A pleasant stroll around the lake
1.75 miles: Easy
When it comes to cabin rentals, North Carolina has few places that compare to Asheville when it comes to offering a close-by, easy hiking attraction like Lake Powhatan. The lake sits in the woods, surrounded by the mountains. The peaceful lake can be found in Bent Creek, a national forest area so close to Asheville that residents treat it like their local park.
On summer weekends, you can expect to see quite a few people sunbathing on the beach or splashing in the swimming area. A few benches and a large dock offer a nice place to sit and enjoy the pleasant setting. Anglers cast for stocked trout and birders look for woodland songbirds and the occasional migrating waterfowl.
From early May through late October, the Forest Service charges a small entrance fee to the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area within Bent Creek. By walking a couple of hundred yards from the nearby Hard Times Trailhead, however, you can avoid paying the fee.
On the trail
From the Hard Times Trailhead, walk past the gate and down the gravel road to an intersection with another gravel road. Take a right and begin walking around the lake. Soon, a wooden bridge crosses Bent Creek, which feeds the lake. Follow the trail to the beach, then cross the beach to meet the trail again. The trail loops around to the gravel road that leads back to the Hard Times Trailhead.
From your Asheville cabin at Willow Winds, take a right on Sweeten Creek Road. Drive 0.5 miles and then take a left on Rock Hill Road at the traffic light. Drive one mile down and then take a left on Hendersonville Road. Just 0.2 miles down, take a right onto the entrance ramp for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take a right on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Exit the parkway just past mile 393, at the North Carolina Arboretum. Pass the arboretum and take a left on Brevard Road, also known as NC 191. At the next traffic light, take a left on Wesley Branch Road. Follow this road into Bent Creek. Look for the Hard Times Trailhead sign on the left.