Outdoor Activities Near Asheville, North Carolina

woman looking at scenic vista

Experience Scenic Vistas, Beautiful Waterfalls, and Fresh Mountain Air.

If you’re looking for opportunities to get outdoors in and around Asheville, you’ll find a variety of fantastic day hikes, fishing spots, and more in the surrounding mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountains west of Asheville offer incredible waterfalls, abundant wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and fascinating natural and cultural history.

National and State Parks Near Asheville

Asheville is an excellent starting point for seeing some of the top state and national parklands in the eastern United States. From the grandeur of the Great Smoky Mountains to the twisting wonder of the Blue Ridge Parkway, you'll find adventure in every direction. Discover rushing waterfalls or explore the Blue Ridge Mountains on a day hike or bike ride on one of the many popular paths. Take in the view from Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River, or enjoy a picnic in the midst of breathtaking mountain scenery.

  • THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

    America's Favorite Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a 469-mile ribbon of road that winds its way around the summits of the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains. As the Parkway reaches Asheville, it provides spectacular vistas of some of the tallest peaks east of the Mississippi River, as well as access to some of the greatest hiking trails in the area. With no admission fee and numerous concrete viewpoints, the Parkway is accessible to anyone.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park is among the most visited national park in the United States. Once you experience it, it's easy to see why. Asheville is an excellent starting point for a day excursion to the North Carolina Smokies. Five important entrances to Great Smoky Mountains National Park are within an hour and a half drive (or less) of Asheville. And it's open to the public for free.

  • Pisgah National Forest

    It's no surprise Pisgah National Forest is regarded as one of the greatest for outdoor activities in the country. More than 500,000 acres of hardwood forest, mile-high mountain peaks, whitewater rivers, thundering waterfalls, and hundreds of miles of premier hiking routes make up this breathtaking park. It's located both North and South of Asheville, with the closest entry point less than ten minutes from downtown Asheville.

  • Mount Mitchell State Park

    Mount Mitchell's summit is the highest point east of the Mississippi River, located in the Black Mountain range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina. About 35 miles northeast of Asheville, it's possible to drive almost all the way to the top, making it a particularly accessible park. An observation platform is located at the peak, and on a clear day, it's possible to get an 85-mile view. Mount Mitchell provides travelers with access to popular hiking paths that weave through aromatic balsam forests.

  • Gorges State Park

    Gorges State Park, about an hour and a half from Asheville, is well known for being the entryway to some of the area's most spectacular waterfalls. Visitors are treated to steep river gorges and sheer rock faces. Gorges State Park receives more than 90 inches of rain each year, making it akin to a temperate rainforest—right here in the Carolinas.

  • Grandfather Mountain

    Grandfather Mountain is a well-known summit in Western North Carolina, located 75 miles north of Asheville and immediately off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The region is noted for its breathtaking views and unrivaled natural richness. The Charlotte skyline can be seen from Grandfather Mountain (elevation 5,945 feet) on a clear day.

Guided Hikes and Fishing Near Asheville

Looking for a guided hiking experience in western North Carolina? Join a guided or group hike in the North Carolina mountains and meet fellow hikers that love the outdoors.

  • Classic Hikes of the Smokies

    See spectacular landscapes, waterfalls, historic homesteads, and much more tucked away in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Trail explanation, history, and information about park projects supported by donations to Friends of the Smokies are all included in the hikes.

  • Guided hikes by Swannonoa Valley Museum

    ​The Swannanoa Valley Museum offers two hiking series that have long been popular among locals. These hikes are educational for native residents seeking a connection to their ancestors and newcomers interested in learning about the region's history. Each hike is around three miles long and takes place on moderate terrain, supervised by an experienced guide.

  • Walk With Me Tours

    Take in incredible views from the Great Smokies, Black Mountains, Great Craggy Mountains, Great Balsams, Roan Highlands of the Unakas, and other big Southern Appalachian ranges this special spot atop the 4,600-foot Max Patch Mountain. It’s one is one of the most iconic sites on the entire Appalachian Trail, accessible by a steep but short half-mile hike.

  • Asheville Waterfall Tours

    Explore gorgeous waterfalls without having to hunt them down. The Asheville Waterfall Tours host year-round expeditions taking private groups into the great outdoors seven days a week to see the gorgeous natural streams that dot this region. Your tour guides customize each excursion to the attendees' ability and fitness levels to ensure that everyone has a great time. They also bring a plethora of information to the table, teaching the group on geographic formations, fauna, and a variety of other topics.

  • Blue Ridge Hiking Company

    The Blue Ridge Hiking Company offers day hikes and overnight trips that will leave you with lifelong memories. They provide half-day and full-day hikes tailored to your preferences. Simply tell them what you want to see and how tough you are willing to go. They'll then utilize that information to customize your tour to your preferences and create an unforgettable day out.

  • Asheville Hiking Tours

    Experience all the surrounding landscapes in a whole new way. Select from two to 4.5-hour hiking tours that take you straight to waterfalls of all kinds. Asheville Hiking Tours provides transportation to the trails and back again plus gear and snacks. This tour group also offers a custom private tour that you design from the ground up. Travel along the Appalachian Trail or check out the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • AB's Fly Fishing Guide Service

    Alex Bell's AB's Fly Fishing Guide Service is a professional guide service located in Western North Carolina's picturesque Smoky Mountains. The area is home to some of the most beautiful trout waters east of the Mississippi. AB's Fly Fishing caters to both experienced and novice anglers. Book a fly fishing trip whether you’re a seasoned sportsman or it’s your first time with a fly rod.

  • Brookings Anglers guided fishing trips

    Brookings Anglers is a premier guide service accommodating people of all levels of experience. Brookings has some of Western North Carolina's finest experienced fly fishing guides. Choose from beginner fly fishing classes, wade fishing trips, float trips, and more. Come along with a group of friends who are all extremely enthusiastic about the sport of fly fishing and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others.

Other Outdoor Activities Near Asheville

Asheville offers endless opportunities to get outdoors. Here are just a few other ways residents and visitors can get outside.

  • The North Carolina Arboretum

    The North Carolina Arboretum, located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains just south of Asheville, offers visitors acres of maintained gardens and groomed walkways with some of the most beautiful and botanically diverse species in the region. The Pisgah National Forest's 434-acre campus is the perfect setting for a stroll or hike while viewing and learning about North Carolina's natural beauty. Educational programs, tours, festivals, and garden demonstrations are just a few of the activities available to visitors of all ages at the Arboretum.

  • Botanical Gardens at Asheville

    The Botanical Gardens at Asheville is home to one of the world's most diverse temperate ecosystems. The BGA is dedicated to the study and promotion of Southern Appalachian native species and environments. Visitors to the Gardens enjoy a variety of native plants. The Garden's Visitor Center and most trails, especially in the front of the Gardens, are wheelchair accessible.

  • Asheville Outdoor Center

    Want to get outside with a group of friends or family members of all ages? Spend a relaxing few hours on the French Broad River, either floating on a raft, canoeing, or kayaking, or mining for gems in the muddy water with the operating waterwheel. Since 1992, Asheville Outdoor Center has been providing high-quality, low-cost, peaceful, and enjoyable vacations.

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