The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic national parkway stretching for 469 miles, winding through the lush forests, rolling mountains, and panoramic vistas of North Carolina and Virginia. Within an hour’s drive from Asheville, there are dozens if not hundreds of hikes that showcase the Parkway’s Western North Carolina beauty. This is your guide to Blue Ridge Parkway hikes within one hour of Asheville, North Carolina.
Craggy Pinnacle Trail
Located just 20 miles from Asheville, the Craggy Gardens Trail offers an enchanting adventure through a high-elevation rhododendron forest. During late spring and early summer, the trail is adorned with vibrant pink and purple blooms, creating a fairy-tale-like setting. The moderate 1.4-mile hike leads to the summit of Craggy Pinnacle, rewarding hikers with 360-degree panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Asheville skyline.
Linville Falls Trail
Around 55 miles from Asheville, the Linville Falls Trail is a must-visit destination along the Parkway. This moderate 1.6-mile hike guides you through lush woodlands, leading to the majestic Linville Falls. As the cascading water plunges into the rugged gorge below, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views from various vantage points. For those seeking a longer and more challenging hike, continue to the Plunge Basin Overlook and Erwins View Trail to witness even more breathtaking scenes.
Mount Mitchell Trail
Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, can be accessed via a 34-mile drive from Asheville. This strenuous 5.6-mile hike offers a rewarding challenge to hiking enthusiasts. As you ascend through diverse ecosystems, including spruce-fir forests, you’ll experience a drastic change in temperature and vegetation. Upon reaching the summit, standing at an impressive 6,684 feet, you’ll be awe-struck by the commanding views of the surrounding mountains. For those wanting a shorter experience, you can park near the summit and enjoy a short, steep paved walk to the top.
Looking Glass Rock Trail
Situated approximately 35 miles from Asheville, the Looking Glass Rock Trail provides a thrilling experience for intermediate and advanced hikers. Covering 6.2 miles round trip, this hike takes you through dense forests before ascending to the exposed rock face of Looking Glass Rock. The breathtaking panoramic views from the summit include the Pisgah National Forest and the iconic Looking Glass Falls below, making the effort worthwhile. Other nearby hikes include John Rock, Pink Beds, and the Art Loeb trails.
Graveyard Fields Loop Trail
About 45 miles from Asheville, the Graveyard Fields Loop Trail treats hikers to a mesmerizing journey through a unique landscape filled with blueberry bushes and wildflowers. This moderate 3.2-mile loop trail leads to two stunning waterfalls, Upper Falls and Second Falls, offering the perfect spots for relaxation and rejuvenation. The name “Graveyard Fields” originates from the tree stumps that resemble gravestones, a testament to a long-ago forest fire that transformed the area. You can also enjoy a shorter walk to the Lower Falls to round out a fantastic day.
Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain Loop Trail
Around 50 miles from Asheville, this 5.1-mile loop trail offers a stunning high-elevation adventure. Hikers will be treated to expansive grassy balds with unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains. The iconic Black Balsam Knob is a favorite spot for watching the sunrise or sunset, providing an unforgettable experience atop the world. Want to have a shorter, but still fairly strenuous, experience? Hike an out-and-back option to Black Balsam Knob and back!
Crabtree Falls Trail
Located approximately 40 miles from Asheville, the Crabtree Falls Trail is a moderate 2.5-mile hike leading to the mesmerizing 70-foot Crabtree Falls. The cascading waters provide a refreshing ambiance, and numerous viewpoints along the way make for excellent photo opportunities. The hike is equally charming during the fall season when the surrounding foliage transforms into a vibrant tapestry of colors.
Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower Trail
About 50 miles from Asheville, the Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower Trail is a short and sweet hike perfect for families or those seeking a leisurely walk. The 1.5-mile round trip leads to an old fire tower, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Pisgah National Forest and the distant mountain ranges.
Mount Pisgah Trail
Approximately 25 miles from Asheville, the Mount Pisgah Trail offers a moderately challenging 2.6-mile hike to the summit of Mount Pisgah. The trail begins near the Pisgah Inn and winds through a diverse forest of oak, hickory, and pine trees. As you ascend, the path becomes steeper, but the effort is well worth it once you reach the top. At the summit, hikers are treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Pisgah National Forest and the distant peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Waterrock Knob Trail
Located just 40 miles from Asheville, the Waterrock Knob Trail offers a 1.2-mile hike to one of the most spectacular overlooks on the Parkway. The trail is relatively short but quite steep, rewarding hikers with breathtaking vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The scenic beauty combined with the accessible location makes it a popular spot for both sunrise and sunset enthusiasts.
The Blue Ridge Parkway serves as a gateway to unforgettable hiking experiences near Asheville. Each trail presents its own charm and beauty, ensuring hikers a unique and memorable adventure in deep nature. From the delicate blooms of Craggy Gardens to the commanding heights of Mount Mitchell, these hikes provide an opportunity to connect with the natural world, leaving visitors with cherished memories and a sense of awe. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and let the Blue Ridge Parkway lead you to extraordinary destinations where the wonders of nature await. Happy hiking!