You don't have to drive hours to access hiking trails while in the Asheville area. Many hikes are located within minutes of both Black Mountain and Asheville's city center. The hikes we have listed below are a 45 minute drive or less.
Asheville Urban Trail
One of the closest trails to downtown Asheville, the Asheville Urban Trail, is actually located in downtown Asheville and is a 1.7 roundtrip walk around downtown. This free, self-guided tour is an exploration of Asheville's history, architecture, and art through stops at 30 stations that include statues and plaques. ]
A 30-minute drive from downtown, north on the Blue Ridge Parkway, will bring you to the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center. From here, you can head towards the Craggy Pinnacle Trail for a 1.5-mile roundtrip hike or the Craggy Gardens Trail which is located closer to the picnic area. The Craggy Pinnacle Trail is located a little past the Visitor Center if you're headed North on the Parkway, and the Picnic area is located before the Visitor Center if you are headed North on the Parkway. Here is a helpful map of the area from RomanticAsheville.com.
Fryingpan Mountain Tower
Fryingpan Mountain Tower, located at Milepost 409.6 off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is 40 minutes from Asheville and is a 1.5-mile roundtrip hike to a 70-foot tower that was built in 1941. The USFS lookout tower that was built to watch for fires, has panoramic views and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The trailhead is located at Forest Service Road 450.
Mt. Pisgah's 5721-foot summit is accessible from
Milepost 407.6 off the Blue Ridge Parkway beside a large picnic area. The 1.5-mile hike is an easy 45-minute drive from downtown Asheville down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Shining Rock Wilderness, Cold
Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains and Mount Mitchell are visible from the summit.
If you're hiking sometime between April and October, Pisgah Inn and Restaurant will be open and is a great place to grab a meal or a drink and enjoy panoramic views.
If you are staying closer to the Montreat or Black Mountain area, hiking options abound in this area as well! From downtown Black Mountain, a less than 10-minute drive will bring you to the trails of Montreat.
The Montreat wilderness and trails are part of the Montreat Conference Center's private property and include a network of over 20 trails and have connecting trails that lead over to the Ridgecrest Conference Center, and even up to Mt. Mitchell, the tallest mount east of the Mississippi River via the Old Mitchell Toll Road. Here are a few of our favorite hikes in Montreat. Click here for full access to a map and descriptions.
- Lookout Trail - If you've ever been to Montreat, you've likely hiked up to exposed rocks of the summit of Lookout Mountain which has views of Montreat and the Seven Sisters. This popular hike, with a little over half a mile of distance to cover each way, is accessible from the top of Lookout Road.
- Greybeard Trail - Greybeard trail (conveniently located at the top of Greybeard Trail Road) heads to the top of Greybeard Realty and Greybeard Rentals' namesake, Greybeard Mountain, the tallest mountain in Montreat. The hike varies in difficulty but would be considered a moderate (but long) hike. As you can imagine, it takes some time to gain elevation to reach the top of a 5,408-foot summit. It would be good to allow half a day for this 6.5-mile round-trip hike. If you're headed to summit Greybeard, make sure to pull off at Walker's Knob Trail, a .16 trail that branches off of Greybeard Trail and leads to a hiking shelter and stunning views of the Montreat valley.
- Big Piney Ridge Trail - This 3-mile roundtrip hike is STEEP but rewarding with views of Black Mountain and the Swannanoa Valley. Big Piney's trailhead is located at the end of Suwannee Drive, off of Greybeard Trail road. The first half includes winding moderate switchbacks and then transitions to steep uphill and then back to moderate hiking as you near the ridgeline and make your way to the summit of Rattlesnake Rock.