Where should we go on our hike?
March 16, 2012 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Suggestions for the absolute best short hike near Asheville, NC?

My fiancee and I are heading to Asheville for a very short weekend. We will have approximately five hours to go on a hike (in order to fit in the other things we want to do.) I'm looking for suggestions of the most beautiful, scenic, or otherwise awesome options for hiking that are within one hour's drive of downtown and can be completed in 2 to 4 hours. We will also have our dog with us. This will be next week, so not warm enough to swim, but pretty waterfalls or swimming holes, etc are also bonuses.

I grew up hiking in western NC but haven't been back in years, and my fiancee has never been, so I really want to wow her with gorgeous views and lots of wildflowers.

posted by ohsnapdragon to Travel & Transportation around Asheville, NC (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Graveyard Fields loop near Mount Pisgah (BRP MP 419) is the obvious suggestion for falls and flowers, though it's sufficiently well-known that you're likely to have lots of company.
posted by holgate at 9:01 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

DuPont Forest, in Brevard (about 45 minutes from downtown A-ville). Likewise Gorges (a few miles further down the road). The latter has can be a bit tougher, ups and downs wise, particularly after a rain (and it rains a lot there). Both have lots of seriously magnificent waterfalls and tend to be slightly less crowded than Pisgah National Forest (which is frankly awesome and also pretty much in the same place). This time of year, there's not usually that much trail traffic, but it's been an awfully mild spring, so you never know.
posted by thivaia at 9:04 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's a little more than an hour outside of town, but Linville Falls is well worth seeing.
posted by Daily Alice at 9:19 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Gorges for great views of waterfalls. If you go to Gorges, be sure to drive an extra five minutes or so before or after your hike to see Whitewater Falls.

Metafilter's own netbros had a Western N.C. hiking site called Meanderthals, but it looks like it is no longer available. The flickr photos are still available.
posted by Frank Grimes at 10:23 AM on March 16, 2012

Yes, Gorges. And the weather might surprise you- it's supposed to get up to 77 here today.

If you are staying downtown, I strongly recommend having breakfast at Cafe Ello's on Haywood St.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:40 AM on March 16, 2012

Carl Sandburg's farm.
posted by brujita at 11:15 AM on March 16, 2012

I was going to suggest the Graveyard Fields loop as well. I've only ever hiked it in late summer, but there are enough interesting features (waterfalls, fields, boardwalks) that I imagine it's pretty in any season. It should definitely fit within your time restraints.
posted by geeky at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here are two good references:

I have always been partial to the Craggy Gardens area, it is so close to town on the Parkway and so pretty. Lots of different trails with views (Craggy Pinnacle, Snowball Mountain, Lane Pinnacle) and waterfalls too. (Douglas Falls, Mineral Creek.)
I hiked the Big Butt trail last week and it was beautiful if a bit strenuous, (steep parts all have steps,) following a long ridge just north of Craggy. Great views of the Black Mountain range.
posted by bitslayer at 6:29 AM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

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