Asheville Hiking Guide for Families: Top Easy Trails to Explore
Spring is the perfect time to get outside and explore the natural beauty of Asheville with your family. With warmer weather and blooming wildflowers, there’s no better time to hit the trails and discover the best easy hikes in the area. From breathtaking mountain vistas to scenic waterfalls and winding creeks, Asheville has something to offer for every nature-loving family. So pack your hiking boots, grab a picnic lunch, and get ready for an adventure on one of Asheville’s best family-friendly hiking trails.
Here are some of the best easy hikes in Asheville for families to do together within city limits and beyond:
- Blue Ridge Parkway Trails The Blue Ridge Parkway offers some of the most scenic drives in the country, but it’s also home to some great hiking trails. The Graveyard Fields Trail is a popular choice for families, with a 3.2-mile loop that features two waterfalls and plenty of wild blueberries to pick. The Craggy Gardens Trail is another great option, with a 1.4-mile round trip that takes you to the summit of Craggy Pinnacle for breathtaking 360-degree views.
- Bent Creek Experimental Forest Located just south of Asheville, Bent Creek Experimental Forest is a popular destination for hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. The Bent Creek Trail is a great option for families, with a 1.5-mile loop that takes you through the forest and along the creek. You can also connect to other trails in the area, such as the Lake Powhatan Trail and the Explorer Loop Trail, for longer hikes.
- DuPont State Forest DuPont State Forest is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, with over 10,000 acres of forest, lakes, and waterfalls to explore. The High Falls Trail is a family-friendly option, with a 1.2-mile round trip that takes you to a stunning 150-foot waterfall. The Hooker Falls Trail is another great option, with a 0.3-mile round trip that leads to a beautiful swimming hole.
- Chimney Rock State Park Chimney Rock State Park offers some of the best views in Asheville, with a 535-million-year-old rock formation that towers over the surrounding landscape. The Great Woodland Adventure Trail is perfect for families with young children, with a 0.6-mile loop that features interactive exhibits and a scavenger hunt. The Hickory Nut Falls Trail is another great option, with a 1.4-mile round trip that takes you to a stunning 404-foot waterfall.
- Catawba Falls Located just outside of Asheville, Catawba Falls is a beautiful hike that takes you through the Pisgah National Forest to a 100-foot waterfall. The trail is 2.7 miles round trip and is mostly flat, making it a great option for families with children of all ages.
- Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site The Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock, just south of Asheville, offers several easy trails that are perfect for families. The Dairy Barn Trail is a short 0.3-mile loop that takes you through a historic dairy barn and offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. The Little Glassy Trail is another great option, with a 0.6-mile round trip that leads to a scenic overlook of the park.
- Warren Wilson College Trail System The Warren Wilson College Trail System offers over 25 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, with options for all skill levels. The River Trail is a popular choice for families, with a 1.7-mile loop that follows the Swannanoa River and offers plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife. The Laurel Trail is another great option, with a 1.5-mile round trip that takes you through a beautiful forest and offers stunning mountain views.
- Asheville Botanical Gardens The Asheville Botanical Gardens offers several easy trails that are perfect for families who want to explore the beauty of nature without venturing too far from the city. The Wildflower Trail is a short 0.2-mile loop that takes you through a stunning wildflower meadow, while the Fern Trail is a 0.5-mile round trip that leads to a beautiful fern garden.
- Lake Julian Park Lake Julian Park is a great destination for families who want to combine hiking with other outdoor activities, such as fishing, picnicking, and boating. The Lake Julian Trail is a short 0.8-mile loop that takes you around the lake and offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. There are also several other trails in the park that offer longer hikes and more challenging terrain.
- Richmond Hill Park Located just a few miles from downtown Asheville, Richmond Hill Park offers over 10 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. While the park is not as well-known as some of the other hiking destinations in the area, it offers a great opportunity for families to escape the crowds and explore the beauty of nature. The trails in the park range in difficulty from easy to moderate, with options for all skill levels.
- Mountains-to-Sea Trail The Mountains-to-Sea Trail is a long-distance trail that runs from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. While most hikers only tackle a small section of the trail, there are several easy stretches near Asheville that families can enjoy together. The section of the trail that runs through the Bent Creek Experimental Forest offers a beautiful 2.6-mile loop that takes you through a lush forest and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
- Black Balsam Knob Located about an hour from Asheville in the Pisgah National Forest, Black Balsam Knob is a beautiful mountain bald that offers some of the best views in the area. While the hike to the summit can be challenging for young children, there are several easy trails in the area that families can enjoy together. The Sam Knob Trail is a great option, with a 2.4-mile round trip that takes you through a beautiful forest and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
In addition to being great for families with young children, these easy hikes also offer added benefits for big kids. Hiking is a fantastic way for kids to build confidence and self-esteem, as they challenge themselves physically and mentally. It’s also a great opportunity for families to bond and spend quality time together, away from screens and other distractions. By exploring nature together, kids can develop a deeper appreciation for the environment and a sense of responsibility to protect it. Plus, hiking is a great way to stay active and healthy, which is important for kids of all ages.
So whether you’re exploring Asheville for the first time or looking for a new family adventure, these easy hikes are a great place to start. No matter which trails you choose, be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen, and always stay on the designated trails to protect the fragile ecosystem of the mountains. Don’t forget to check each website for any updates or changes before planning your visit.