Are you looking for a great place to hike in Ashe County, NC? This beautiful area is home to some of the best hiking trails in the state. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s something for everyone here.
Photo by Majestic_mountains42 via Reddit
Trails for Beginners
If you’re new to hiking, don’t worry! Ashe County has plenty of easy trails that are perfect for beginners.
If you’re looking for a fun and scenic hiking trail in Ashe County, NC, then the Cascade Falls trail is definitely worth checking out! This trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels, as it’s not too difficult but still offers some beautiful views. The trail is about 0.5 miles (one way) and takes you through lush forests and over streams before leading you to the stunning Cascade Falls. The waterfall itself is absolutely breathtaking, with water cascading down a series of rocks into a crystal-clear pool below. It’s the perfect spot to take a break, snap some photos, and soak up the natural beauty of North Carolina. So grab your hiking boots and head on over to the Cascade Falls trail – you won’t be disappointed!
Railroad Grade Road
This trail is located in Fleetwood and is about 5.7 miles long depending on where you start. This trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. Railroad Grade Road follows an old railroad bed, which makes for a relatively flat and easy hike. Along the way, you’ll pass through beautiful forests and fields, and may even spot some wildlife. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, the Railroad grade road is definitely worth checking out!
Mount Jefferson State Natural Area
This park offers several hiking trails ranging from easy to moderate difficulty. The trails offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It’s a great place to spend a day exploring nature. Mount Jefferson also has plenty of picnic shelters and tables that make for a great spot to stop have lunch on pretty days!
For those who are looking for a bit more of a challenge, Ashe County has plenty of intermediate trails as well. These trails are still very doable but offer a bit more of a challenge. Though some are just across the county line, you’re just a short drive from fun!
Mount Jefferson State Natural Area
For two intermediate hiking trails at this park check out the Summit Trail and the Rhododendron Trail. The Summit Trail takes you to the summit of Mount Jefferson, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The trail is steep in places, but there are plenty of benches along the way to rest and take in the scenery. And the Rhododendron trail winds through a beautiful rhododendron thicket and offers great views of the surrounding mountains. It’s an easy hike, but there are some stairs and steep sections.
Elk Knob State Park
Elk Knob State Park also offers two more intermediate trails that are great for people looking for a bit more of a challenge. The 1.9-mile Summit Trail takes you to the summit of Elk Knob, where you’ll have panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail is steep in places and takes nearly 2 hours to complete. The Beech Tree Trail is another great option. This loop trail takes you through a beautiful forest of beech trees and offers great views of the surrounding mountains. It’s a moderate hike with some uphill sections.
Some intermediate trails in Doughton Park include the Bluff Mountain Trail and the Cedar Ridge Trail. The 7.5-mile Bluff Mountain Trail takes you to the top of Bluff Mountain, where you’ll have amazing views of the surrounding countryside. The trail is steep in places and has some rocky sections, but the views are worth it. This hike usually takes around 3.5 hours to complete. The Cedar Ridge Loop Trail takes you through a beautiful forest of cedar trees and offers great views of the surrounding mountains. It’s a moderate hike with some uphill sections.
If you’re an experienced hiker looking for a challenge, you can find some great options near Ashe County, NC too! However, you’ll want to make sure that you are fully prepared before you take on a longer, more advanced hike through the mountains.
Grayson Highlands State Park
Just across the border in Virginia, Grayson Highlands State Park offers some of the most breathtaking views in the region. You can find plenty of options for difficult trails here. One difficult hike you can take here is the Wilburn Ridge, Pine Mountain, and Mount Rodgers Trail. Another would be the Grayson Highlands and Mount Rodgers Loop. These more difficult trails usually take 4-8 hours.
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail
If you’re looking for a big challenge and have plenty of time then you might check out the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. This 1,175-mile trail stretches from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. While not all sections are considered advanced, there are several challenging portions in Ashe County that offer stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can check out this website for more information about this massive trail.
Tips for Hiking in Ashe County, NC
No matter what trail you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind when hiking in Ashe County, NC. First, make sure you wear appropriate footwear. Many of the trails can be rocky or slippery, so you’ll want shoes with good traction. Second, bring plenty of water and snacks. Even on shorter hikes, it’s important to stay hydrated and fueled up. Finally, be respectful of the environment. Pick up all your trash and leave the trails better than you found them.