Enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway by exploring some of its many hiking trails near Asheville. There’s a big variety of hikes, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous climbs. Since finding the perfect day hike that offers plenty of mountain scenery can be a challenge, we've put together our list of the Top 15 Quick & Easy Parkway Hikes. All of these hiking trails are easy to find and less than four miles, while providing plenty of reward for all fitness levels. For a full-page guide with photos of each hike, click the links.
These hikes are located at various spots along a 120-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, starting from the north near Grandfather Mountain and working south. During the winter months, these trails are often inaccessible since sections of the Parkway often close for snow and ice. Also find biking tips at the bottom. Read more about current Parkway closures. (Photo above: Rough Ridge)
Blue Ridge Parkway Ranger Guided Hikes near Asheville
If you prefer a guided group hike, meet up on Friday mornings during the summer and fall with a Park Ranger. They usually announce locations about 10-14 days in advance, so check back here for the latest options during summer and fall. Bring water, wear sturdy shoes or boots, and prepare for changing weather. For more information, call 828-298-5330, extension 304. Free admission.
- Friday, September 13, 2019: Blue Ridge Parkway Hike of the Week: “Over the Hills and Far Away” - Join Parkway rangers at 10 AM for an easy to moderate, 2.2-mile round-trip hike through the Sam Knob area. Known for its expansive wide open views of the surrounding mountain range and rolling hills, this hike will offer a unique look of the Shining Rock Wilderness. Meet at the parking area at the end of the Black Balsam Road (Forest Service Road 816) at Milepost 420.2.
- Friday, September 20, 2019: Blue Ridge Parkway Hike of the Week: “Tall Towers and Tall Tales” - Join Parkway rangers at 10AM for an easy to moderate, 1.5-mile round-trip hike to the Frying Pan Fire Tower. Learn about the history of fire towers, as well as superstitions and tall tales of the Appalachian Mountains as we take in some of the fantastic views that the Parkway has to offer. Meet at the Frying Pan Trail pullout at Milepost 409.6, 1 mile south of the Pisgah Inn and the campground. Park at the gravel Forest Service Road, but don't block the gate.
- Friday, September 27, 2019: Blue Ridge Parkway Hike of the Week: “Keeping It on the Down-Low”- Join Parkway rangers at 10AM for a moderate, 2 mile round-trip hike along the Big Butt Trail. Most people visit the Parkway for our beautiful, long distance views, but the up-close and personal views are equally spectacular! Come investigate the small, but significant world of mosses and lichen. We’ll touch on the basics of these miniature powerhouses and look at how tiny things can play big roles. Meet at the Walker Knob Overlook (Milepost 359.8), about five miles north of Craggy Gardens.
- Friday, October 4, 2019: Blue Ridge Parkway Hike of the Week: “The Devil’s In the Details”- Join Parkway rangers at 10AM for a moderate, 1-mile round trip hike to the top of Devil's Courthouse for fantastic panoramic views of four states. Come learn about this high elevation landmark and delve into all the details of what makes Devil's Courthouse such a special place. Meet at the Devils Courthouse Overlook at Milepost 422.2.
Parkway Quick Hikes near Asheville (North to South)
Hiking Trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway: Complete List
Stop at any of these mileposts on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Asheville, North Carolina, area for a hike (listed north to south). Click links for more details!
- Milepost 294 Moses Cone Manor, variety of trails.
- 297 Price Lake Loop Trail, easy walk of 2.3 miles.
- 302.8 Rough Ridge 3/4-mile with wonderful views on a boardwalk atop a rocky ridge, on Tanawha Trail.
- 304.4 Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center and Tanawha Trail.
- 305.2 Beacon Heights Trail, one mile round-trip with panoramic views from a rock face mountaintop, on Tanawha Trail.
- 308.2 Flat Rock Trail: Loop with panoramic views from rock summit. 0.63 mile, easy.
- 316.4 Linville Falls Trail: Trails to multiple overlooks of the waterfall and Linville Gorge. 1-4 miles.
- 320.8 Chestoa View Trail: 30-minute loop to vista. 0.6 mile. easy.
- 339.5 Crabtree Falls: Loop trail to view waterfalls. 3 miles, strenuous.
- 350.4 Green Knob Lookout Tower. A tower with 360-degree views is a 1/2-mile hike. Moderate/strenuous.
- 355.4 Mt. Mitchell State Park & Mt. Craig.
- 359.8 Big Butt Trail: Highland trail to Pt. Misery and Little Big Butt. 6.2 miles, strenuous.
- 361.2 Glassmine Falls: Just a few steps out of the parking area to a view of Falls. 0.05 mile, moderate.
- 364.2 Craggy Pinnacle Trail: See a spectacular panoramic view from the summit. 0.7 mile, moderate.
- 364.6 Craggy Gardens Trail: Beautiful displays of Catawba Rhododendron bloom in June. 0.8 mile, moderate.
- 374.4 Rattlesnake Lodge Trail: Woodland walk up the ridge to old homestead site, now just walls and foundations. 0.5 mile, moderate.
- 382.0 Mountain-to-Sea Trail: MTS Trail from Folk Art Center to Milepost 365. The Mountain-to-Sea Trail roughly parallels the Parkway through most of the NC mountains.
- 393.7 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Bent Creek-Walnut Cove. 3.1 miles, strenuous.
- 396.4 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Walnut Cove-Sleepy Gap. 1.7 miles, moderate.
- 407.6 Mt. Pisgah Trail: Hike to summit view from 5721 ft.. 1.3 miles, strenuous.
- 407.6 Buck Springs Trail: Pisgah Inn Lodge to view. 1.06 miles, easy/moderate.
- 408.5 Frying Pan Mountain Trail: Historic fire tower with views. 3/4-mile trail, moderate.
- 417.0 Skinny Dip Falls: Park at Looking Glass Rock overlook for 1/2-mile hike to popular summer swimming hole.
- 418.8 Graveyard Fields Loop Trail: Loop by a stream with several waterfalls. 2.3 miles, moderate.
- 420.2 Black Balsam Bald & Art Loeb Trail. Outstanding hike across the balds with several hike options. 1-5 miles.
- 422.4 Devil's Courthouse Trail: Panoramic summit view. 0.4 mile, moderate/strenuous.
- 431.0 Richland Balsam Trail: Self-guiding loop through spruce-fir forest near the highest point on the Parkway. 1.5 miles, moderate.
- 451.2 Waterrock Knob Trail: Summit view. 1.2 miles, moderate/strenuous.
Blue Ridge Parkway Biking Rules & Regulations
- Bicycle riders must comply with all applicable state and federal motor vehicle regulations.
- Bicycles may be ridden only on paved road surfaces and parking areas. Bicycles, including mountain bikes, may not be ridden on trails or walkways.
- The bicycle operator must exhibit a while light or reflector visible at least 500 feet to the front and a red light or reflector visible at least 200 feet to the rear during periods of low visibility, between the hours of sunset and sunrise, or while traveling through a tunnel.
- Bicycles must be ridden single file except when passing or turning left and well to the right-hand side of the road.
- Bicycle speed must be reasonable for control with regard to traffic, weather, road and light conditions.
- Wear a bicycle helmet.
- Watch out for tourists driving their cars and looking at the scenery instead of the road.
- Be sure your bicycle is in good operating condition. Carry a spare tube and tools for minor repairs.
- Take a cell phone. However, you will not have good reception in many remote areas.
- Wear high visibility clothing. It sets you apart from the scenery and makes you more visible to motorists.
- Avoid the Parkway during periods of low visibility. Fog and rain may occur unpredictably.
- Exercise caution when riding through tunnels. Please be sure your bicycle is equipped with the proper lights or reflectors. When you go from bright sunshine to a dark tunnel, your eyes will not adjust fast enough to see the road. So go slow or walk your bike. There are no lights in the tunnels.
- Temperatures vary greatly along the Parkway due to different elevations. Wear your clothing in layers, if possible.
- Safe drinking water is available at all picnic areas, campgrounds, concession operations, and visitor centers. But these are far apart. Water from streams and springs is unsafe for drinking unless you purify it.
- Make an honest evaluation of your abilities before beginning a bicycle trip on the Parkway. In some sections, you will climb as much as 1,100 feet in 3.4 miles.
- Ride single file. When cycling in a group, adjust your spacing to allow motor vehicles to pass safely.