Asheville is one of the best places to call home, and we are constantly in awe that we get to live here. Asheville offers something for everyone. There are breweries, amazing food, a strong art community and the Biltmore Estate. Drive a few minutes out of town and you can be on one of the hundreds of quiet trails that wind through the mountains or at the base of a beautiful waterfall. Asheville kind of has it all. Don’t get us wrong — we love to travel and explore all corners of this gorgeous planet, but we always find pretty remarkable places to explore right here in our backyard. These are just a few of our favorites.
We would be happy to wake up on Roan Mountain every day for the rest of our lives. The views from these mountains make you forget all the ugliness in the world because there is only beauty in every direction. The treeless mountaintops provide views that are unobstructed by trees, giving you a clear view of the mountain ranges of Tennessee to one side and those of North Carolina on the other. Every year in June, the balds are painted with blooms from purple rhododendrons and red, orange and white flaming azaleas.
I recently found myself standing on Roan Mountain, in a grove of rhododendron, listening to the birds, watching the sun set, and trying my best to bottle the feeling of just being present in the moment. When life gets stressful and work is overwhelming, I close my eyes and go back to that spot. Everyone should have a Roan Mountain in their mind and heart to open up and breathe every now and then.
Want to get a taste of what it’s like to hike the Appalachian Trail without the rigors of actually hiking the Appalachian Trail? Go to Max Patch and hike a short piece of the iconic trek that winds its way from Georgia to Maine.
Chat with the thru-hikers you are bound to meet along the way while you take in the unreal views that seems to stretch on forever.
We promise, it will make you want to quit your job and hit the Appalachian Trail to make these North Carolina mountains your home.
This is not a place you visit in hopes of finding solitude, but it is a place that will make you revel in the magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The hike is short— under two miles roundtrip — but there is no shortage of moments that make you wonder if the view is real. The hike itself is a journey through a lush fairyland: There are ferns at your feet and a canopy of rhododendron overhead. Arrive in time for sunrise or sunset and you will leave a different person — a more grounded, humbled version of yourself. You’ll immediately start wondering how soon you can make it back to this magical place.
I think we love this waterfall as much for its beauty as for its serenity. The hike to Crabtree is under four miles roundtrip, which makes it very accessible for enthusiastic hikers, but it’s also less crowded than the roadside waterfalls that don’t require any hiking.
When you arrive, you must take some time to appreciate the splendor of it all. It is a huge waterfall, 70 feet high, and when you stand at the base you can actually feel the power of the water. Sit on the bridge at the base of the falls, close your eyes, listen to the water, and feel the spray. You can photograph the falls from here but for a better shot, cross the bridge and climb up the trail to the right side of the falls for an unobstructed view. You will not regret visiting this gem of a waterfall.
Linn Cove Viaduct
This makes our list because it is an iconic part of the Blue Ridge Parkway: The viaduct is a very photographed stretch of road that is often used on billboards and printed material advertising the stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through North Carolina. At the Linn Cove Viaduct visitors center, you can learn about the engineering of the Viaduct, the first of it’s kind in the US. It was also the last construction project done on the Parkway.
It’s definitely worth seeing if you find yourself in the area. The Viaduct is an amazing marriage of nature and engineering. Even though it’s located on a busy stretch of the Parkway, it doesn’t feel out of place. Great effort was made to not disturb the fragile ecology of Grandfather Mountain, and the result is a stunning stretch of road that almost feels like it belongs right there.
If you want to travel to a destination where you can enjoy the beauty of nature, arts and crafts, amazing food and hospitable people than Asheville is the place for you.