, so it can be tricky trying to find out which ones to explore. Let’s just say, and whichever you pick, you will not be disappointed.

Can you hike in Asheville in the winter?

It is possible to hike in Asheville in the winter, but it will provide a very different experience to summer hikes. There will be much fewer hikers hitting the trails, which can be a huge plus, and cooler temperatures. However, the forests will not be at their fullest, and you are likely to come up against some tricky weather conditions sometimes.

Conclusion/ Final Thoughts  

With so many opportunities to go hiking near Asheville including waterfalls, you will be returning to Asheville again and again to try out another trail or climb another of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As one of the most popular mountain towns in the South, Asheville provides the perfect base for some exploration, so don those hiking boots and get out there and explore the stunning terrain of the Pisgah National Forest and beyond

Emily Winters

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