Kid-Friendly Hikes Near Asheville

Updated April14, 2017

View from atop Bearwallow Mountain. Photo credit: Christine Robinson

View from atop Bearwallow Mountain. Photo credit: Christine Robinson

This summer-like weather has us itching to hit the trails! So we've updated one of our most popular blogs for the season. 

There are SO MANY great hikes in the Asheville area, so we've narrowed it down to a few of our favorite easy hikes for kidsWhether you are a seasoned hiker or just getting acquainted with the trails of western North Carolina, it can be a little daunting to set out with young kids!

Here’s a few of our favorite hikes to take with children, all within a short drive of downtown Asheville. 

Best Easy Hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway: Craggy Gardens

A great hike for beginners and families with young children. You’ll find the short, 0.9 mile trail just off the Craggy Gardens parking lot off the Blue Ridge Parkway (about 20 minutes by car, north of Asheville - milepost 364.5). There are a few steep spots, so hikers need to be sure-footed (and have a plan for wrangling toddlers if necessary) but the views are wonderful. This trail is especially popular in June when the Rhododendrons are in bloom. It’s truly a spectacular sight!

And if you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can also try the Craggy Pinnacle Trail from the same parking area. It’s just under a mile-and-a-half and you’ll see some breathtaking mountain views. Click here for a helpful map of the area and trails. 

Best Playground Hike: Montreat Gate Trail

This hike gets bonus points for ending at one of the Asheville area's best playgrounds! Park your car just past the Montreat Gate and find the trailhead. It’s an easy hike, just under a mile, and ends at the Nature Center and Robert Lake Park. The park is famous for the creeks that run through it, perfect for skipping stones and splashing around. There are multiple play structures tucked away in the woods, making it a nice retreat even on hot summer days. You can find a map of all the area trails here.

Best Easy Hike to Waterfalls: Dupont Waterfalls Tour 

There are multiple hikes with access to some of the area’s best waterfalls from the Hooker Falls Parking Area in Dupont State Forest (between Brevard and Hendersonville). Choose hikes starting at just over an easy half-mile to a more strenuous (and long!) 6 miles. From the parking area, there’s an easy path to Hooker, Triple, and High Falls - three of the Asheville area’s most popular waterfalls. If you’re feeling like a challenge, continue on to Grassy Creek and Bridal Veil Falls (with the added treat of crossing a covered bridge). Hooker Falls has become a popular swimming hole, so be prepared for some crowds if you visit in the summer.

Best Easy(ish) Hike With a Phenomenal View: Bearwallow Mountain

We're calling this one "easy-ish" because it's a bit longer and has some more of a vertical climb than the others. But it's so worth it for the view! Double bonus, there are cows pasturing at the bald on top, so you may get to see them grazing. Our kiddos have been doing this hike (with some rests along the way) since they were around 3 years old, for toddlers you'll want to bring a hiking backpack.

Bearwallow Mountain is near Gerton, NC - just under 20 miles from central Asheville and overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge and on the way to Lake Lure. To get there, we recommend following Romantic Asheville's driving directions. Your GPS will not get you there! From the parking area, find the metal gate and pass through to Bearwallow Mountain Trail. The hike is about a mile up through the woods to an open bald at the top. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy while you rest before returning down. You can either go back the way you came, or take the gravel road for a slightly straighter path. Make a day of it an plan to hit up the beach at Lake Lure or Hickory Nut Gap Farm while you're out that way!

Hope to see you on the trails!


Christine Robinson

Doulas of Asheville is western North Carolina's premier doula agency, providing birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and placenta specialists to Asheville families. We are proud to support any and all birthing choices, parenting styles. Our postpartum doulas are available to support families with new babies around the clock, from a few daytime shifts, to overnight newborn care, to 24-hour live-in support.