5 Great Places to Take a Walk in Asheville
By Jason Tarr
Clear your head and stretch your legs at one of Asheville's many parks and greenways. Many of these green spaces are just minutes from the bustling downtown areas in Asheville and Black Mountain, meaning you won't have to go far for a nice walk.
Less than 10 minutes north of downtown Asheville, you'll find an urban oasis. The 10-acre Asheville Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina at Asheville provides a half-mile loop trail that highlights 600 species of plants native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Many times, you'll see students here writing in journals, people doing yoga or kids playing in the creek.
Situated along the French Broad River, Carrier Park is the city’s largest public park. The 32-acre park has trails and river overlooks in addition to volleyball courts, sports fields and a picnic pavilion. Dogs are welcome on the trails and in the dog park at the connected French Broad River Park. Carrier Park is also home to the Velodrome, a bicycle racing track. In 2018, the city completed improvements to the track including resurfacing and new lighting. There is a good amount of free parking in the large lots.
The Reed Creek Greenway connects the historic Montford Neighborhood to the trails at the University of North Carolina – Asheville. The Greenway is less than five minutes drive from downtown Asheville. At a little less than one mile each way (.7 miles), the Reed Creek Greenway makes the perfect place for a quick walk or jog. This paved path is also used by bicyclists.
Just two miles from downtown Asheville, the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary offers a great place to see resident and migratory birds. The 10-acre sanctuary features a nearly half-mile boardwalk with two lake overlooks and benches where you can relax. The area is managed by a chapter of the National Audubon, the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society. Go for a guided bird walk at 8 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month (April through September). There is lot on site that offers free parking. Because this is a wildlife sanctuary, no pets are allowed.
Soak in the views of the Seven Sisters Mountains as you take a stroll at Lake Tomahawk Park in nearby Black Mountain. The park features a level half-mile walking trail around the lake. There are benches along the way perfect for a rest or to watch the birds on the lake. Lake Tomahawk is pet friendly (on leash). The park is just a couple miles from downtown Black Mountain, home to variety of local shops and restaurants.