When we arrived in Asheville, North Carolina we were excited to get out and hit the trails! There are SO many hikes you can take that we had to do a lot of research to find what we thought would be the best hikes for our kids (8, 6, 6, 4). Below is a list of the best places to go hiking in Asheville with kids.
Here is a map showing where the 5 hikes below are located. Please not not all of them are hikes but more awesome locations to visit with a short walk to get to them. These work great with young kids and still get you out to go explore the area.
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Looking Glass Falls
Our first stop was Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest just outside of Asheville. It is a beautiful waterfall that is right off of the side of the road. You literally pull over and park on the side of the road then get out and walk down a few flights of stairs to get down by the waterfall.
Once there you can walk into the falls if you would like or explore up and down the river bank. It was beautiful! It was definitely touristy and we were there in the off season so I can only imagine how busy it would be in the summer months.
As you will see there are so many great Asheville waterfalls to explore!
Our next stop was right up the road from Looking Glass Falls. We had found it online and were super excited to check it out. Sliding Rock! And it is just what the name says a rock that you slide down. We were here in April so the water was freezing but it was awesome!
You pull into the parking lot and then walk a couple hundred yards down a trail to get to the base of sliding rock. You then walk up the rock via a walkway (with a railing) before taking a seat and sliding down the rock!
At the bottom you land in a small pool of water where you can then swim over to the side to climb out. There is a nice deck area overlooking the slide where people can watch and take pictures and videos.
It was in the 70’s outside and the sun was shining when we got there but the water was freezing since it was only April. But we couldn’t pass up this awesome opportunity to slide down a rock slide. We got our suits and swim shirts on and went for it. We are glad we did.
On the way down my suit rode up my butt but it was all good. No scraps or bruises. If you have shorts wear them I think it would help protect your butt and legs as you are sliding down. Craig and the kids did it a couple of times but 1 time was enough for me since it was so cold!!
Skinny Dip Falls
Don’t worry there are actually signs saying even though this is called Skinny Dip Falls you MUST wear your clothes! It’s a 1/2 mile hike to get to the falls. The hike is up and down so I wouldn’t say it is easy but the kids had no problem jumping and climbing their way through the trail.
There was one point where we went the wrong way for about a 1/4 mile . . . so make sure when you are hiking that you stay to the left and you will find the falls just fine. Once there you walk across a really cool bridge to get over to a great cliff jumping area.
It was cold but Craig, Carson, and Cannon did it! The falls were really pretty and it was fun to walk around and explore the area and the hike was cool too. We love when a hike isn’t just a flat surface but instead has rock stairs and lots of ups and downs.
How to get to Skinny Dip Falls: Park at Looking Glass Rock overlook which is at Milepost 417 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then walk across the street to the right (it will be to the right when your back is to the parking lot) to the Mountain To Sea trail post. The 1/2 mile hike starts here.
Distance: 1/2 mile in and 1/2 mile out. Uneven surface
Hiking In Asheville With Kids, North Carolina: Craggy Gardens Trail
This is a really cool hike up to a grassy summit. Before you start you can stop in to explore the small visitor area and take in the amazing views.
The hike itself is really cool as it takes you through scenery that looks like it is right out of The Hobbit. The greenery and moss is breathtaking and then the view from the top is nice too.
At 1.4 miles round trip it is great with kids. The trail has a variety of terrain with some flat areas and a lot of rock stairs and uneven terrain that the kids love to hike.
How to get to the Craggy Gardens Trail: Stop at the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and the trail is located on the left hand side of the parking lot behind the rock wall.
Distance: 1.4 miles round trip – if you stop at the Pavilion/grassy summit and turn around. When you come to an intersection stay left.
Craggy Pinnacle Hike
This is another beautiful hike up to an amazing 360 view overlook – that may just be the best 360 view on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The hike takes you through amazing trees that are covered with moss and beautiful greenery.
We loved the hike because it gave the kids some great climbing areas and the twisted trees were so cool looking. You felt like you were walking through a fairy world. When we got to the lookout the fog moved in and we literally couldn’t see anything. Then the fog cleared and the views were simply amazing!
How to get to the Craggy Pinnacle Hike: Follow the Blue Ridge Parkway past the Craggy Visitor Center then through the Craggy Pinnacle tunnel and turn into the Craggy Dome overlook. Park in the upper parking lot and the trail head is right there.
Distance: 1.4 miles round trip. The trail is not flat but moderately climbs up and has uneven terrain.
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