15 Blue Ridge Parkway Quick Hikes near Asheville

15 Quick Hikes, Blue Ridge Parkway

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.

Blue Ridge Parkway Ranger Guided Hikes near Asheville
Take a hike with National Park Rangers. 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, August 18, 2017: Blue Ridge Parkway Hike of the Week “The Stories of Pisgah” -  Join Parkway rangers at 10 AM for a moderate, 1.5-mile round trip hike part way up the Mount Pisgah Trail. Explore the history of the area and hear some of its unique stories. Meet at the Mount Pisgah Parking Area at Milepost 407.6.  The Mount Pisgah trailhead access road is located across from the picnic area.  

Friday, August 25, 2017: Blue Ridge Parkway Hike of the Week “Getting Loopy on the Parkway” -  Join Parkway rangers at 10 AM for an easy, 1.4-mile hike on the Visitor Center Loop Trail.  This is a great trail to introduce your young explorers to hiking or a great way to get back into hiking yourself. Learn how light and noise pollution can affect our animal populations and the steps we can all do to help. Meet at the lower end of the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center parking lot in Asheville at Milepost 384.8.

Parkway Quick Hikes near Asheville (North to South)

Rough Ridge
Rough Ridge
(1.5 to 8 miles round-trip, moderate to strenuous) This unique hike offers plenty of breathtaking viewpoints and a wooden boardwalk over fragile vegetation. The Tanawha Trail features many rock outcrops to enjoy the sweeping mountain views. Turn around at anytime or continue the trail to Beacon Heights (4 miles).
Beacon Heights
Beacon Heights
(1 mile round-trip, easy) A quick walk to the summit has a big payoff with spectacular views from several rock platforms to explore safely. Take a picnic! Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 305.
Flat Rock Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway
Flat Rock Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway
(6/10 mile, easy) Hike a loop trail to a flat rock summit with expansive views and great picnic spots. Hidden away at Milepost 308.3 on the Blue Ridge Parkway - near Linville Falls. 
Linville Falls
Linville Falls
Probably the most photographed waterfall in North Carolina is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 316). Trails lead to views of both the upper and lower falls. A moderate hike of 1.6 miles round-trip offers four overlooks. Also see Dugger Creek Falls here.
Crabtree Falls
Crabtree Falls
(3 miles round-trip, moderate) This gorgeous 70-ft. waterfall along the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 339), near Linville Falls, is accessed by a looped woodland hiking trail.
Mt. Mitchell Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig
Mt. Mitchell Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig
(Up to 9 miles round-trip, moderate) Our favorite quick hike at Mount Mitchell is the Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig, a two-mile round-trip hike. Continue on the Deep Gap Trail for another 3.5 miles. For a more challenging hike, take the 5.5-mile Mt. Mitchell Trail from the Black Mountain Campground.
Big Butt Trail NC
Big Butt Trail
(4.5 miles round-trip, strenuous) This lofty hike keeps you above 5,000 ft. elevation as you hike to Point Misery and Little Butt, so it's perfect for a hot summer's day. On the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mt. Mitchell. 
Craggy Pinnacle Hike
Craggy Pinnacle
(1.4 miles round-trip, strenuous) For our favorite 360-degree mountain view along the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike to the top of this 5,892-ft. peak at Craggy Gardens. 
Craggy Gardens Trail
Craggy Gardens Trail
(1 mile, easy) Walk across a mile-high bald filled with rhododendron, wildflowers and mountain views. Access the trail from the Craggy Picnic Grounds or Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 
Mt. Pisgah
Mt. Pisgah
(3 miles round-trip, strenuous) Mt. Pisgah can be seen from downtown Asheville on a clear day. Hike up to the top of the 5,721-ft. summit on this popular hiking trail. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 407.6.
Fryingpan Mountain Tower NC
Fryingpan Tower
(1.5 miles round-trip, moderate) Avoid the crowds at neighboring Mt. Pisgah and get better views with this hike to the historic fire tower. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 409.6. 
Graveyard Fields
Graveyard Fields
(1-4 mile options, moderate) This very popular spot features two waterfalls in a mile-high valley filled with wildflowers and surrounded by Blue Ridge Mountains' 6,000-ft. peaks. Second Falls is just 1/3 mile from the parking area. The Graveyard Fields Loop is about four miles. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 419.
Black Balsam Knob
Black Balsam Knob
(1-10 miles, moderate) For sweeping 360-degree views, hike across these bald mountaintops. Almost entirely devoid of trees above 6,000 ft., the summit is more reminiscent of New England than North Carolina. Black Balsam Knob is part of the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail, so you can hike as far as you want. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 420.
Devil's Courthouse
Devil's Courthouse
(1 mile round-trip, moderate) This short-but-steep trail climbs a half-mile to the peak for spectacular views. The bare rock profile named Devil's Courthouse is sinister in appearance and legend. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 422.
Richland Balsam
Richland Balsam
(1.5-mile loop, easy) Hike the top of the highest summit along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the cool forest. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 431.
Waterrock Knob
Waterrock Knob
(2.4 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike to the summit (6,292 ft.) of the 16th highest mountain in the eastern United States. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 451.

Watch our Video: Devil's Courthouse Hike

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. 
  • 344.1 Woods Mountain Trail: USFS trail. 10.6 miles, moderate/strenuous.
  • 350.4 Green Knob Lookout Tower. A tower with 360-degree views is a 1/2-mile hike. Moderate/strenuous.
  • 355.0 Bald Knob Ridge Trail: USFS Trail. Virgin red spruce and Fraser fir. 2.8 miles, easy. 
  • 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.
  • 397.3 Grassy Knob Trail: Steep trail to USFS area. 0.9 mile, strenuous. 
  • 397.3 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Sleepy Gap-Chestnut Cove. 0.7 mile, moderate. 
  • 398.3 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Chestnut Cove-Bent Creek Gap. 2.8 miles, strenuous.
  • 400.3 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Bent Creek Gap-Beaver Dam Gap. 1.9 miles, moderate. 
  • 401.7 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Beaver Dam Gap-Stoney Bald. 0.9 mile, moderate.
  • 402.6 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Stoney Bald-Big Ridge. 1.2 miles, strenuous.
  • 403.6 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Big Ridge-Mills River Valley. 1.1 miles, moderate/strenuous.
  • 404.5 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Mills River Valley-Elk Pasture Gap. 1.2 miles, strenuous. 
  • 405.5 Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Elk Pasture Gap-Mt. Pisgah. 1.7 miles, strenuous.
  • 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.
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