Hiking

Mount Pisgah

Hiking the mountains of Western North Carolina

On a clear day, Mount Pisgah's 5,721-foot summit can easily be seen from downtown Asheville. Likewise, after a steep climb through hardwood forest, Asheville is clearly visible 16 miles away.

  • Length: 2.6 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: 750 feet
  • Trail Type: Out-and-back
  • Skill Level: Moderate

Directions from Asheville

  1. From downtown Asheville, take the Blue Ridge Parkway south to MP 407.6.
  2. Turn into the Mount Pisgah parking area.

What to Expect

Mount Pisgah View

Mt. Pisgah is like the Eiffel tower, probably the most recognized high point of Western North Carolina. After you see the iconic transmission tower up close and personal, you'll recognize it from other points. Just like the Eiffel Tower, it's popular and crowded, especially in sunny afternoons. However, unlike the Eiffel Tower, you can't buy a drink on top of Mt. Pisgah and you can't take an elevator.

The trail starts flat behind the large Mt. Pisgah information board. First, you're walking through rosebay and Catawba rhododendron and mountain laurel. Then the trail veers left, narrows, and goes up on log steps. At 0.8 mile, a short side trail on the right allows for your first good views to the north - layers upon layers of ridges.

The trail climbs on good rock steps through countless varieties of spring and summer flowers. Before the trail turns right at 1.1 miles, you have a good southwestern view of the prominent tower on Frying Pan Mountain.

The trail turns right to continue more steeply. Closer to the top, the trail switchbacks on log steps and you can see the tower in front of you.

Reach the observation platform. On a clear day, you can see Cold Mountain to the west, and Pisgah Inn, Looking Glass Rock and Frying Pan Mountain and Tower to the southwest. Behind you,to the north, the most prominent thing is the TV transmission tower for the local ABC affiliate.

Return the same way.

Hike by Danny Bernstein, accomplished Western N.C. hiker and author of The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina: Walking a Thousand Miles through Wildness, Culture and History. Pick up a copy of her guide in The Asheville Shop at the Asheville Visitor Center.

Find more hiking trails in the Asheville area