One of the main reasons I moved to Asheville was to live close to trails. The ability to live so close to trails that I can explore a new one each week is one of the reasons why I think Asheville is the best place to live.
Hardly a week goes by where you won’t find me hunting for a new trail to explore. There are thousands of miles of trail winding throughout Western North Carolina. So I love it when a fellow trail-enthusiast gives me a ring to talk about areas with great trail proximity.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know there’s not a shortage of trail to be explored. Most of the area’s most storied, idyllic, and popular trailheads can be found within a short 30-60 minute trip from the Asheville area.
From time to time, I get requests from diehard, ultra-trail junkies who cannot get enough mountain air & dirt and want to find that special mountain retreat that’s super close to trails. As in 30-60 minutes is too far.
Everyone is coming to Asheville with a different relationship to trails, different trail needs, and with that an opportunity for me to show people what’s possible here in town, and in the greater Asheville area.
That’s when my left-brain kicks into high gear. I like to say that trail proximity is my specialty. The purpose of this post is to highlight a few trail-neighborhood pairings that might suit your needs as you discover what’s possible in the Asheville area.
FYI: there are endless trail proximity possibilities.
Please see accessibility resources at the end of this post.
Here are 4 spots I want to highlight today:
- West Asheville/RAD (Asheville Urban Trails)
- Wolf Laurel (Appalachian Trail)
- Brevard (Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah Forest)
- Connestee Falls (DuPont and Pisgah Forest)
West Asheville & the River Arts District Urban Trails
The River Arts District is the heart of Asheville’s creators and makers spaces. Former mills and industrial sites are now vibrant creative studios and spaces for artists to produce and display their work.
Folks living in West Asheville are conveniently situated near the River Arts District and its urban trail system which includes proximity to two wonderful recreational parks: Carrier Park and French Broad River park.
The RAD trail system itself has recently been expanded to include a 2-mile greenway in the heart of the River Arts District along the French Broad River and Lyman Street. The recent improvements connect the River Arts District along the waterfront to Downtown Asheville.
The multi-use trail also includes a dedicated bike-lane meaning there are now multiple modes of transportation possible from West Asheville to Downtown Asheville.
It’s possible to get in a solid 5-10 miles of continuous trail connectivity by including a mixture of RAD trails, neighborhood sidewalks, and trails behind the French Broad River park heading north towards New Belgium Brewery.
If you’re visiting Asheville and want a few town-trail recommendations during your visit, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wolf Laurel – trail lover’s delight
30 minutes to Asheville, 15 minutes to Burnsville, and located at the top of the world, Wolf Laurel Resort is a gated community featuring log cabins, estate homes, and buildable raw land.
At Wolf Laurel, you can access the Appalachian Trail through the forestry service gate at Bald Mountain as well as at the public trail heads. There is endless opportunity for outdoor recreation from your doorstep. In addition to the AT, there are gravel roads. If it suits your lifestyle, the country club and ski slope are nearby as a bonus.
Brevard – A haven for the trail enthusiast
If you like trails, Brevard is killer. It’s less populated than Asheville and further into the mountains. Meaning if you’re yearning for some true trail – trail with that unadulterated feel – Brevard is your place. Easy access to the Parkway and Pisgah Forest.
Homes and trails in Connestee Falls
There are literally hundreds of miles of trails throughout the Brevard region, and the ones in and around the Connestee Falls area are super elaborate and enjoyable. The trail system is extensive and well-maintained. Not to mention, the views. DuPont and Pisgah are super close.
The proximity to DuPont is great for Connestee. Another perk is that out the backside of Connestee on East Fork Road you have quick access to the brand new and very quiet Headwaters State Forest. Almost untouched by tourists, it has quite a few options.
Access DuPont from US 276. From Fawn Lake there are several 20+ mile loops all single track or gravel road.
Asheville areas close to nature trails
The last three options will take you a bit outside Asheville. If you’re hoping to be a tad closer to Asheville, I recommend looking into the following areas including West Asheville (#1 on the list above).
The Mountain-to-Sea Trail (MST) and Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) are abbreviated next to the nearby area below.
- East Asheville (MST)
- Biltmore Forest & the Ramble (BRP & MST)
- Bee Ridge Road Area (BRP & MST)
- Montreat (Montreat trails)