If “hiking” is a bit intense for you, your dog, or your knees, we’ve got you covered. This wonderful 2.4-mile round-trip trail features stunning views of the French Broad River along mostly flat terrain. It’s perfect for a stroll, brisk walk, jog, or run. If Fido is up for some good old doggo fun, he can get let loose at the off-leash park. You can access the trail conveniently from downtown Asheville. This is your chance to enjoy incomparable NC scenery close to the city!
Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. A bit more challenging, you can explore rocky terrain and get your second wind, thanks to the cooler temperatures. If you take the Old Mitchell Trail Loop, you’ll come across a small waterfall (and if it’s a hot autumn day, feel free to cool off!). The Summit and Balsam Nature Trail is a mile-high hike that’s well worth the effort. Take a minute to breathe in the sweet scent of balsam firm and ooh and aww over the 360-degree vistas.
The trails range from one to four miles, and, if you have time, you can combine them to make a whole day of it.
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Crabtree Falls takes you through a scenic forest where the peace and quiet envelope and refresh you. At about a mile in, you’ll come across the waterfall. Crabtree Creek plunges over 70 feet into a deep pool, making for swoon-worthy photo ops. After entering the trailhead at Crabtree Falls Campground, elevation decreases steadily. At the waterfall, many hikers opt to turn around and ascend on their way back. You can also continue on for a scenic adventure - and another waterfall!
The Mountains to Sea Trail brings you to Devil’s Courthouse, an immensely popular lookout spot, where people love to enjoy the stunning views over a picnic. But it can get crowded, so why not continue on to Black Balsam Knob? It is a relatively short stretch of the hike - but an intense one. If you’re up to the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with - dare we say? - the best views in North Carolina. And that’s saying a lot!
This trail, too, is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It offers a different sort of beauty compared to Black Balsam Knob. You’ll hike through a gorgeous hardwood forest and a historic road to the remains of the Rattlesnake Lodge. Poke around and explore this piece of North Carolina heritage. We love this trail for two key reasons: one, it’s quieter and less traveled compared to options like the Devil’s Courthouse, and, two, in the autumn, it explodes with beautiful color. The beauty of fall foliage in Asheville cannot be missed!
Other great fall hikes include Catawba Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Carolina Mountain Trail, and Pine Tree Loop Trail (in Avery Creek). Where will you and Fido go for your next adventure?
Wait… before you head out:
- Make sure your dog is ready. If your pet is new to hiking, try shorter, easier trails at first. A stroll through Rattlesnake or Carrier Park is a great way to start. It’s a good idea to speak with your vet and make sure your dog is healthy for hiking - and has flea and tick prevention on board!
- Pack the Right Gear. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing and layers. It can start cool, get hot, and then get chilly as you navigate mountain trails! Be prepared. You’ll also need sunscreen, water (for you and your dog), proper shoes/boots, hiking snacks… you know the drill.
- Bring dog waste disposal bags. Please clean up after your pet so we can all enjoy the trails - without worrying about stepping in something unpleasant!
- Bring a leash. Always keep your dog leashed unless you are in designated off-leash areas. Be sure that your dog can respond to basic commands (come, sit, etc.) when he is off-leash.
Asheville, North Carolina boasts some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the world. These great fall trails allow us to enjoy them with our favorite four-legged friends. So, get out there and turn an ordinary walk into a memorable adventure. Before you head out for a hike, schedule a wellness checkup for your dog.