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Top 200 Outdoors Things to Do, Asheville NC Mountains

Also see: Indoor Attractions | Top 15 Best NC Mountain Views | Mountain Conservancy & Protection Groups | Top 50 Fall Things to Do | 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 picked our favorites and create extensive features for each with photos and details, for all skill levels. See our guides to the Top 60 Hikes. Also see our Winter Hiking Guide and Guided Group Hikes.


Waterfalls

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. Also 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 big 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. Ride the chairlift for mile-high views. See our Beech Mountain Summer Outdoors 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.
Click here to visit their Web site.

Shoji Hot Tub
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.

Lake Glenville Lake Glenville & Signal Ridge Marina
This pristine reservoir near Cashiers is the highest elevation of any lake east of the Mississippi. Find plenty of things to do, including tubing, skiing, paddle boarding, knee boarding, waterfalls swimming and fishing. Signal Ridge Marina rents a variety of Bennington pontoons and tritoons, as well as tubes, paddleboards, skis, wakeboards and kneeboards. Open April-October.
Click here to visit their Web site.

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.

Asheville Outdoor Center
Kayak, paddleboard, raft or tube down the French Broad River in Asheville through the Biltmore Estate. And rent a bike or mine for gems. Just five miles from downtown.
Click here to visit their Web site

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
NOC's Nantahala River campus offers rafting, zip lines, hiking, biking, fishing and more for the whole family. Whitewater rafting outpost on French Broad River also. Read more about Whitewater Rafting. See our NOC Guide.
Go to their Web site.

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, 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.
Click here to visit their Web site


Nantahala Zip Line

Nantahala Gorge Canopy Zip Line Tour
Take an exciting zipline 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 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 and on peaceful woodland trails. Don't miss their impressive bonsai garden exhibit and 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.

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 our week-by-week color prediction and plenty of photos. 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, see historic and working farms, Apple Orchards 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 for riders of all skill levels. Plus, bike the Blue Ridge Parkway or a greenway. See our Biking Guide.

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.

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.

Gems
Gem mining has been a favorite activity for visitors to the mountains of North Carolina for many years. Most gem mines in the Asheville and Franklin area are open from spring through autumn. Also tour several gem and mineral museums. See our Gem Mining Guide.

Nantahala National Forest
The largest national forest in North Carolina (531,286 acres), covers much of the western tip of the state. Find a wealth of outdoor activities and plenty of scenic views, hiking trails and waterfalls. See our Nantahala National Forest Guide.

Pisgah National Forest
This 500,000+ natonal forest surrounds Asheville and features some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery, and the best recreational opportunities in eastern North America with whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails. See our Pisgah National Forest Guide.

Beaver Lake
This bird sanctuary is a wonderful wildlife oasis in the very busy north Asheville area. Walk a 3/8-mile boardwalk through a wetland area and by the lake, complete with sitting areas along the way to soak up the views and watch birds. See our Beaver Lake Guide.

Scenic Drives
Take a windshield tour with many stops along the way on many national and state scenic byways throughout the mountains. See our Top 15 Scenic Drives near Asheville.


Golf
Scenic mountain beauty and pleasant climate provide a magnificent setting with lush fairways, sprawling bent grass greens, cool breezes and a gently undulating terrain. See the best Golf Courses near Asheville.

Guided Walking Tours
History at Hand offers tours to Downtown history and architecture, Montford architecture, Riverside Cemetery and more. All walking tours are given by appointment. Tours must be booked in advance.
Click here to visit their Web site.


Camping
Sleep under the stars in a variety of campgrounds or in remote areas of one of the national forests or parks, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains. See our Camping Guide.

Fun for Children
There are plenty of outdoor adventures for children of all ages, including a special KidZip, educational trails, nature centers and more. See our Favorites for Families.

Picnics
Dine outdoors with nature during a picnic at some amazing locations where you can enjoy sweet views. See our Top 20 Picnic Spots.

Lake Lure
Walk across the beautiful Flowering Bridge that is now home to thousands of blooming plants, sun on the beech or take a boat ride across the lake. See our Lake Lure Guide.


Riverside Cemetery
For a fascinating stroll through history, head to this sprawling cemetery near downtown Asheville, with 87 acres of rolling hills and flower gardens. The cemetery dates to 1885 with more than 13,000 burials and 9,000 monuments. It is the burial place of noted authors Thomas Wolfe and William Sidney Porter, better known as O. Henry. See our Riverside Cemetery Guide.

Birding
With our great diversity of terrain, climates and plantlife, birds of many varieties love our mountains and many state and national parks with protected land. See our favorite birding locations near Asheville and get tips from birding expert Simon Thompson.

Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
With four rivers (French Broad, Pigeon, Nantahala, and Nolichucky) for rafting and kayaking in the mountains. Find professional companies that provide rafting guides, so no experience is necessary. You can even learn how to kayak in the rapids or paddleboard on a lake. See our Whitewater Rafting Guide.


Wildflowers
Find one of the biggest varieties of wildflowers in the country. The Great Smoky Mountains alone is a world-renowned preserve of wildflower diversity with more than 1,660 kinds of flowering plants. Take a hike deep into Pisgah National Forest or enjoy wildflowers from your car as you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. See our Favorite Places to Find Wildflowers.


More Outdoors: Geocaching | Rock Climbing | Minor League Baseball | French Broad River Paddle Trail | Asheville Public Parks | Zip Line Tours | Motorcycle Drives | Asheville Corn Maze | Carolina Mtn Land Conservancy

     
     

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

RomanticAsheville.com 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
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