Five-Star Trails-Asheville-2nd Edition  by Jennifer Pharr Davis

Five-Star Trails-Asheville-2nd Edition Guide Book

by Jennifer Pharr Davis (Menasha Ridge Press)
Five-Star Trails-Asheville-2nd Edition  by Jennifer Pharr Davis
These 35 five-star hiking trails are for all levels and interests, and they range widely in elevation, distance, and difficulty. Davis details everything from easy strolls in the deep woods to thrilling treks atop mountains. GPS-based trail maps, elevation profiles, and detailed directions to trailheads help you get to where you’re going. Trail descriptions and expert insights into the history, flora, and fauna of the routes enhance your enjoyment along the way. Ratings for scenery, difficulty, trail condition, solitude, and accessibility for children help to ensure that you quickly find the perfect trip.

© 2018 Jennifer Pharr Davis/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Five-Star Trails-Asheville-2nd Edition" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 35.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 35.

Located in Southwest Asheville near the banks of the French Broad River, the North Carolina Arboretum offers miles of beautifully maintained and gently graded trails that are well suited hikers young and old. This walking route traces the perimeter of the arboretum on scenic trails and dirt roads. The highlight of the expedition comes near the end of the trek, when the path arrives at the stunning gardens and sculptures that surround the Visitor Education Center and Baker Exhibit Center.
Asheville, NC - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 4.4
Home to breathtaking vistas and at least seven rare plant species, this preserve is managed by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) and features a fine wildflower-rich trail leading up to a grassy bald and its preeminent views. A historic but currently closed fire tower complements the scene. This is one peak nearly everyone can bag because the hike is short and fairly easy. Save this hike for a clear day and you will be well rewarded. By the way, it is a good starter “mountain climb” for younger hikers. When leaving Bearwallow Gap for the hike, be sure to join the Bearwallow Mountain Trail, rather than the Trombatore Trail across the road (although this is a worthwhile endeavor).
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
This loop takes place in the Shelton Laurel Backcountry of the Pisgah National Forest. The Jerry Miller Trail takes you to a 100-foot waterslide before opening onto Whiteoak Flats, a closing meadow. Ascend to the Appalachian Trail (AT). Walk the stony knife-edge delineating North Carolina and Tennessee. Incredible 360-degree views unveil atop Big Firescald Knob, a half mile of continuous outcrops opening into the Tar Heel State and the Volunteer State. A steep trip down Fork Ridge takes you back to the trailhead.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.2
Black Balsam Knob is a favorite destination of many Western North Carolina hikers. For sure, the views from there and from Tennent Mountain are arguably some of the best in the Southeast. You will see for yourself on this loop hike: it follows the narrow Ivestor Gap dirt road to the Shining Rock boundary and then loops back to the parking lot on the most dramatic and scenic section of the Art Loeb Trail. Several unmarked side trails lead from Black Balsam ridge; use a USGS or National Geographic map to follow them. Also, because of the high elevation and lack of tree cover, carrying sunscreen is advisable year-round.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.2
Showcasing Carl Sandburg’s homestead, this route leads around the lake at the property’s entrance, continues beside the white clapboard farmhouse, and heads up the hill for views from the exposed granite rock face on top of Glassy Mountain. The trail to the top of Glassy Mountain, the highest point on Connemara Farms, starts with a gentle warm-up loop around the 0.4-mile lake trail. To begin your hike, walk down the wheelchair ramp from the parking lot to the lake. Turn left and hike south on a dirt path that travels clockwise around the water.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
The trail to Catawba Falls has been open to the public since 2010, and it grows more popular by the day! The gradual 1.5-mile track travels upstream along the headwaters of the Catawba River. The path takes you past several ruins before approaching an old dam. Past the dam, the hike becomes more rugged. Large roots, streams, and boulders complicate the trail, but after a little bit of fancy footwork, you will be rewarded upon reaching the base of the dramatic Catawba Falls. Leave the sizable trailhead parking area on a gravel track that soon gives way to natural-surface trail. After 0.3 mile the trail crosses over the Catawba River again. There are several large rocks placed in the water that, in normal conditions, will allow you to cross with dry feet. However, be wary of slick rocks and be prepared to ford the river after recent precipitation.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
When Charles Frazier’s Civil War novel, Cold Mountain, came out in 1997 and subsequently sold more than 3 million copies, the wooded 6,000-foot mountain that casts its shadow just northwest of Asheville became known around the world. The out-and-back hike to the top of Cold Mountain starts just south of Camp Daniel Boone and climbs steadily uphill for 5 miles to the summit. There are sparse but spectacular views from the summit and a beautiful mixed hardwood forest leading to the peak. Allow a full day to reach the summit of Cold Mountain. The trailhead is just over a 1-hour drive from Asheville, so 10 hours should be allotted for this hike.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
The Cradle of Forestry is home to the first forestry school in North America and offers two interpretive trails. This hike combines both paths into a 2.2-mile figure eight. The first path, The Forest Festival Trail, teaches hikers about the plants and animals that define the surrounding habitat. The adjoining path, the Biltmore Campus Trail, takes you through the restored and reconstructed buildings that comprised the first forestry school in North America. The Cradle of Forestry is a great place to take groups of children. Call the main switchboard for group rates, educational programming, and scheduling.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
The Great Craggy Mountains feature the closest balds to Asheville, and those mountain summits reveal some of the best views in Western North Carolina. This combo hike will take you on two short out-and-back trails. On the first segment, you will follow the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) to the rhododendron-dotted summit at Craggy Gardens. Then, after a short car shuttle, the second portion of the hike sends you to the top of Craggy Pinnacle for great views of the North Fork Reservoir and neighboring Craggy Dome.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
This hike is especially well suited for those with children—and for those who are children at heart. Start at the Destination Center to learn about the Blue Ridge Parkway through educational exhibits and interactive technology. When it is time to move on to the trailhead, you will see a child-friendly sign that describes the hike and provides information and activity brochures that correspond with the ensuing 1.6-mile loop. After exploring the family-oriented Destination Center, walk to the opposite side of the parking lot to the Track Trail. There you will find an attractive sign mounted on a stone arch. The animated dog on the sign offers several tips and suggestions for children to make the most of the hike.
Asheville, NC - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 1.4
The trail to Douglas Falls weaves steadily downhill through a dense hardwood forest. After you turn off the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST), you will not cross another trail intersection or road on your journey to the falls, making this a very quiet and remote hike. You will cross several streams before reaching a grove of large boulders and a 70-foot-long rock ledge. The thin but picturesque Douglas Falls drops over the ledge into a small pool. After leaving the waterfall, the hike back to the trailhead presents an unrelenting uphill climb. It is imperative that you allow ample daylight time for completing this hike, particularly because of the tiring uphill climb on the return leg.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.6
If you like waterfalls, then you will love this hike. Within the first 1.5 miles, you will see Triple Falls and High Falls, two of the most stunning cataracts in the Southeast. Past High Falls, you will travel into the heart of Dupont State Forest to visit Bridal Veil Falls. After Bridal Veil Falls, you will then backtrack before veering east to visit Lake Imaging. After leaving the lake, you will hike to within sight of the trailhead, where you began, before completing a quick out-and-back to the final cascade, Hooker Falls. This hike can be shortened to 5.4 miles by skipping the out-and-back portion to Bridal Veil Falls.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 9
A hike through this private preserve managed by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) displays a selection of Southern Appalachian splendor as it loops along the Blue Ridge. Start with a climb along the slopes of Burntshirt Mountain (on the all-time best North Carolina place name list), and then circle through the preserve, once the retreat of a retired Atlanta doctor. While coursing through this outpost you will find wildflowers galore, so stop for a view. Wander amid regal and varied woodlands. Stop at a second outcrop and soak in another vista. The final part of the loop climbs a stream, where a pair of dissimilar cataracts provides a double dose of aquatic excitement.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.3
Graveyard Fields is one of the most popular hikes in Western North Carolina. Its expansive views, mild terrain, fall blueberries, and cascading waterfalls make it a favorite destination for hikers of varying ages and interests. The hike starts near the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Graveyard Fields Overlook. After crossing the headwaters of the Yellowstone Prong, the path travels first to Upper Falls, then retraces and continues downstream to the scenic Lower Falls (also known as Second Falls). Please make sure that no members of your party hike or play near the top of the waterfalls.
Canton, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, this out-and-back Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) section hike starts at the Folk Art Center, which serves as a convenient and easily accessible trailhead. From the Folk Art Center, you will follow the MST east and steadily uphill. The reward for hiking up the ascent is a rock overlook with beautiful views of Haw Creek Valley, Town Mountain, and East Asheville—and a downhill trek back to the trailhead. To begin the hike, locate the informational kiosk in front of the Folk Art Center. At the kiosk you will leave the paved sidewalk and walk north on a granular path. This path is part of a short nature walk that surrounds the Folk Art Center and coincides with the MST.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.8
This trail starts near the entrance of the Craggy Gardens picnic area and follows the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) briefly before veering north on the Snowball Mountain Trail. There is a short but difficult climb to the top of Snowball Mountain followed by a moderate descent down the peak’s narrow ridge. The highlight of the hike is the dramatic view from Hawkbill Rock. However, you must first overcome a challenging but enjoyable rock scramble in order to access the scenic outcrop.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
Solitude lovers will enjoy this stimulating circuit. Set in the Shelton Laurel Backcountry of the Pisgah National Forest, this hike takes you on lesser-used trails through the Hickey Fork watershed. First, ascend West Prong Hickey Fork, passing two significant waterfalls, as well as many lesser cascades, before rising to Seng Gap. Continue toward the North Carolina–Tennessee crest before breaking off, descending toward East Prong Hickey Fork. Reach a remote forest road and make an easy walk back to the trailhead. Winter views add to the trek.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
From the Pisgah Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Education Center, the route follows Cat Gap Loop Trail across Cedar Rock Creek and then travels beside the creek to reach Cedar Rock Falls. Leaving the creek, the path continues uphill and touches through multiple hemlock groves to reach John Rock Trail. After climbing over the top of John Rock you will see a marked side trail that leads to an exposed rock and panoramic overlook. Enjoy viewing the west slopes of Looking Glass Mountain and then return to the John Rock Trail and follow it downhill to rejoin Cat Gap Loop Trail and conclude the hike.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 6
This route travels through the remote southern portion of DuPont State Forest, and the ford across the Little River limits foot traffic in this area of the forest. When the leaves are off the trees, the ensuing climb of Laurel Ridge and Mine Mountain will reveal views of Pisgah National Forest to the north. The hike then wanders along the banks of Reasonover Creek to reach the shore of beautiful Lake Julia before returning to the trailhead through a hardwood forest. This hike includes a river crossing, which must be forded at the beginning and end of the hike. The route should not be attempted by those uncomfortable in water or unable to swim. In normal conditions the water depth will not exceed 1.5 feet, but water levels and current can vary dramatically based on rainfall. River shoes with good traction are recommended, as the rocks are very slick.
Asheville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
The level terrain and varied scenery on this trail make this hike ideal for families with young children. Starting at the Hardtimes Trailhead, the route follows both gravel roads and a singletrack trail to the dam at Lake Powhatan. From the dam, the path leads through a rhododendron tunnel to the beach on the north end of the lake and then to the fishing pier on the opposite shore. Then the route travels on a forest service road through towering hardwood trees back to the parking area.
Asheville, NC - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 1.6