For those avid hikers coming to Asheville for a visit in the late fall or winter, fear not about losing your hiking opportunities, as there are still plenty of great hikes in the area. Last weekend, we decided to hike up to Looking Glass Rock, a nice 6 mile up and back hike, and only 45 minutes from town.
The hike is a big climb up and the trail dead ends into one glorious view of the mountains and valley below. You are climbing via switchbacks until the very end, so we'd call it a "moderately difficult" trail. Spending about 20 minutes soaking in the view, our total exclusion was 3 hours. In the summer months, you can reward yourselves at the end of the trail with a dip in the Davidson River across from where you park. It's not marked, and the way we found it was by hearing a splash as we got out of our cars. What a great surprise that was!
Other hikes to consider when the Parkway is closed are Dupont Forest (near Brevard with 3 water falls), Montreat College trails (great view at the top), Warren Wilson College Trails (romp through the woods), and the Botanical Gardens and Arboretum (more of a stroll). Near Looking Glass and the Fish Hatcheries are Cat Gap Trail and John Rock - both around 4.5 - 5 mile loops and moderate difficulty. Also see our blog post here for another great hike.