Fall is here in Asheville! We’ve had a bit of an odd weather transition this year, and many were worried that with the extended warm weather WNC would miss out on the fall color entirely. Luckily, that wasn’t at all true, and instead, we’re experiencing extended color this year. Within High Hickory’s Conservation Preserve alone, you can experience miles of trails while soaking up some of those beautiful fall oranges and reds before snow falls. Outside of the natural beauty found within High Hickory’s community, here are a few of our favorite local fall hiking trails:
The Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore often makes the list of destinations on any Asheville blog, but most people don’t know about its hiking potential. The Biltmore Estate is home to more than 22 miles of hiking trails, most of which are kept in pristine condition and surrounded by gorgeous maple and oak trees sure to be in full color. Trails at the Biltmore are well marked and are assigned different difficulty levels, so you can pick the fall color hike that best suits your day. Best of all, the Biltmore is right in town, so you don’t have to go very far to get outdoors.
Graveyard Fields Loop Trail
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Graveyard Fields Loop Trail is a popular leaf-peeping hike for Asheville locals. It’s not far from downtown, and at 3.2 miles, the loop is just strenuous enough that you feel like you’ve gotten a good workout in. The trail will take you past the Yellow River, then beautiful Second Falls, and up to a gorgeous meadow where you’ll see plenty of fall color. From there, continue on to the Upper Falls to add mileage, or take the loop back to the parking lot. Fall colors, a river, and waterfalls — what more could you ask for?
Little Cataloochee Trail
For a more strenuous hike with plenty of interesting things to see, Little Cataloochee Trail is perfect. The majority of the hike is a moderate level, though there are a few more difficult climbs scattered through. You’ll see beautiful fall color all along the trail, but what’s even more exciting is the possibility of an elk sighting! New residents in the area, there is a herd of elk that now call the Little Cataloochee Trail area home, so tread quietly and you may catch a glimpse. Even if you don’t see elk, there are plenty of restored homesteads, cabins, and churches along this trail, perfect for sightseeing and exploring.
Hickory Nut Falls Trail at Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock is a popular hiking destination year round, as it served as the backdrop for a number of classic movies, including Last of the Mohicans. If you’re looking for fall color, though, this hike simply cannot be beat. Fall color tends to really hold out at Chimney Rock, so if you’re worried about missing the beautiful reds and oranges of autumn, be sure to check out the Hickory Nut Falls Trail at Chimney Rock. The trail is a leisurely ¾ of a mile, ending at the base of the 404 foot Hickory Nut Falls. If you want to do more hiking after you see the falls, there are plenty of trails in that same area to check out.
Another fall hiking destination that holds a bit of fame, Lake Lure was actually the backdrop to the famous Dirty Dancing lake scene! While you won’t want to relive the scene in the chilly fall weather, you can take in the beauty of the lake from the boardwalk, or the number of hiking trails that go up and around the lake. Lake Lure is nestled in Hickory Nut Gorge, and below Chimney Rock, so wherever you walk in the area, you’ll be looking up at miles and miles of mountains covered in beautiful fall color.
Western North Carolina is known as one of the most beautiful places to observe fall color. Our varying levels of elevation mean we’ve got fall color longer than anywhere else, and with beautiful, bustling cities like Asheville to stay in, we’re the ultimate autumn destination.
If you visited Asheville and fell in love with the mountains, we’ve got just the place for you. High Hickory is a sustainable mountain living community just minutes away from downtown Asheville, and we’d love to meet you! Check out our properties, or get a little bit more information about our community today.