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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

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 the

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

An Evening with the Elk

Little Cataloochee Trail

Peaceful scenery and dramatic wildlife on this historic Smokies trail For nearly a century, Big and Little Cataloochee valleys in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were home to generations of farming families. Hike past abandoned (but mostly restored) homesteads and churches that were once full of life. If you’re lucky, you’ll encounter Cataloochee’s most interesting new

Linville Gorge East Rim

Linville Gorge East Rim Trails

Something wild for the advanced hiker Called “the Grand Canyon of the East,” Linville Gorge drops 2,000 feet to the Linville River. Part of the nearly 12,000-acre Linville Gorge Wilderness, this is unspoiled country where rock climbers and backcountry campers with serious gear like to spend time in solitude. West Rim trails tend to go down into the gorge, but along the East Rim,

John Rock

John Rock Trail

A classic Pisgah hike, plus a simple nature trail for kids Pisgah National Forest is a world-class hiking destination. Among the 400+ miles of trails in the Pisgah Ranger District (there are two other districts in the 500,000-acre forest, too), the hike to John Rock is a ranger favorite. With forested trails, waterfalls and exhilarating all-season views, this hike is a classic. For families with

Graveyard Fields in Fall

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

One of Asheville’s favorite hikes, with something for everyone Waterfalls, rhododendron, fall color, summer blueberry picking and high-elevation meadows and forests: there’s a reason just about everyone who hikes near Asheville has been to Graveyard Fields. This family-friendly hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway has something for everyone and several hiking options. What To Expect When

Daniel Ridge Falls

Daniel Ridge Loop Trail

Mountain streams and mountain bikes With so many waterfalls in the Brevard area, Daniel Ridge Falls (a 150-foot cascade on Lanning Branch that’s also called Tom Spring Falls and less frequently, Jackson Falls) is often overlooked. Take advantage of its relative obscurity to have this peaceful riverside loop trail all to yourself. A mountain biker may whizz by you, but otherwise, all

MST at Craven Gap

Mountains-To-Sea-Trail at Craven Gap

A perfect point of departure from the Parkway With thousands of acres of wilderness close to Asheville, where do you start to explore? For an introduction to the splendor of mountain scenery, try Craven Gap off the Blue Ridge Parkway, just 15 minutes from downtown. It’s a hike that families can enjoy. It's also the only place a president has set foot on the Parkway: President and Mrs.

Couple at Craggy Pinnacle

Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Peak views here are postcard-perfect A short, easy-to-access hike through a rhododendron thicket brings you to the pinnacle and 360˚views, glorious sunsets or morning mist on the mountains. This close-to-Asheville hike includes a sampler of mountain scenery: long-range views, twisted laurel and dramatic rock formations. What To Expect Craggy Pinnacle is one of the closest hikes to Asheville that

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