Winter is a romantic time to visit Asheville. The last leaves have fallen, the expansive views open up, and the sunsets' golden glow is breathtaking as you wrap up a day of hiking or biking. It's generally less crowded in Asheville and Black Mountain during the wintertime (except for holidays and some weekends) so you can get quicker access to the area's many breweries and acclaimed restaurants and get back to your mountain cabin to cozy up around a warm fireplace and escape the winter winds.
Visitors frequently ask "will there be snow?!" (Believe us, we love it as much as you do). Some years, we get more snow than other years in the mountains of Asheville, but in general, if it snows, we usually only know a few days ahead of time. Most years, you can expect cold temperatures at night and then most days will warm up to nearly 50 degrees, sometimes higher.
Winter is also a great time to snag a deal on a vacation rental or cabin since there are generally fewer visitors.
Things to do in Asheville in winter
- Skiing and snow tubing. There are a variety of seasonal ski and tubing locations within an hour or so of the Asheville area, making this a great area to enjoy the culture, hiking, food and brews of Asheville and then make a day trip for skiing. The closest location for ski activities is Wolf Ridge Ski Resort and then Sugar Mountain Ski Resort and Beech Mountain Ski Resort will add 30 minutes to your commute.
- Wolf Ridge Ski Resort's season (typically) runs from the beginning of December to mid-March. They've opened as early as Thanksgiving and closed as late as mid-April. Real-time updates are available here.
- Sugar Mountain Ski Resort's season (typically) runs from Thanksgiving to end of March. More here.
- Beech Mountain Ski Resort aims to open by Thanksgiving as well. You can check the status of ski trails here.
- If you are in the area in early winter, you can enjoy Christmas decorations at the Biltmore House up until January 7th, and the house itself is open 365 days a year.
- Spend some time in downtown Asheville or downtown Black Mountain and enjoy shopping, farm-to-table restaurants, and area's many breweries.
- Winter is a great time to enjoy the area's over 100 art galleries and area studios and escape the cold.
- Why not take advantage of the smaller crowds, and expansive views and get outside on a hike. Our winter hiking guide covers some of the best and most accessible trails during the winter months.
Other Asheville Winter Events and Activities
In addition to popular early winter holiday events like The National Gingerbread Competition, Christmas at Biltmore and Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum, Asheville's winter months are filled with other ways to get fully immersed in the area's culture, art, beer, and food, and outdoor activities including:
- Asheville Restaurant Week - this tasty January tradition includes a whole week of fixed prices at over 30 restaurants for (usually) preset menu options so that you can sample some of the best tastes in Asheville for lunch or dinner.
- Visit Asheville's South Slope - breweries are not in short supply in Asheville, and Asheville's South Slope has nearly 10 breweries that are located within a few blocks of one another near Coxe Avenue. This area is a great spot to enjoy winter beer exploration with a quick walk between breweries.
- Ring in the New Year in Asheville while enjoying all that this wonderful city has to offer.
- Asheville's temperatures allow for year-round hiking. Average temperatures dip down into the 20s at night, and days typically get up into the 50s, affording a great opportunity to bundle up and take in some beautiful sights. Many hiking spots are located off of the Blue Ridge
Parkway, which can sometimes close for some of the winter months, so we recommend keeping an eye on the Blue Ridge Parkway's real-time closure map before heading out on your adventure. Other great hikes are easily accessible year-round, including Catawba Falls, Montreat area hikes, Bear Wallow Mountain, and Linville Gorge. Take a look at our hiking page for even more recommendations.
- Asheville is known as an artistic city, and galleries are not limited to the downtown sector's 30+ art galleries. There are also some wonderful galleries in historic Biltmore Village and Asheville's River Arts District which is home to nearly 200 artists with studios in 20+ historic buildings. Spend of your winter vacation getting in touch with Asheville's art culture.
Winter safety for your Asheville vacation
Believe it or not, average annual snowfall in Asheville is about 13 inches, and never more than 16 inches. Snow doesn't typically hinder vacation plans as our road crews work diligently to keep roads clear and passable when snow is in the forecast. With that being said, it's good
to be aware that the temperature does frequently drop below freezing at night and then warms up above freezing on the majority of winter days as this can cause icy spots in the early morning that generally melt with a couple hours of sunshine.
Other ways you can plan for your Asheville winter getaway includes:
- Arrive at your rental for the first time during daylight hours. We recommend doing this in more private vacation rental locations year-round, but it's especially advisable during the winter months.
- If your rental home has a steep driveway, we recommend shifting your vehicle into a lower gear and slowly descending. Avoid hard braking in icy conditions.
- While not necessary, (unless your specific rental has a note about it), if you have a 4WD or AWD vehicle, it's a great idea to bring this for vacations between the months of December and March.
- Bring multiple layers of clothing for the winter months including warm layers. This especially helpful if you plan to hike so that you have warmer layers available, but can also take layers off as you warm up.
- We highly recommend travel insurance for winter stays. Weather can be unpredictable and protecting your vacation is really worth the small investment in most cases.