Local Favorites: Top 9 Hikes in Asheville, NC - Compass Land and Real Estate

Local Favorites: Top 9 Hikes in Asheville, NC

Photo by Kolin Toney

Ashville boasts over 3,000 miles of free, public area hiking trails which draw visitors from all over the world. There are some that are best kept secrets and local favorites. Land buyers look to Asheville for many reasons, and if hiking is one of your’s these are the hikes you need add to your to-do list and maybe even look for your dream property near.

1.) Looking Glass Rock

The view from Looking Glass Rock – Osajus

This 3.2 mile trail is a local favorite. Found on Forest Service Rd 475 it is a fun challenge for all hiking enthusiasts.

“The panoramic views will help any hiker quickly forget about the burning quads from the hike to the summit. Trust us, if you can make it up there, it will be worth it! This well maintained, and well-trodden path begins just outside of Brevard, NC. The trail gains a total of 1,700 vertical feet on its way to the 4,000’ summit of Looking Glass.”

2.) Crabtree Falls

Photo by Matthew Blouir

There is no doubt North Carolina wildflowers are a favorite of locals. This trail is sure to amaze with it’s amazing bloom of wildflowers in the spring and early summer. This trail is a 2.4 mile loop that local hikers enjoy time and time again. 

“This trail begins with a series of switchbacks, gently descending to the base of its namesake falls: a wispy white curtain of water cascading over a 70 foot beehive of dark rock. The remaining 1.5 miles climb out of the enchanted forest through creeks and over split-log bridges.” 

3.) Max Patch

Locals love the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and and the section that winds through Max Patch Mountain is a great afternoon hike where on a clear day you can see some amazing views, as far as the Great Smoky Mountains.

“This 4,600-ft. bald mountain was cleared and used as pasture in the 1800s. Today, it’s a 350-acre tract of open land on a high knob with 360-degree views. It’s one of the most spectacular settings you’ll experience in the Blue Ridge.

4.) Old Mitchell Trail

Photo by Kolin Toney

This trail leads right to the summit of Mt. Mitchell taking hikers to the higher peak East of the Mississippi. Once at the peak, locals enjoy relaxing and taking in the amazing views. Perfect for a picnic!

“There are many options that lead to the top, and Old Mitchell is a classic: a four-mile loop with an out and back extension to the summit, and every step is above 6,000 feet! To reach the top and be engulfed in a world of rippled Appalachian peaks, standing high above them all, is an experience that no hiker should miss.” 

5.) Hawksbill Mountain Hike


Perfect for locals looking for a quick nature fix, this short 1.5 mile hike is the perfect hike to catch some amazing panoramic views of Linville Gorge Wilderness Area.

“The 360-degree views from the top are some of the most spectacular you’ll find in the North Carolina mountains. There are several great vantage points on the summit. Look east into the Piedmont, north to Grandfather Mountain or southwest to Mt. Mitchell.”

6.) The Grandfather Trail

Photo by Kolin Toney

This challenging 2.4 mile trail is perfect for those that buy land in North Carolina because of their passion for hiking. Grandfather Mountain has multiple peaks making it a great workout on your way to even greater views.

“At times, the Grandfather Trail may feel more like an obstacle course than a hiking path. The route edges along the crest of the mountain, ducking through stunted spruce trees and skirting across exposed rock faces. The views from the first two peaks are astonishing, but the true reward lies at the top of the third and tallest summit, 5,946 ft Calloway Peak.” 

7.) Shining Rock

Photo by Steven Reinhold

The astonishing quartz rock formations that make up Shining Rock are a local favorite thanks to their amazing and unique views that visitors love. The hike to get there is filled with amazing views and stunning North Carolina wildflowers.

The Crown Jewel” of Appalachia, Shining Rock, is topped with massive quartz rock formations that will dazzle the eye’s of all visitors! View seekers are in for a treat on this ridgeline hike. Flowering plants on the grassy balds make late spring and early summer a beautiful time to visit for nature lovers.”

8.) Waterrock Knob

Photo by Patrick Mueller

The summit of Waterrock Knob is a short .5 mile hike, however, the views and additional hiking trails make it a top 9 hike. The quick hike and easy parking make it the ultimate family picnic location for locals.

“The wide, grassy meadow at the start of the summit hike may be the most dramatic locale for a family picnic on the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. To claim the best view possible, sneak past the summit onto a rock outcropping on the Southern side of the peak, and behold the lush Tuckasegee River Valley and the Nantahala National Forest spread out below, the Great Smoky Mountains unfurling into the distance.”  

9.) Craggy Gardens

Photo by Selena N. B. H.

Craggy Gardens makes the top 9 hikes list for locals due to it’s close proximity to Asheville and the amazing mountain top views. The sunset view over the Black Mountains make Craggy Gardens a romantic evening hike for local couples.

“Because of its easy access, this is a popular spot and although it’s never exactly ‘crowded,’ you won’t be alone during the summer or fall.This is a great starter trail for kids: quick, steep without being overly demanding, with a dramatic mountain top finale that’s perfect for picnics.”

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