2023 is the Year of the Trail in North Carolina, and we're celebrating by showcasing a different Featured Hike each week. If you'd like to hike with us on one of the Featured Hikes, head to our Trips Calendar and book a private hike!

Craggy Gardens (Asheville, NC)

Primary Trailhead: Craggy Gardens Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Early June is the perfect time to head up to Craggy Gardens and check out the rhododendrons blooming!  From the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area on the Parkway, the hike is just under 1 mile up to Craggy Meadows, a large grassy field filled with wildflowers and blueberry bushes.  A historic CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) shelter provides a bit of shade and protection from the weather.  While this hike is short, it’s a bit steep and rocky, so beginner hikers and younger kids may want to hike slowly.  The views from Craggy Gardens are beautiful, but it is often foggy.  Pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful views from the Picnic Area after your hike!

We offer this as a guided hike!  This makes a great family-friendly Half Day Hike.

John Rock (Pisgah Forest, NC)

Primary Trailhead: Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education (Fish Hatchery) in Pisgah National Forest

A lot of times our hikers ask us for a hike that has both waterfalls and mountaintop views, and this is one of the few hikes in the area that has both!  In a 5.5-mile moderate hike, the John Rock Loop meanders along the Davidson River, climbs to fantastic views of Looking Glass Rock and the Great Balsams, and passes Cedar Rock Falls and Upper Cedar Rock Falls.  It’s a win-win!  This hike begins from the parking lot of the (now closed) Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, which suffered substantial damage during Hurricane Fred in 2021.  If you begin your hike on the side of the parking lot farthest from the building on the Cat Gap Loop Trail, the trail stays along the river for about 1 mile before beginning the climb up John Rock.  Around 2 miles in, there’s a short trail to the right which goes out to the rock outcropping for excellent views and a great spot to take a break.  About a mile before the end, you’ll pass Cedar Rock Falls.  This hike is a guide favorite, and once you check it out, you’ll see why!

We offer this as a guided hike!  It is a good Half Day Hike for very fit hikers, or a fun Full Day Hike if you like to hike a little bit slower.

Bearwallow Mountain (Gerton, NC)

Primary Trailhead: Bearwallow Mountain Trailhead

If you’re looking for a short, family friendly or beginner hike close to Asheville, Bearwallow is a fantastic option!  I like to hike this as a 2-mile loop, hiking up the trail to the pastures and down the gravel road.  The fields at the top of this hike are part of an active cow pasture, so watch your step!  This is a fantastic sunrise/sunset hike, too, since it affords almost 360-degree views, and there is plenty of space to spread out with a picnic blanket.  If you’d like to extend the hike, you continue past the summit onto the Wildcat Rock Trail, which goes through a few more open fields before passing Wildcat Rock and Little Bearwallow Falls on the way to the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Trailhead (4 miles each way past the Bearwallow summit).

This hike is only available as a guided hike if it includes yoga or mediataion.  Reach out to our office for info about custom hike options!

Cedar Rock (Brevard, NC)

Primary Trailhead: Corn Mill Shoals Trailhead in Dupont State Forest

Cedar Rock is tucked away is a much less crowded corner of Dupont State Forest than the Waterfall Loop we featured previously.  This hike is a great option for days when you’re looking for great views, but want to stay at a lower elevation.  It is home to some of the only slickrock (smooth, wind-polished rock) in the southeast, making it a popular destination with mountain bikers as well as hikers.  I like to start out on the Little River Trail along the river, the climb up the Cedar Rock Trail.  There are several fantastic spots to take a snack break near the junction of the Cedar Rock Trail and Big Rock Trail, at the top of Cedar Rock.  Because it’s low elevation, wildflowers show up early and fall leaves hang on late, making this a great shoulder season hike!

We offer this as a guided hike!  This is a fantastic Half Day Hike year round.