Stories by Joanne O'Sullivan

26 Stories Posts
Joanne O'Sullivan Headshot

Joanne O’Sullivan lived and traveled on three continents before settling in Asheville. She served as the Asheville correspondent for VisitSouth.com, RootsRated.com and writes for the Asheville Citizen-Times, WNC Magazine and other publications. On the weekends, she can be found exploring the great outdoors around Asheville with her family.

Couple Hiking

Asheville Hiking Guide: The Trail Starts Here

Choose Your Own Adventure Thousands of miles of trails twist, meander, dip and climb through the peaks and valleys around Asheville. In this world-class hiking destination, you can take your pick from peaceful hikes along mountain streams and technical scrambles up steep terrain; hikes that are short and sweet and multi-day adventures. Some hikes give you a view into the region’s past, and

Hooker Falls in Fall

Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls Hike

One hike, three of the region’s best waterfalls Dupont State Forest is the best place to discover why Brevard and Transylvania County is called “The Land of the Waterfalls.” Get a sampler of some of the area’s wonderful waterfalls with a (mostly) easy hike to Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls. Accessible enough for kids, the trails that connect the falls are scenic

Black Balsam Hike

Sam Knob at Black Balsam Trail

Hike to views that will make your heart sing An alternative to the popular Black Balsam Knob hike that can be accessed from the same parking lot off the Blue Ridge Parkway , Sam Knob will win your heart with high mountain meadows and long-range wilderness views that rival any in the region. What To Expect When you arrive in the Black Balsam parking lot, you’ll see a sign for Sam Knob to the

Riverside Cemetery in Fall

Riverside Cemetery Hike

A stroll through Asheville history Designed in 1885 in the park-like Victorian style, Riverside Cemetery is the final resting place of some of Asheville’s most prominent citizens, including Thomas Wolfe.  Set on 87 shady acres, Riverside is a walk through Asheville’s past on smooth, paved trails, past over a dozen family mausoleums and impressive statuary. Stroll through this

Rainbow Falls in Gorges State Park

Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Hike

A hidden-gem waterfall hike in a lush forest The Horsepasture River thunders down a 125-foot drop spraying up a mist that creates rainbows that sparkle in the sunlight. This magical sight can be seen at Rainbow Falls in Gorges State Park , one of the best Western North Carolina waterfall hikes. What To Expect Gorges State Park is located on the Blue Ridge Escarpment, where the mountains end and

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls Hike

Hollywood-worthy waterfalls make for family fun and great picnics Fans of The Hunger Games and Last of the Mohicans were introduced to Bridal Veil Falls in Dupont State Forest on the silver screen. Hikers can easily take in the view, too, with this easy, scenic stroll through the woods. With plenty of exposed rock around the falls, this is a great picnic spot. What To Expect There are many ways to

Moore Cove Falls

Moore Cove Falls Trail

Walk behind a magical waterfall on this family-friendly hike This enchanting trail in Pisgah National Forest is an ideal introduction to hiking for families with younger kids. An easy .7 mile trail with wooden bridges, steps and boardwalks ends in a 50-foot plunge waterfall over a dramatic rock ledge. Kids love the fact that they can walk under the ledge and be behind the waterfall! What To Expect

Max Patch Sunrise

Max Patch Trail

Play, picnic or practice yoga on this Appalachian bald Max Patch is a “bald,” the Southern Appalachian name for a hilltop without a single tree.  While this mountain isn’t naturally bald (it was cleared for grazing in the nineteenth century), it’s certainly naturally beautiful. Some call it “the crown jewel of the Appalachian Trail ,” the famous footpath

Lover's Leap in Fall

Lover’s Leap Loop Trail

A taste of the Appalachian Trail in Hot Springs Taking its name from a local legend, the Lover’s Leap Trail in Hot Springs offers a bird’s eye view of the French Broad River and the mountains beyond it. Following the Appalachian Trail for a stretch, you’ll hike to a series of rock outcroppings where you can enjoy the view, a picnic and a breather from the somewhat strenuous hike.

Looking Glass & Parkway in Fall

Looking Glass Rock Trail

Looking for a challenge? Earn your view from the top in Pisgah National Forest Looking Glass Rock is a white-granite “pluton” (igneous rock), rising to nearly 4,000 feet from the floor of Pisgah National Forest . Visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway , Mt. Pisgah and even the Black Balsam, it’s hugely popular with both hikers and rock climbers, especially during winter when