long range view of mountains with green trees and blue skies

Year of the Trail

May 9, 2023

Whether you’re a hiker, biker, kayaker, or horseback rider – this is your year! It’s also
North Carolina’s “Year of the Trail.” And it’s not just a random designation – it’s actually
a law. In 2021, a bill was passed in the NC House of Representatives, House Bill 554,
to “encourage all North Carolinians to use their local and regional trail networks, to
further enhance the State’s trail networks, and to pay tribute to those who maintain
these public amenities.”

a graphic logo the is Year of the Trail in green with a yellow dash line like a path

That’s pretty exciting stuff and what’s even more exciting is all the choices visitors and locals alike have to celebrate this year in the beautiful mountains of western NC. Here are just a few ideas to get you revved up for this outdoor recreational extravaganza. 

Go Hiking or Biking

Looking for some mountain bike or hiking action? We’ve got more choices than you can count. Bent Creek is one of the most popular mountain biking and hiking trails systems in Asheville because it’s so close to the heart of downtown. It’s also the oldest experimental forest in the east. There’s even a nearby bed and breakfast – Bent Creek Lodge – which is secluded in the woods, but close to everything. 

exterior of bent creek lodge which is a rustic building and trees in the foreground
The woods are waiting for you at Bent Creek Lodge.

Dupont State Forest is another excellent choice. It’s got beautiful waterfalls, including the infamous Triple Falls which was featured in the movie – “Last of the Mohicans.” Equestrians will also find Fun and challenging trails to ride. And, when you’re ready to call it a day, pop in to nearby Oskar Blues Brewery to see what’s on tap. There’s always something brewing. 

Chimney Rock State Park has just about something for everyone. You can take the stairs to the top or hop on the elevator for some amazing mountain and lake views. The hiking trail system has options ranging from easy to moderate/strenuous and mountain bikers will find challenging terrain. 

Asheville is also home to a number of inviting greenways. So, grab your bike, running or trail shoes and hit the road. The Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary is a cool place to check out too. It offers nature lovers a peek into a wildlife oasis within the city limits in North Asheville. It’s a great spot for a morning birding adventure or evening stroll around the lake. 

Here are some places to rent bicycles around Asheville:

Plan a Ride

If seeing nature from atop of horse is more your thing, Asheville has you covered there too. Enjoy a guided trail ride on Biltmore Estate to explore the beautiful meadows and woodlands. And consider a stay at the Sweet Biscuit Inn – it’s only about ½ mile to the estate. Or opt for a more rustic experience on a trail ride through the creek and on wide open mountain trails at Cedar Creek Stables located in the outback near Lake Lure. And, Sandy Bottom Trail Rides has been family-owned for four generations. Riders will pass through high country picturesque trails, scenic mountain meadows and wooded areas of Madison County.

Paddle Away

Bring your own kayak or canoe or rent one at French Broad Outfitters. The French Broad River Paddle Trail has 140 miles to paddle. It runs from Rosman, NC to Douglas Lake, TN. The trail is ideal for paddlers of all levels and as the river enters Buncombe County, it widens and becomes shallower with mostly flat water through Biltmore and Asheville. The section past Asheville (north of the city in Madison County) is best for experienced kayakers since there are bigger rapids and three dams to portage. If you're looking to go out on the water but rather have a guide, Hike Bike Kayak Asheville has your back! They offer personalized tours led by a certified Blue Ridge Parkway and WNC Naturalist. Get to know the area from a real expert!

a couple on a lake in a kayak with life vests, paddles, blue skies
Let Hike Bike Kayak Asheville be your guide on the trails

If a mellow tubing experience is more your thing, we won’t judge 😉. Zen Tubing has been voted Asheville’s best and you can float instead of paddle. Their motto? “Get in touch with your inner tube.” 

Celebrate Your Success 

When you choose to celebrate the “Year of the Trail,” you should also choose to celebrate you! And there’s no better way to revel in your outdoor conquers than by ending the day with a stay at one of our Bed and Breakfasts. You’ll be pampered in so many ways. Relax on an inviting front porch or in a tranquil garden and indulge in gourmet breakfasts. Most of these Inns also offer spa packages to rehab your weary bones. The Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast even has their own onsite spa. 

a spa table covered in white sheet and tan blanket ready for a massage
Take advantage of a massage after your hike

So, book your stay now at any of our Asheville Inns – and get outside and celebrate. We’re waiting for you. 


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