Hit the Road: an outdoor adventure to Asheville, NC

Mountain view
Views while hiking Black Balsam Knob | Photo by Find Yara Photography

We’re kicking off our summer road trip series — Hit the Road — with an outdoor adventure-themed trip to Asheville, NC. With panoramic hikes and award-winning restaurant options, this city is a great destination for experienced adventurers + novice nature seekers alike. 

Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area + our insider recommendations.

Drive time: ~2.5 hours

Est. population: 92,328

Avg. high in June: 82º

🥾Things to do

Bearwallow Mountain Trail 

The Bearwallow Mountain Trail is the perfect picnic hike. You can drive most of the way up the mountain + take a one-mile trail from the gravel lot that includes a series of steep switchbacks. Don’t let the steep switchbacks deter you. When you reach the top, you’ll be standing 4,232-ft above sea level, have 360º views of surrounding mountains, and may see cows grazing amongst the wildflowers. Yes, cows. 

Black Balsam Knob

Black Balsam Knob is part of The Art Loeb Trail and begins at the trailhead at milepost 420. This hike is considered easy-moderate, is ~2 miles out + back, reaches an elevation of 6,000-ft with panoramic views, and leashed dogs are welcome. If you’re up for the challenge, take this five-mile loop. Pro tip: This part of the parkway is usually closed during the winter.

Brevard, NC

If you’re chasing waterfalls, add ~45 min. to your road trip and pop over to Brevard, NC — known as the “Land of Waterfalls.” Brevard is home to 250+ waterfalls, some of which were backdrops for some shots in The Hunger Games movies. 

Sloppy Jai (Kheema Pav) dish from Chai Pani  | Photo by COLAtoday team

🍽️ Fuel up after hiking

Cúrate Bar de Tapas, 13 Biltmore Ave.

Cúrate means “cure yourself” in Spanish and is a Spanish-inspired tapas bar and restaurant. This restaurant received a 2022 James Beard Award for Outstanding Hospitality. Order snacks, small plates, large plates, and cheese + charcuterie dishes that celebrate authentic Spanish culture. Try this: Pair your dessert plate with a glass of wine from an all-Spanish wine list.

Chai Pani, 22 Battery Park Ave. 

Chai Pani received a 2022 James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant and is described as “Mindblasting Indian Street Food.” The restaurant hosts Meherwan Irani, a five-time James Beard-nominated chef. Guests can expect a variety of traditional Indian nibbles, dishes, and bright flavors that highlight India’s culinary diversity. Pro tip: This restaurant does not accept reservations.

Salsa’s, 6 Patton Ave.

Salsa’s is a Mexican-Caribbean inspired restaurant that offers a daily, curated menu in the heart of downtown Asheville. The dishes are made from local ingredients and are cooked by local Chef Hector. Try this: This restaurant is known for its eclectic style and killer margaritas, so we recommend sippin’ some

Tiny home
This tiny home has 10 breweries within a three block radius. | Photo via VRBO

🏕️ Cozy campsites + cabins

Downtown Asheville Tiny House, located in the central business district

This tiny cottage sleeps up to two with one bedroom + one full bathroom located within an 11 min walk to downtown. It has a 4.5-star rating, an outdoor patio, and is $155 a night

Guest House on 10 acres near Downtown Asheville, located in Jenkins Valley

This vacation destination used to be hay barn located five miles from downtown Asheville. It sleeps up to two with one bedroom, one bathroom, and is $132 a night. Guests can enjoy peace + quiet while watching deer, horses, chickens, and possibly a peacock in the pastures. 

2 Bedroom Vacation Villa, located on the Crowne Plaza Resort’s golf course 

This vacation home is about a mile west of Asheville. It sleeps up to six guests with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. This getaway comes with a hot tub,pets are welcome for an additional fee, and is $299 a night

Looking for more recommendations? Head to the link below. Plus, stay tuned for the July installment of our Hit the Road series. We’ll be highlighting a 30-mile road trip.