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!

Appalachian Trail

Primary Trailhead: Too many to count!

We were so excited to see the October 2 Google doodle that we decided this week’s featured trail is the entire 2,198 mile Appalachian Trail. A continuous footpath stretching from Maine to Georgia, the AT is nothing short of legendary. It’s said that two thirds of Americans live within a day’s drive of the Trail. Many of our guided day hikes and backpacking trips traverse the AT in Western NC, including through the Great Smoky Mountains and over the iconic Max Patch. But no matter where you find a white blaze, whether your walk is 2 miles or 2,000 miles, you are welcomed by a wilderness rich with tradition and community. So many of us have been touched, humbled, made whole by this path, and we hope to serve as responsible stewards for a long time to come.

We offer portions of the AT as a guided hike!


Lover's Leap

Primary Trailhead: AT trailhead on Serpentine Ave or NOC Boat Launch Parking in Hot Springs, NC

Lover’s Leap is a short loop hike to a classic view of the French Broad River in Hot Springs, NC. Our favorite way to do this hike is to start at the Appalachian Trail trailhead on Serpentine Ave and walk through the town of Hot Springs. Cross the French Broad River and enjoy a riverside stroll on the AT before ascending switchbacks up to the famous lookout of the town and river from above. Descend back into town via orange-blazed Lover’s Leap Trail. On your way back through town, stop for lunch or coffee at one of the delightful local eateries, and be sure to pop in to the Appalachian Trail-er, Blue Ridge Hiking Company's bunkhouse, to say hello! Pro tip: if you’re willing to be up early, Lover's Leap is a great spot for sunrise!

We offer this as a guided hike!




Looking Glass Rock

Primary Trailhead: Looking Glass Rock Trailhead in Pisgah Forest, NC

One of the more popular day trips in Western NC, this hike is a 6-mile out and back to the rounded cliff summit of Looking Glass Rock. If you’ve driven south from Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you may have seen a beautiful, bizarre, dome-shaped mountain in the valley as you near Graveyard Fields and Black Balsam. That’s the rock we’re talking about. Beginning from the trailhead along the Davidson River near Brevard, and gaining close to 2k feet, the trek up to the summit is a switchback filled challenge. And it pays off with stunning views of the Balsam range.

**Please use extreme caution at the summit of Looking Glass Rock. Hikers have fallen and died at this site. The curved rock drops off steeply.

We offer this as a Half or Full Day guided hike!



Lunch Rocks

Primary Trailhead: Blue Ridge Parkway 381 Trailhead or Folk Art Center

A favorite local spot for a day hike or sunset, Lunch Rocks, also known as Haw Creek Overlook, is a just a 10 minute drive from downtown Asheville. Begin your walk from the Folk Art Center for a 5 mile hike or from the Blue Ridge Parkway 381 Trailhead for a 3 mile option. Follow the Mountains to Sea Trail paralleling the Parkway through rhododendrons and deciduous forest. There are always fun surprises along the route. Hikers enjoy a wide variety of wildflowers and mushrooms several months of the year. The trail is easy to moderate, gaining about 600ft of elevation from the Folk Art Center to the rocky outcropping overlooking Asheville’s Haw Creek Valley. Consider this spot if you want to enjoy a beautiful forested hike close to town.

We offer this as a guided Half Day Hike!