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For those who love hiking in nature, the Mountains-to-the-Sea Trail is adjacent to Willow Winds. The North Carolina Arboretum, which is just one exit away from Willow Winds on the Blue Ridge Parkway, has wonderful nature trails, as well as miles of jogging and biking trails. No serious hiker and lover of nature should fail to hike the trails of the Craggy Gardens in June and July to see a beautiful mountaintop display of rhododendron. It is only 23 miles from Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just a short drive from our Asheville rentals. Another popular hiking option is Chimney Rock Park and its Skyline, Hickory Nut Falls, Four Seasons, Outcroppings and Great Woodland Adventure trails. The Dupont State Forest is one of the best and least crowded hiking spots in Western North Carolina.
The hiking options in the Western North Carolina mountains also include part of the famous 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail within a short drive of our Asheville cabins. You can hike a 10-mile loop of the trail that passes through Hot Springs, about 35 miles from Asheville. Near Hot Springs, you can also try the scenic Laurel River Trail for good hiking—and fishing. Or you can explore other sections of the Appalachian Trail between the North Carolina-Georgia border and the southern boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or on or near the North Carolina-Tennessee border.
Much closer to Asheville vacation rentals, you can drive to milepost 408 on the Blue Ridge Parkway to hike the 1.6-mile trail to the 5,721-foot summit of Mount Pisgah. Also along the Parkway, you'll find many other hikes and walks of varied length and difficulty including the Rattlesnake Lodge (milepost 374.4), Devil's Courthouse (milepost 422.4) and Waterrock Knob (milepost 451.2) trails.
About 18 miles east of Asheville, the Montreat Conference Center has a number of trails open to the public. Download a free trail map here.
Just north of The Cradle of Forestry on Highway 276 near Brevard, about 40 miles from our Asheville cabin rentals, you'll find the Pink Beds Trail, named for the wildflowers that bloom here in the spring along with mountain laurel and rhododendron.
Another excellent resource for finding hiking trails in the Western North Carolina Mountains is the Carolina Mountain Club, which has an online hike finder that allows you to search by Western North Carolina region, length, degree of difficulty, Blue Ridge Parkway milepost, and by name. For example, the club lists more than 30 hikes close in to the Asheville area alone as well as hundreds of hikes a bit farther away, such as in the Smoky Mountains National Park, the Nantahala National Forest and many other areas within easy reach of mountain cabins in North Carolina.
Finally, here are 10 of our favorite hikes in western North Carolina. They include a variety of scenery and terrain. The level of difficulty varies from easy to moderate to difficult.