In an age where we’re constantly looking at screens, it’s so important to take time to unplug. Leave your phone behind and get outside! There’s no better East Coast destination to enjoy nature than in the mountains of Western North Carolina. If you’re searching for the best outdoor activities near Asheville, NC, then you’re in luck. You’ll find no shortage of amazing adventures ranging from hiking and mountain biking to horseback riding and whitewater rafting.
If you’re looking for more local insight about the surrounding area, be sure to request a free copy of our Vacation Guide! Inside, you’ll find thoughtful suggestions for where to eat and what to do during your visit to Saluda, NC.
10 of the Best Outdoor Activities near Asheville, NC
“Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” – Walt Whitman
1. Discover the Most Amazing Hikes for Every Skill Level
When you think of visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Hiking, of course! Hike to extraordinary scenic waterfalls. Climb strenuous mountain trails up to jaw-dropping 360-degree views. There are so many wonderful hikes for every skill level in Western NC. Some of our favorites include:
2. Go Horseback Riding in the Mountains
In Western North Carolina, beautiful landscapes greet you from every turn. Experience the best of the region’s natural beauty on horseback! A handful of farms, stables, and equestrian centers offer horseback riding trail rides throughout the year. Saddle up and embark on an adventure that you’ll remember for a lifetime!
3. Find the Perfect Sunrise and Sunset Spots
Begin and end your day with mesmerizing views of the sun rising or setting over the mountains. Whether you’re planning to pack a picnic for a restful evening or ramping up for a busy day with an adventurous hike to a grassy bald that affords incredible views, you’re in for a treat! Some of our favorite places to catch the sunrise or sunset include:
- Max Patch
- Craggy Pinnacle
- Mount Mitchell
- Lake Lure
- & more
4. Pedal Along the Ultimate Mountain Biking Excursion
Nothing compares to the feeling of the wind in your face paired with the natural views passing you by while you pedal your way along a trail. Mountain biking in Western North Carolina is a significant draw to the area. There are plenty of paved roads and nature trails that boast fantastic views and ample miles of ride time.
5. Cast Your Line and Try Fly Fishing in WNC
Fly fishing is a Western North Carolina novelty. Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or new to the trade, you’ll have a wonderful time relaxing in the great outdoors by the water. The worst that could happen is that you don’t catch anything, and you just spent your afternoon enjoying the fresh air. Go with a local, though, and you’re bound to reel in a great catch!
6. Stroll Through Beautiful Gardens
Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers! Stroll through beautiful gardens and learn about the local landscapes and all the unique plants that grow here. We recommend checking out Asheville Botanical Gardens or perusing the gardens at Biltmore Estate if you’re already planning a visit there. See what flowers are in bloom right now in Biltmore’s Bloom Report!
7. Explore the Best State Parks Nearby
Every year, people travel from all over the country to enjoy our beautiful mountain region. They climb to reach towering peaks, hike through shady forests, and capture the perfect photos of magnificent scenic overlooks. Exploring the state parks of WNC is one of the best things to do for guests and locals alike! Some of our favorite state parks in the area include:
- DuPont State Forest
- Pisgah National Forest
- Chimney Rock State Park
- Mount Mitchell State Park
- & more
8. Pick Delicious Apples in the Fall
If you’re planning to visit in the fall, you’re in for a treat. Not only is the fall foliage absolutely stunning in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but you will also find various opportunities to go apple picking! Located near countless spots for apple picking, we even have a small orchard of our own. We use our orchard and gardens for our farm-to-table restaurant, Newman’s.
9. Go on an Epic Adventure with Green River Adventures
If you are seeking an adventure of a lifetime, then you must check out Green River Adventures! Thrill-seekers travel here year after year to experience all the wonderful attractions that nature has to offer. From densely forested mountain ranges to roaring rapids, you’ll find everything you need for the trip of a lifetime. Green River Adventures offers exciting opportunities such as:
- Whitewater Rafting
- Waterfall Rappelling
- Kayak Instruction
- Swimming Hole Hikes
- & more!
10. Zipline Through Towering Canopies with The Gorge
Soar over towering canopies, bodies of water, and gorgeous mountain scenery when you book an adventure with The Gorge Zipline! These tours last for roughly three or three and a half hours, and there are a handful of short hikes required. You won’t regret this incredible opportunity to take in unsurpassed views of the mountains and all their beauty.
Travel Tip: Take Advantage of Our North Carolina Adventure Vacation Package!
Get the most out of your WNC vacation when you book one of our North Carolina Adventure Vacation Packages! Your package will include:
- A two-night stay in either the Boxwood Cottage or Twin Poplar Cottage
- Your choice of either:
- Zip-Line Canopy Adventure (The Gorge Zipline)
- Big or Little Bradley Waterfall Rappel (Green River Adventures)
- Kayak on the Upper Green River (Green River Adventures)
- A bottle of wine or a six-pack of locally brewed beer
- A picnic lunch for two
Make the Most of Your Western North Carolina Getaway When You Stay at The Orchard Inn
Make The Orchard Inn your home away from home while you’re enjoying all the best outdoor activities near Asheville, NC! As locals, we know all the best places to explore, and we are more than happy to pass along our recommendations. We even have a hiking trail right on our property that we hike every morning with our dogs.
During your stay with us, you will wake up to a gourmet breakfast made from scratch every morning. Start your day off right to prepare yourself for the amazing adventures ahead! Spend your day exploring and enjoying nature. Then, come back in time for your reservation at our on-site restaurant, Newman’s. Split a bottle of wine on our outdoor dining terrace and take in the breathtaking views of the mountains.