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Top 200 Outdoors Things to Do, Asheville NC Mountains

Also see: Top 20 Picnic Spots | Indoor Attractions | Top 15 Best NC Mountain Views | Mountain Conservancy & Protection Groups | Top 50 Fall Things to Do | Mother Earth News Fair | Weekend Itineraries

Looking for things to do in the western North Carolina mountains near Asheville? The breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounds Asheville. Come enjoy the great outdoors, including hiking the many trails and discovering beautiful waterfalls. Use our 200+ full page guides with plenty of photos of attractions in the beautiful North Carolina mountains. And remember to respect nature and Leave No Trace.

Blue Ridge Parkway Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50
Take Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge and reach elevations of 5,000+. Our mile-by-mile guide of the Parkway covers the 193-mile section near Asheville. So many things to do along one of the most scenic drives in the United States.
See our Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50 Stops & Top 10 Quick Parkway Hikes

Hiking Trail

Mountain Hikes Top 60
There are thousands of miles of hiking trails near Asheville, many of which are pristine in national forests or parks. We feature the easy hikes for both the beginners as well as more challenging hikes.
See our guides to the Top 60 Hikes.

Also see our Winter Hiking Guide and Guided Group Hikes.


Waterfalls Top 60
Of hundreds of waterfalls near Asheville, we picked the most spectacular falls that are easy to find. Some can be enjoyed with a short walk or even roadside. Others require a scenic hike. See full descriptions for each with plenty of photos!
See our guides to the Top 60 Waterfalls.

See Waterfall Drives & Maps

Asheville Zip Line The Adventure Center of Asheville
Tucked away a mile from downtown is an outdoor lover's playground. Fly on 11 ziplines through old growth trees from towers with skyline and mountain views. Test your skills in a treetop playground. Climb trees or mountain bike. Plus, bring the kids for the first-ever Kid Zip course. Read our full feature about them.
Click here to visit their Web site.

Madison County Madison County
Hike the Appalachian Trial at Max Patch or Lover's Leap, soak in natural hot springs, go horseback riding, raft down whitewater rapids, ski, bike, fish, camp and explore the unspoiled mountains just north of Asheville.
See 19 ways to enjoy the outdoors in Madison County.

Great Smoky Mountains Great Smoky Mountains National Park Top 15
Explore the most visited national park in the country! With 520,976 acres to explore, where do you begin? See our top places and hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains to visit near Asheville. Four entrances to the Park are within 60 miles of downtown Asheville.
See our 20-Page Great Smoky Mountains Guide.

Navitat Zip Line Canopy Tours

Navitat Canopy Adventures
Experience the zipline canopy tour called “one of the best in the nation!” in USA Today. Just 20 minutes from Asheville, Navitat has two very different courses with the longest zip line at 3,600 feet long (see photos and video).
Click here to visit their Web site.

Beech Mountain Biking

Beech Mountain Biking & Hiking
Hike and bike in the highest town in Eastern America and enjoy cool temperatures all summer long.
See our Beech Mountain Hiking & Biking Guide

Also see our Beech Mountain Ski & Winter Sports Guide

Hot Springs, NC Hot Springs
Hot Springs is a haven for those seeking outdoor adventure, healing and relaxation, or a quiet romantic getaway in a charming mountain village, about 35 miles north of Asheville. Soak in the springs, hike the Appalachian Trail, and enjoy rafting, tubing down the river, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing and more.
Click here to visit their Web site.

Chimney Rock Park Chimney Rock Park
See breathtaking 75-mile views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The park also features a magnificent 404-foot waterfall and hiking trails. Shopping and dining located at the park entrance.
See our Chimney Rock Park Guide.
or Click here to visit their Web site.

Asheville Hot Tub Retreat
Shoji Hot Tub Retreat
Soak away your stress in a private hot tub, invigorating cold plunge and dry cedar sauna. Enjoy slate showers, exotic herbal body products, a Japanese yukata, sandals, towels. After your soak, totally relax with a customized massage with a massage therapist. Loctated just ten minutes from downtown Asheville.

Linville Gorge Burke County & Morganton
Home to Linville Falls, Linville Gorge, Lake James and South Mountains State Park, find limitless outdoor adventures including hiking, biking, fishing, boating and more.
See our Burke County Guide.

Biltmore Outdoors Outdoors at Biltmore Estate
Play outdoors at the estate with flat water river rafting, hiking, gardens, trail rides on horseback, woodland and river path biking, and carriage rides.
See our Biltmore Outdoors & Hiking Guide.

Mt. Mitchell Mount Mitchell
Drive to the top of the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This state park has a observation tower, plenty of hiking, and a restaurant. Be prepared for much cooler temperatures there. Open all year round (except snowy days in the winter).
See our Mount Mitchell Guide.

Asheville whitewater rafting Wildwater Ltd. Whitewater Rafting
Exceptional quality, safety, and personal service since 1971. Their Raft and Rail Excursion on the Nantahala combines a morning scenic train ride with an afternoon introduction to rafting. See our guides to their adventures on the Nantahala River and Pigeon River.
Go to their Web site.

Electric Bike Tour Electro Bike Tours of Asheville
Discover the highlights of Asheville on a guided pedal assist electric bike tour. Imagine pedaling a bike uphill with a boost; headwinds, hills, and sweaty rides are things of the past.  Wind through historic downtown and nearby neighborhoods, cruise up hills with a smile, and enjoy an unforgettable tour!
Click here to visit their Web site

Whitewater Rafting Nantahala Outdoor Center
Rated "the #1 vacation with a splash" by Good Morning America, NOC's Nantahala River campus offers rafting, zip lines, hiking, biking, fishing and more for the whole family. Outposts on French Broad, Pigeon, and Nolichucky -- with their main outpost on the Nantahala.
Go to their Web site.
Read more about Whitewater Rafting. See our NOC Guide.

Zip Lines Pigeon River Adventure Center
Enjoy outdoors exploration with whitewater rafting, zip line canopy tours or Jeep tours in the Great Smoky Mountains. Or do all three without moving your car with their "Triple Adventure!"
Read more about Pigeon River Adventure Center.

Guided Mountain Bike Rides

Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures
This mountain bike guide service specializes in professionally guided trips in Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest, near Brevard. They offer self-supported guided trips customized to individual tastes and ability levels. Half, full, and multi-day trips include a snack and lunch. They create rides focusing on downhills, single-track, or climbing, and even night rides. Experienced and trustworthy guides take all the hassles out of your planning and show you a fun experience. Let the locals show you the best Pisgah has to offer.
Click here to visit their Web site

Nantahala Zip Line

Nantahala Gorge Canopy Zip Line Tour
Take an exciting Zip Line tour in the Great Smoky Mountains. The 3-hour zip line flight is powered by gravity and a gradual 3 percent elevation change. The 1/2 mile air time Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tour takes you through multiple ecosystems.
Click here to visit their Web site.

Asheville Treetops Adventure Asheville Treetops Adventure Park
Play in the trees with 50 elements from 12 to 45 feet above the forest floor that include climbing, zipping, walking, jumping, swinging, and rappelling challenges -- all anchored to more than 30 trees. Near downtown Asheville, next to Asheville Canopy Tours.
Read more about Asheville Treetops Adventure Park.

Photo Tours

Vagabond Vistas Photo Tours
You've invested in the fancy camera. You're surrounded by the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, and the urban intrigue of Asheville. Now what? Why not invest in yourself and learn the tricks of the trade, and the lay of the land, with a local professional photography instructor?
Click here to visit their Web site.

NC Arboretum North Carolina Arboretum
Stroll through a variety of gardens, on peaceful hiking trails, and don't miss their impressive bonsai garden exhibit. Many special events during the year.
See our NC Arboretum Guide.

Wild Food Foraging Wild Food Foraging Tours
Take a "forage to table" tour with No Taste Like Home and gather wild mushrooms, plants, and other “extreme cuisine.” Then go to one of five restaurants where the chef transforms your discoveries into a delicious meal. The very enteraining Alan Muskat has been featured in many national publications and on Bizarre Food, the History Channel, PBS and more. Go to their web site.

Blue Heron Whitewater Blue Heron Whitewater
Enjoy rafting trips (or inflatable kayaks) and calm water float trips on the French Broad River with a fantastic combination of white water rapids, swimming holes, beautiful scenery, history and wildlife near Asheville. Excellent, fun-loving guides and all the appropriate river equipment insure a great time, while experiencing the North Carolina mountains by river.
Go to their Web site.
Read more about Whitewater Rafting.

Sliding Rock Sliding Rock & Swimming Holes
Slide down this very popular natural waterslide in the Pisgah National Forest, near Brevard. The 60-foot smooth rock waterfall empties into a pool of chilly water. Also find other great swimming spots in the North Carolina mountains.
See our Swimming Holes & Sliding Rock Guide.

Asheville Urban Trail Asheville Urban Trail
This outdoors museum is a self-guided, 1.7-mile walking tour of 30 sculptures that depict the history of downtown Asheville.
Read more about the Urban Trail.

Fall Color Fall Color Show
The Asheville area has one of longest lasting fall color shows in the country. Fall foliage begins to change in the highest elevations in early October and finishes in the lowest valleys in early November. See a week-by-week color prediction.
See our Fall Color Guide.

Festivals & Events Outdoor Festivals & Events
Enjoy the many outdoor street festivals, art fairs and other events. Most are free, and you can find one about every weekend during the Spring, Summer and Fall in Asheville and the surrounding mountain towns.
See our Top Spring Festivals, Top Summer Festivals, Top Fall Events, Art Events

Stargazing Astronomy Club of Asheville
Stargaze with members of one of the top astronomy clubs in the country with monthly stargazing events at observatories, on mountaintops or along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Read more about the Astronomy Club Events.

Grandfather Mountain Grandfather Mountain
Discover nature on a different level at this rugged mountain with endless vistas, great hiking, and wildlife habitats. Walk across the famous swinging bridge. Located 75 miles north of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Read more about Grandfather Mountain

Farmer's Market

Farmers Markets & Local Farms
Take home some local farm-fruits, vegetables, jams, jellies, flowers and plants. The big Western NC Farmers Market is open every day: See our WNC Farmer's Market Guide.
Also, tour historic and working farms and find more Local Food and Tailgate Markets.

Botanical Gardens Asheville Botanical Gardens at Asheville
This 10-acre garden near the University of North Carolina in Asheville features Southern Appalachian plants, and includes peaceful hiking trails in the middle of the city. Free.
See our Guide to the Botanical Gardens.

Cradle of Forestry Cradle of Forestry
Travel back in time with historic cabins, crafters, old logging equipment, guided tours, movie, food and shopping. Home of the first forestry school (opened in 1898) in America. In Pisgah National Forest. Open mid April through October.
Go to our Cradle of Forestry Guide

NC Ski Resort Ski & Snowboard
Hit the slopes for plenty of winter of fun. Since we have the highest mountains in eastern America, you will find plenty of snow, either natural or man-made for sking, snowboarding and freestyle terrain.
See our NC Ski Resort Guide.

Mountain Biking: So many options, especially for mountain bikes! See our Mountain Biking Guide. Check out the Cycle to Farm bike tour.

WNC Nature Center: Learn about the area's natural resources, see animals in their native habitats, and view various exhibits on this 40-acre site. Open daily. Read more about the WNC Nature Center.

Lake Lure Tours: Take a guided hourly, twilight, and dinner cruises on spectacular Lake Lure. Or just splash around on the beach! See our Lake Lure Guide.

Fly Fishing: Enjoy plenty of fishing spots, whether novice or experienced. Full- and half-day guided trips, tying classes, and classes especially for ladies. See our Fishing Guide.

Horseback Riding: Enjoy scenic horseback trail rides in the Asheville area with miles of trails, experienced guides, and gentle horses. For the more experience riders, there are hundreds of miles to explore. See our Horseback Riding & Trails Guide.

Smoky Mountain Jet Boats: Take a thrilling ride on scenic Lake Fontana as well as combination trips, such as hike and jet boat ride trip that encompasses everything that’s great about Western North Carolina-hiking, picnicking, swimming, and thrilling jet boat ride. See our Fontana Lake guide.

Guided Walking Tours: History at Hand offers four tours. In addition to Downtown history and architecture, they have a new Family Store Tour, a history of Jewish Asheville from 1880-1990 relating to downtown, discovering remnants of Asheville’s Jewish businesses still visible today and stories collected from family members. Other tours include Montford architecture and history and Riverside Cemetery. All walking tours are given by appointment. Tours must be booked in advance.
Click here to visit their Web site.

See these full page western NC guides for more things to do:

Hiking Sampler
Looking Glass Rock
Devil's Courthouse
Max Patch
Mt. Cammerer
Cold Mountain
Roan Mountain
Black Balsam Knob
Mt. Pisgah
Waterrock Knob
Rattlesnake Lodge Trail
Mountains to Sea Trail
Appalachian Trail
Grandfather Mountain
Mt Mitchell
Mt Craig & Deep Gap Trail
Mt Mitchell Winter Hike
Pisgah National Forest
Craggy Gardens
Hiking at Biltmore Estate
Graveyard Fields

Chimney Rock
Fryingpan Mountain Tower
Whiteside Mountain
Rough Ridge
Beacon Heights
Cedar Rock Mountain
Richland Balsam
Hawksbill Mountain
Table Rock (Linville Gorge)
Great Smoky Mtns Hikes
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
John Rock Hike
Art Loeb Trail
Bearwallow Mountain
Pink Beds
Panthertown Valley

Sports & Adventure
Whitewater Rafting
Road & Mountain Biking
Bent Creek Mountain Biking
Point Lookout Greenway Trail
Horseback Riding & Trails
Golf Courses
Rock Climbing
Mountain Sports Festival
Zip Line Tours
Minor League Baseball
Nantahala Outdoor Center
French Broad River Paddle Trail

In Town / Asheville
Asheville Public Parks
Western NC Nature Center
Riverside Cemetery
Downtown Urban Trail
Asheville Tourists Baseball
NC Arboretum
Pet Friendly Asheville
Farmers Markets
Botanical Gardens
Montford Historic District
Lexington Gateway Mural
LaZoom Tours
Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary

Great Smokies Sampler
Elk at Cataloochee Valley
Balsam Mountain
Cades Cove
Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Mountain Farm Museum

Chimney Tops Hike
Clingmans Dome
Andrews Bald
Newfound Gap
Mount LeConte Alum Cave
Fontana Dam & Lake
Rafting, Zip Lines, Jeep Tours
Deep Creek Waterfalls
Charlies Bunion Hike

Blue Ridge Parkway Sampler
Biking the Blue Ridge Parkway
Hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Linville Gorge
Linn Cove Viaduct
Grandfather Mountain
Mount Mitchell
Chestoa View
Rough Ridge
Beacon Heights
Linville Falls
Richland Balsam

Fall Color Guide
Bird Watching

Waterfall Sampler
DuPont State Forest
Linville Falls
Looking Glass Falls
Upper Whitewater Falls
Gorges State Park Waterfalls
Sliding Rock & Swimming Holes
Moore Cove Falls
Rainbow Falls
Crabtree Falls
Highlands & Cashiers Waterfalls
Dry Falls
Skinny Dip Falls
Pigeon River Cascade
Pearson's Falls
Catawba Falls
Mingo Falls
Soco Falls
Schoolhouse Falls

Lake Lure
Chimney Rock
Top 20 Green & Environmental
Gem Mining

Great Scenic Drives
What is Rime Ice?
Cradle of Forestry

Attractions for Children
Nantahala National Forest
Motorcyle Drives

Wayah Bald
Christmas Tree Farms
Pet-Friendly Asheville
NC National Forest Guide PDF
Top 50 Summer Festivals
Linville Caverns
Farm Tours
Apple Orchards
Nantahala Gorge
Top 20 Picnic Spots
Cherohala Skyway
World Kayaking Championships
Asheville Corn Maze
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge
Carolina Mtn Land Conservancy

Enjoy the great things to do outdoors near Asheville and the western North Carolina mountains!


More: Pet-Friendly | NC Arboretum | Chimney Rock | Gay & Lesbian | River Arts District | Madison County | Jackson County | Burke County | Maps & Weather | Zip Lines | Shopping | Biltmore Village | Art Galleries | Lake Lure | Cherokee | Hendersonville | Highlands | Waynesville | Hot Springs | Black Mountain | Golf | Ski_Resorts | Sliding Rock | Winter Events | Spring Events | Summer Festivals | Pisgah Forest | Nantahala Forest | Biltmore Christmas | Rafting | News Travel Guide, an insider's vacation planner for Asheville and North Carolina Mountains.
Writing & Photography By Mark File - ©2003-2015 File Investments, Inc - All Rights Reserved