Ready to explore the great outdoors of the Western North Carolina mountains near Asheville? The breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounds the city in all directions, with one million acres of protected forest and parkland—an outdoor enthusiast’s dream! There are so many places to go and things to do outside, including hiking the many trails and discovering beautiful waterfalls. Don’t forget to cap off your Asheville getaway adventure with a trip to one of our many breweries with ample outdoor spaces. It’s what you’ll need after a full day in the great outdoors.

Use our detailed local guide below to pick the perfect way to explore Asheville and greater WNC, with plenty of photos and details to help you plan your vacation. Also, see our Top 300 Things to Do for many more ideas for indoor fun. Looking for the best camping near Asheville? See our top camping spots in the WNC mountains. (Pic above: RomanticAsheville.com's founder, Mark File at Craggy Pinnacle )

Nantahala Outdoor Center

NOC offers family-friendly activities and exhilarating adventures on both the French Broad River outside of Asheville and in Bryson City on their 500-acre campus! Raft, zipline, mountain bike, paddle Lake Fontana, and enjoy onsite dining and lodging nestled in the Nantahala Gorge.

Cultivate Climbing

This indoor rock climbing gym in Asheville features a variety of challenging routes and walls suitable for climbers of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. Get into the mountains with their outdoor guided tours and instruction and climb some of the most beautiful and challenging spots in the area, all gear included. They also offer classes, meetups, and youth summer camps!

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Adventure Center of Asheville, Outdoor Family Fun!

Family adventures for ages 4 and over: Climb our Treetops Adventure Park with over 70 challenge elements with 7 different aerial trails, zip our Kid Zip park (ages 4-10), or Asheville Zipline Canopy Tours (ages 8+), or ride Kolo Bike Park.  Open all year and just minutes from downtown Asheville.

North Carolina Arboretum

Stroll through a variety of gardens and on peaceful woodland trails, located in Asheville adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Don't miss their impressive bonsai garden exhibit and many special events during the year.

Outdoor Gear Made in the NC Mountains

Find outdoor gear companies that manufacture and operate here in the Blue Ridge Mountains!  These companies support the local economy by providing jobs and by sponsoring outdoor industry events,… read more

Find outdoor gear companies that manufacture and operate here in the Blue Ridge Mountains!  These companies support the local economy by providing jobs and by sponsoring outdoor industry events, competitions, and professional outdoor athletes in the NC Mountains. 

Rutherford County Outdoors

The scenic foothills of Rutherford County include the towns of Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton, Forest City, and more! Explore the expansive outdoors surrounding these small towns including… read more

The scenic foothills of Rutherford County include the towns of Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton, Forest City, and more! Explore the expansive outdoors surrounding these small towns including the Thermal Belt Trail, ziplines, waterfalls, hikes, camping, and more!

Wai Mauna SUP Tours

Enjoy a variety of private guided paddleboard tours on the French Broad River in Asheville and Brevard! They also offer paddleboard rentals, river shuttles, and paddleboard delivery to any lake… read more

Enjoy a variety of private guided paddleboard tours on the French Broad River in Asheville and Brevard! They also offer paddleboard rentals, river shuttles, and paddleboard delivery to any lake home in Western North Carolina. The season runs from April- October 31.

Southern Appalachian Anglers

Take a full-service, guided fly fishing or bass fishing trip near Asheville. You can enjoy the Appalachian Mountains by boating and/or wading in North Carolina's stream-fed lakes and rivers.… read more

Take a full-service, guided fly fishing or bass fishing trip near Asheville. You can enjoy the Appalachian Mountains by boating and/or wading in North Carolina's stream-fed lakes and rivers. Professional fishing guides ensure exciting fishing on the best pristine rivers in WNC.

Navitat Canopy Adventures

Experience the zipline canopy tour USA Today called “one of the best in the nation!” Just 20 minutes from Asheville, Navitat has two very different courses with the longest zip line at 3,600 ft.… read more

Experience the zipline canopy tour USA Today called “one of the best in the nation!” Just 20 minutes from Asheville, Navitat has two very different courses with the longest zip line at 3,600 ft. long.

Nantahala Outdoor Center

NOC has been offering whitewater rafting for over 50 years! Enjoy family-friendly paddles on both the French Broad River outside of Asheville and on the Nantahala River campus outside of Bryson… read more

NOC has been offering whitewater rafting for over 50 years! Enjoy family-friendly paddles on both the French Broad River outside of Asheville and on the Nantahala River campus outside of Bryson City with ziplining, lake paddling, restaurants, lodging, and more!

French Broad River Outfitters

Kayak, canoe, tube or paddleboard down the river through Asheville. Start your trip near downtown at the area's largest paddle shop - with shuttle service, rentals, camping gear, disc golf… read more

Kayak, canoe, tube or paddleboard down the river through Asheville. Start your trip near downtown at the area's largest paddle shop - with shuttle service, rentals, camping gear, disc golf supplies and more. Three locations along the French Broad River.

Bryson City Outdoors

This well-equipped outdoor store in downtown Bryson City has everything for your adventure. Services include kayak, paddleboard and gear rentals, a hiker shuttle, and guided tours! Their craft… read more

This well-equipped outdoor store in downtown Bryson City has everything for your adventure. Services include kayak, paddleboard and gear rentals, a hiker shuttle, and guided tours! Their craft beer taproom & bottle shop has 10 rotating brews on tap with an additional 200+ bottles and cans to go.

Bare Dark Sky Observatory, Burnsville

Located at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park in Yancey County, this nationally recognized observatory is open to the public for 360-degree views of the moon, planets, and stars through custom-built… read more

Located at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park in Yancey County, this nationally recognized observatory is open to the public for 360-degree views of the moon, planets, and stars through custom-built telescopes. Each 2-hour stargazing session offers a chance for visitors to learn more about the night sky. Adult tickets at $20.

Lake Junaluska

This beautiful lake town near the Great Smoky Mountains is home to trails, boat tours, golf, gardens and a big variety of lodging options, including lakefront hotels and cabin rentals for a… read more

This beautiful lake town near the Great Smoky Mountains is home to trails, boat tours, golf, gardens and a big variety of lodging options, including lakefront hotels and cabin rentals for a Methodist church retreat.

Wild Food Foraging Tours

Take a "forage to table" tour with No Taste Like Home and play with your food. Our area is a Garden of Eden with over 300 wild edibles. During a guided tour, gather wild mushrooms, plants and… read more

Take a "forage to table" tour with No Taste Like Home and play with your food. Our area is a Garden of Eden with over 300 wild edibles. During a guided tour, gather wild mushrooms, plants and other “extreme cuisine.” Then a chef transforms your finds into a delicious meal. 

Namaste in Nature Yoga Hikes

A unique Asheville experience that combines yoga, hiking & meditation with the best mountains, waterfalls, sunsets, full moons, and the vortex in Western North Carolina. Open to beginners,… read more

A unique Asheville experience that combines yoga, hiking & meditation with the best mountains, waterfalls, sunsets, full moons, and the vortex in Western North Carolina. Open to beginners, women, men, couples, families and small groups for 2 or 3-hour yoga hikes during weekdays and weekends, year-round. Mats & pictures included. Private groups and private yoga classes are also…

Asheville Hiking Tours

Hike gorgeous mountaintops and visit 5-star waterfalls! TripAdvisor ranks Asheville Hiking Tours as one of Asheville's top tour companies! Offering COVID-safe activities. Your guides are expert… read more

Hike gorgeous mountaintops and visit 5-star waterfalls! TripAdvisor ranks Asheville Hiking Tours as one of Asheville's top tour companies! Offering COVID-safe activities. Your guides are expert naturalists and locals, showing you the hidden gems of Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Tour Options: 2-hr, 1/2-day, Full Day, and Private Tours.

Asheville Outdoor Center

Kayak, paddleboard, raft or tube down the French Broad River in Asheville and through the Biltmore Estate. You can also rent a bike or mine for gems. Just five miles from downtown.

Kayak, paddleboard, raft or tube down the French Broad River in Asheville and through the Biltmore Estate. You can also rent a bike or mine for gems. Just five miles from downtown.

Blue Ridge Hiking Company

Expert guides offer a wide array of hiking excursions, including outfitting gear. In addition to group hikes, they can also customize a trip just for you. Experience sunsets, waterfalls and high… read more

Expert guides offer a wide array of hiking excursions, including outfitting gear. In addition to group hikes, they can also customize a trip just for you. Experience sunsets, waterfalls and high peaks at a variety of locations including the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, DuPont State Forest, Pisgah National Forest and more. 

Hot Springs

This tiny town of 567 residents is perhaps best known for its hot mineral springs. Located north of Asheville at the junction of the Appalachian Trail (which goes right through downtown) and the… read more

This tiny town of 567 residents is perhaps best known for its hot mineral springs. Located north of Asheville at the junction of the Appalachian Trail (which goes right through downtown) and the French Broad River. Hike from town up to Lover's Leap for a great town view.

Asheville Treetops Adventure Park

Play in the trees with 50 elements from 12 to 45 feet above the forest floor, including climbing, zipping, walking, jumping, swinging and rappelling challenges -- all anchored to more than 30… read more

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

The Learning Center at PARI

This former NASA campus in Pisgah National Forest is now a fascinating space and science center open for camps, events and occasional tours. See exhibit galleries, a gem and meteorite collection,… read more

This former NASA campus in Pisgah National Forest is now a fascinating space and science center open for camps, events and occasional tours. See exhibit galleries, a gem and meteorite collection, hands-on research and star gazing nights. Previously called Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute. 

Lake Lure

Walk across the beautiful Flowering Bridge that is now home to thousands of blooming plants, sun on the beach or take a boat ride across the lake.

Walk across the beautiful Flowering Bridge that is now home to thousands of blooming plants, sun on the beach or take a boat ride across the lake.

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… read more

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.

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!"

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!"

Vagabond Vistas Photo Tours

Will you be visiting Asheville and the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains this year? Not sure where to go for the best photos, or how to best capture them? Make reservations for private photo… read more

Will you be visiting Asheville and the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains this year? Not sure where to go for the best photos, or how to best capture them? Make reservations for private photo tours and personal instruction.

Nantahala River Rafting Guide

The most popular river for whitewater rafting and kayaking is about 12 miles west of Bryson City in the beautiful Nantahala River Gorge. The site of the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships,… read more

The most popular river for whitewater rafting and kayaking is about 12 miles west of Bryson City in the beautiful Nantahala River Gorge. The site of the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships, find class II and III rapids, along with calm sections perfect for a dip. Fun for ages 7 and up, with no experience necessary. Choose from nine outfitters, all offering a variety of options.

Western NC Nature Center

Learn about the area's natural resources, see 60+ animals in their native habitats including red pandas and red wolves. Explore many exhibits on this 42-acre wildlife park in the city of Asheville… read more

Learn about the area's natural resources, see 60+ animals in their native habitats including red pandas and red wolves. Explore many exhibits on this 42-acre wildlife park in the city of Asheville. Open daily.

Madison County

Hike the Appalachian Trail 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… read more

Hike the Appalachian Trail 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.

River Tubing

Find the best places to tube down a river on a hot summer day, including the French Broad River through Asheville, Deep Creek in the Smoky Mountains and Green River Gorge - with rentals and… read more

Find the best places to tube down a river on a hot summer day, including the French Broad River through Asheville, Deep Creek in the Smoky Mountains and Green River Gorge - with rentals and shuttle services. 

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… read more

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 and Art Events. 

Top 8 Zip Line Canopy Tours

Fly above the trees and experience the mountains' natural beauty from a bird's perspective. See our favorite zip line canopy courses to enjoy in the Asheville area of the North Carolina Blue Ridge… read more

Fly above the trees and experience the mountains' natural beauty from a bird's perspective. See our favorite zip line canopy courses to enjoy in the Asheville area of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. No experience is needed. Canopy guides provide all instruction and assistance. It's fun for all fitness levels!

Lake James State Park

This state park has a wide beach with a nice pavilion with changing rooms, open for swimming May-September. Also enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing and more.

This state park has a wide beach with a nice pavilion with changing rooms, open for swimming May-September. Also enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing and more.

Beech Mountain Biking & Hiking

Hike, bike and golf in the highest town in eastern America, and enjoy cool temperatures all summer long. Their 20-mile trail system is open year-round.  

Hike, bike and golf in the highest town in eastern America, and enjoy cool temperatures all summer long. Their 20-mile trail system is open year-round.  

French Broad River: 15 Ways to Enjoy

Find some of our favorite ways and places to enjoy the river, beginning at the source of the French Broad River (near Rosman, NC), and following the river downstream to the Tennessee state line (… read more

Find some of our favorite ways and places to enjoy the river, beginning at the source of the French Broad River (near Rosman, NC), and following the river downstream to the Tennessee state line (about a 70-mile section!)

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.

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.

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… read more

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! Also see Waterfall Drives & Maps.

Biltmore Outdoors

Daytime admission to Biltmore not only gets you access to America’s largest home but also the opportunity to explore the estate’s 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty. Discover Biltmore’s… read more

Daytime admission to Biltmore not only gets you access to America’s largest home but also the opportunity to explore the estate’s 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty. Discover Biltmore’s rustic side with an array of outdoor adventures like biking, hiking, Segway tours, horseback riding, river float trips, carriage rides, sporting clays, and Land Rover experiences.

Fishing Guide for Great Smoky Mountains NC

See our fishing tips and best creeks, rivers and lakes to fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina side and nearby towns including Cherokee, Sylva and Bryson City.

See our fishing tips and best creeks, rivers and lakes to fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina side and nearby towns including Cherokee, Sylva and Bryson City.

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… read more

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.

Grandfather Mountain

Don’t miss the views that can be seen from Grandfather Mountain, which at 5,946 ft’ is one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountain range. Grandfather Mountain State Park encompasses 2,456-… read more

Don’t miss the views that can be seen from Grandfather Mountain, which at 5,946 ft’ is one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountain range. Grandfather Mountain State Park encompasses 2,456-acres of wilderness to explore. If you are staying in Asheville, 70 miles from Asheville, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

 

Camping

Sleep under the stars in our national parks, forests or a campground. Or stay in a hostel.

Sleep under the stars in our national parks, forests or a campground. Or stay in a hostel.

Nantahala National Forest

The largest national forest in North Carolina (531,286 acres), Nantahala covers much of the western tip of the state. Find a wealth of outdoor activities and plenty of scenic views, hiking trails… read more

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

Top 20 Outdoor Activities in Hendersonville

Find many ways to explore Hendersonville’s surrounding outdoor playground including hiking trails, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, waterfalls, apple orchards, and so much more… read more

Find many ways to explore Hendersonville’s surrounding outdoor playground including hiking trails, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, waterfalls, apple orchards, and so much more! 

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… read more

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.

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 an observation tower, plenty of hiking and a restaurant. Be prepared… read more

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

Fly Fishing

Enjoy plenty of fishing spots, whether novice or experienced. Full- and half-day guided trips, tying classes and classes geared toward women. 

Enjoy plenty of fishing spots, whether novice or experienced. Full- and half-day guided trips, tying classes and classes geared toward women. 

Monarch Butterfly Migration

See the amazing Monarch Butterflies as they migrate 2,000+ miles each fall to Mexico, passing through the Asheville area in September and early October. Find the best spots to see them along the… read more

See the amazing Monarch Butterflies as they migrate 2,000+ miles each fall to Mexico, passing through the Asheville area in September and early October. Find the best spots to see them along the high passes of the Blue Ridge Parkway and special events to learn more about them.

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 and holds more than… read more

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 and holds 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.

Elk in Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains

Watch the elk in beautiful Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best time is just before sunset. Take a picnic and tailgate. Also, tour historic buildings or hike.… read more

Watch the elk in beautiful Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best time is just before sunset. Take a picnic and tailgate. Also, tour historic buildings or hike.

South Mountains State Park

(2-40 miles, easy, moderate, strenuous) This state park near Morganton has 40 miles of hiking trails. Our favorite is High Shoals Falls 2.7-mile loop trail to a beautiful 60-foot waterfall.… read more

(2-40 miles, easy, moderate, strenuous) This state park near Morganton has 40 miles of hiking trails. Our favorite is High Shoals Falls 2.7-mile loop trail to a beautiful 60-foot waterfall. Combine several trails for a much longer hike.

Fontana Lake & Dam

Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, enjoy fishing, boating, camping and swimming in this beautiful lake. Drive or walk across the highest dam east of the Rockies and stop by the Visitor Center… read more

Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, enjoy fishing, boating, camping and swimming in this beautiful lake. Drive or walk across the highest dam east of the Rockies and stop by the Visitor Center to learn more about it.

Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50

Drive the Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge to see breathtaking vistas. You can reach elevations of 5,000+ ft. Our mile-by-mile guide of the… read more

Drive the Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge to see breathtaking vistas. You can reach elevations of 5,000+ ft. Our mile-by-mile guide of the Parkway covers the 193-mile section near Asheville. Along the way, plan to stop to visit the Folk Art Center or discover one of the other fun things to do along one of the most scenic drives in the…

Stand-Up Paddleboard Trips

Find the best places to stand-up paddleboard in and near Asheville on the pristine waters of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rent SUPs, take lessons and even take a guided river trip. Fun way to see… read more

Find the best places to stand-up paddleboard in and near Asheville on the pristine waters of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rent SUPs, take lessons and even take a guided river trip. Fun way to see fall color, too!

Sliding Rock & Swimming Holes

Be a kid again and splash around in a cool mountain swimming hole. Ride down Sliding Rock, swim under a waterfall, sun on a mountain beach or pristine lake, or spend a lazy day tubing down a river… read more

Be a kid again and splash around in a cool mountain swimming hole. Ride down Sliding Rock, swim under a waterfall, sun on a mountain beach or pristine lake, or spend a lazy day tubing down a river.

Pet-Friendly Guide

Traveling with your dog? See our Pet-Friendly Guide to Asheville and the North Carolina mountains that includes lodging, hiking, Biltmore, kennels, dog parks and more.

Traveling with your dog? See our Pet-Friendly Guide to Asheville and the North Carolina mountains that includes lodging, hiking, Biltmore, kennels, dog parks and more.

Top 20 Family Friendly Things To Do

Find plenty of outdoor adventures for kids of all ages, including a special KidZip, educational trails, nature centers and more.

Find plenty of outdoor adventures for kids of all ages, including a special KidZip, educational trails, nature centers and more.

DuPont State Forest

Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride a multitude of trails to see many waterfalls and lakes on 10,000 acres. Plus, picnic on mountaintops and swim at Hooker Falls. Visitor center, free admission… read more

Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride a multitude of trails to see many waterfalls and lakes on 10,000 acres. Plus, picnic on mountaintops and swim at Hooker Falls. Visitor center, free admission.

Golf in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Scenic mountain beauty and a pleasant climate provide a magnificent setting for a day of golf in Asheville and nearby towns and resorts. Lush fairways, sprawling bent grass greens, cool breezes… read more

Scenic mountain beauty and a pleasant climate provide a magnificent setting for a day of golf in Asheville and nearby towns and resorts. Lush fairways, sprawling bent grass greens, cool breezes and a gently undulating terrain.

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… read more

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.

Asheville Urban Trail

(1.7-mile loop, easy) This outdoors museum is a self-guided walking tour on the sidewalks of downtown Asheville, leading to 30 sculptures that depict local history.

(1.7-mile loop, easy) This outdoors museum is a self-guided walking tour on the sidewalks of downtown Asheville, leading to 30 sculptures that depict local history.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Top 30 in NC

Explore the most visited national park in the country! See our top places and things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina side near Asheville. Four entrances to the Park are… read more

Explore the most visited national park in the country! See our top places and things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina side near Asheville. Four entrances to the Park are within 60 miles of downtown Asheville.

Great Smoky & Tsali Mountain Biking, NC

Find mountain biking heaven in the Nantahala National Forest with 40 miles of trails overlooking Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains. Located near Bryson City, where you can find bike… read more

Find mountain biking heaven in the Nantahala National Forest with 40 miles of trails overlooking Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains. Located near Bryson City, where you can find bike rentals and supplies.

Gem Mining Top Spots

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 areas are open from spring through autumn. Also… read more

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 areas are open from spring through autumn. Also tour several gem and mineral museums.

Top 20 Picnic Spots

Dine outdoors in nature! Plan a picnic at some amazing locations where you can enjoy sweet views.

Dine outdoors in nature! Plan a picnic at some amazing locations where you can enjoy sweet views.

18 Scenic Drives

See gorgeous countryside, mountain views and charming communities on a windshield tour via national and state scenic byways near Asheville. Lots of opportunities for stops along the way. 

See gorgeous countryside, mountain views and charming communities on a windshield tour via national and state scenic byways near Asheville. Lots of opportunities for stops along the way. 

Pisgah National Forest

This 500,000+ natonal forest surrounds Asheville and features some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery. Not to mention, the best recreational opportunities in eastern North America… read more

This 500,000+ natonal forest surrounds Asheville and features some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery. Not to mention, the best recreational opportunities in eastern North America with whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails.

Lake Glenville

This pristine reservoir near Cashiers has the highest elevation of any lake east of the Mississippi. Signal Ridge Marina rents a variety of Bennington pontoons and tritoons, as well as tubes,… read more

This pristine reservoir near Cashiers has the highest elevation of any lake east of the Mississippi. Signal Ridge Marina rents a variety of Bennington pontoons and tritoons, as well as tubes, paddleboards, skis, wakeboards and kneeboards. There's even a beach!

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.

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.

Hike the Highest Trails in the East

With more than 100 miles of public hiking trails, including the highest trails in the eastern United States, Burnsville has been called the Hiking Capital of Western North Carolina.

With more than 100 miles of public hiking trails, including the highest trails in the eastern United States, Burnsville has been called the Hiking Capital of Western North Carolina.

Chimney Rock Park

See breathtaking 75-mile views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hickory Nut Gorge, and Lake Lure. The park also features the highest waterfall in an NC State Park and hiking trails. Shopping and… read more

See breathtaking 75-mile views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hickory Nut Gorge, and Lake Lure. The park also features the highest waterfall in an NC State Park and hiking trails. Shopping and dining located at the park entrance.

Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking

We are lucky enough to have six rivers near Asheville that are good for rafting and kayaking. Find professional companies that provide rafting guides, so no experience is necessary. You can even… read more

We are lucky enough to have six rivers near Asheville that are good for rafting and kayaking. 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.

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 and snowboarding. 

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 and snowboarding. 

Linville Gorge

Find some of the most spectacular scenery with many hikes along the rim to peaks like Table Rock, Hawksbill and Shortoff. And don't forget Linville Falls!

Find some of the most spectacular scenery with many hikes along the rim to peaks like Table Rock, Hawksbill and Shortoff. And don't forget Linville Falls!

Cradle of Forestry

Travel back in time with historic cabins, crafters, old logging equipment, guided tours, movies, food and shopping. Home of the first forestry school (opened in 1898) in America. In Pisgah… read more

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

Mountain Biking

So many options for mountain bike riders of all skill levels. Plus, bike the Blue Ridge Parkway or a greenway.

So many options for mountain bike riders of all skill levels. Plus, bike the Blue Ridge Parkway or a greenway.

Thermal Belt Rail Trail

Bike, jog and walk the 13.5 paved rail-to-trail path that connects the towns of Ruth, Rutherfordton, Spindale and Forest City - with plenty to see along the way.

Bike, jog and walk the 13.5 paved rail-to-trail path that connects the towns of Ruth, Rutherfordton, Spindale and Forest City - with plenty to see along the way.

Glamping Near Asheville

Find our top glamping locations near Asheville. This combination of glamour and camping satisfies both the city slicker and nature lover. Arrive to a fully set up mountain campsite in our Blue… read more

Find our top glamping locations near Asheville. This combination of glamour and camping satisfies both the city slicker and nature lover. Arrive to a fully set up mountain campsite in our Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, no assembly or equipment required. 

Best 75 Mountain Hikes

There are thousands of miles of hiking trails near Asheville, many of which are in pristine national forests or parks. We picked our favorites and created extensive guides for each with photos and… read more

There are thousands of miles of hiking trails near Asheville, many of which are in pristine national forests or parks. We picked our favorites and created extensive guides for each with photos and details. Find hikes for all skill levels in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.

Appalachian Trail Day Hikes near Asheville

Take a "walk in the woods" in the most scenic sections of the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail near Asheville, high in the North Carolina mountains. See our favorite six-day hikes for all fitness… read more

Take a "walk in the woods" in the most scenic sections of the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail near Asheville, high in the North Carolina mountains. See our favorite six-day hikes for all fitness levels.

Bikers, hikers, and explorers—we hope you’ll enjoy the many things to do outdoors in the Blue Ridge Mountains, WNC, and the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina near Asheville. To help you plan the best trip, see our Waterfalls & Hiking Safety Tips. While bear sightings are rare, see our Bear Safety Tips. Please remember to Leave No Trace.

Thinking of Relocating

Explore moving, retirement and real estate options in Asheville and Western North Carolina

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