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 Message Boards » » Asheville / Blue Ridge Parkway Visit Page [1] 2, Next  
homeslice11
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This fall I was going to try and take a trip to the western part of the state. Ideally, I'd like to start in Asheville, visit the Biltmore, and then drive the long slow way along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Grandfather mountain, and then the fast highway way back to Asheville.

Mainly this route, because I'm not really sure what else to do. I would like to hike a short 1-2 mile trail that leads to a waterfall or picturesque outlook - but I'm not sure where they are or what exists. Anything between Biltmore and Grandfather Mtn?

Any help on things to do, places to stay in Asheville (other than the Grove Park Inn), or along the parkway would be helpful. Anything in a weekend or 3 day trip tops.

9/30/2011 2:12:27 PM

wolfpackgrrr
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I recommend going to the library and checking out these books for hikes. I use them a lot when trying to decide on where to go hiking if I want to try something new:

http://www.amazon.com/100-Classic-Hikes-North-Carolina/dp/1594850542/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1317406669&sr=8-6

http://www.amazon.com/Hiking-North-Carolinas-Ridge-Heritage/dp/1889596213/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1317406669&sr=8-10

9/30/2011 2:19:19 PM

DamnStraight
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stay here:
http://www.skylinevillageinn.com/

9/30/2011 2:29:15 PM

EhSteve
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I wouldn't stay at the Grove Park Inn, but it's worth stopping by to walk around - there are a lot of restaurants and shops so they don't mind people who aren't guests walking around, and there is some interesting history on the walls. There is an antique car museum on site, too, which is worth a visit.

9/30/2011 4:02:59 PM

CodeRed4791
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for hiking, look into looking glass falls or sliding rock. its along the parkway somewhere. i used to take my dog there all the time.

Also, devils courtyard. its a peak where you can see SC, TN, NC, and GA at the same time.

9/30/2011 6:58:36 PM

tl
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Linville Falls/Linville Gorge is just a few miles south of Grandfather. Wiseman's View overlooking the Gorge is pretty fantastic.

9/30/2011 8:14:35 PM

richthofen
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You can kill a while just walking around downtown Asheville. Lots of cool little shops, restaurants, etc, even though it's not a big downtown in terms of size.

9/30/2011 8:19:34 PM

slaptit
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Check out this site: http://www.northcarolinawaterfalls.info/map.html

And good for you for checking out the beauty that is western NC

9/30/2011 11:53:32 PM

whtmike2k
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LEAFER!

Quote :
" would like to hike a short 1-2 mile trail"

Craggy pinnacle in the craggy gardens area is a good option. The hike is only like 3/4 of a mile, good change in elevation so it'll get your heart pumping a little but it's nothing crazy. The 360 degree view from the top is gorgeous and well worth killing some time up there with a picnic (especially if you have a lady friend with you). It's right on the Asheville/Grandfather parkway route, from Asheville just drive till you see the Craggy Gardens visitor center on your left, go past it and there's a 2nd parking area on the left just for the pinnacle hike.

Another good one is the Crabtree Falls loop, further north on the BRP but before you get you Grandfather. Around mile marker 339, look for signs to the Crabtree Meadows camping area. Follow the signs in the campground to the Crabtree Falls trailhead. The loop is like 2.5 miles or you can just hike in and straight back out.

Here's a good link to find any other hikes you may want to do. Mount Pisgah is a great hike but it's SW of Asheville and not on the way to Grandfather Mtn.
http://www.hikewnc.info/trailheads/parkway/guidedhikes/craggypinnacle.html

As far as staying in Asheville, I'd suggest the doubletree at biltmore or renaissance downtown. I'm not sure what the rates will be like this time of year as tourists are flooding in for the mountain leaf colors. Make sure you book ahead of time (like a couple of weeks probably). The grove park is, IMO, overpriced for the room you get and you're just paying for the name. I do strongly suggest going up there in the late afternoon, getting a cold beverage and watching the sunset from one of the bars, restaurants or a patio. It's also a cool place just to walk around in. One corridor has a lot of info and stories about the design and construction of the hotel (which is interesting, at least to me). Another has photos of all the famous people, politicians and presidents that have stayed there. If you've got the money, the spa is supposed to be really nice. Also the food in their restaurants is pretty good too and they have a fantastic brunch buffet every day.

For things to do, when you're not driving or hiking, check out downtown. like ^^ said it's pretty compact, but for it's size there are a ton of things to see/eat/drink. if you like craft beer, check out a lot of the local breweries and brewpubs around here. I think I counted one day there's like 6 or 7 just within a 5 mile drive of my house, all with great beers. Beer City USA 3 years running!!

10/1/2011 8:30:08 AM

homeslice11
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^ Thanks!!! Those are perfect

For the crabtree falls its says its a rugged 1mile trip to the falls, and then a moderate 1.5mile back to the starting point. How rugged is it? As long as there aren't rope ladders in the rock face, it should be ok.

10/1/2011 10:49:47 AM

Beethoven86
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Quote :
"Craggy pinnacle in the craggy gardens area is a good option. The hike is only like 3/4 of a mile, good change in elevation so it'll get your heart pumping a little but it's nothing crazy. The 360 degree view from the top is gorgeous and well worth killing some time up there with a picnic (especially if you have a lady friend with you). It's right on the Asheville/Grandfather parkway route, from Asheville just drive till you see the Craggy Gardens visitor center on your left, go past it and there's a 2nd parking area on the left just for the pinnacle hike."


I'd like to second Craggy. I did the pinnacle hike just a few weeks ago. It really is a spectacular view once you get to the top. I recommend the hike at sunrise, because it's just gorgeous. If you go at sunset, you may be competing with a few more people for the best view (5-8, not more than that). But if you go at other times, it's pretty secluded. But it is a little further outside of Asheville. Probably 45 minutes out of the downtown area.

Another would be the Art Loeb Trail. It's got varying levels of difficulty (from just plain easy, to one of the more difficult with 30ish miles), with great views at each. We didn't see another person for our shorter 1 mile hike.

10/1/2011 11:37:57 AM

Jeepin4x4
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i love these threads. need to make another mountain trip asap.

10/1/2011 11:39:18 AM

Chief
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I second Wiseman's View as well, just to advise from personal experience if you do go to the Linville Gorge/Wiseman's View at all the road is pure gravel (state maintained) for a few miles with lot of high mounds, blind curves, and ruts. Don't take a nice car up there, 2wd vehicles can make it usually but it would be wise to have AWD, or have good ground clearance. SUV's and trucks would be fine. Linville Falls is not very difficult (tourist-y easy trails) and is very easy to access right off the parkway about a mile; if you haven't been before it's good to take a look at at least once in your life. I'd set aside around 1 to 2 hours to get most the views and lookouts at the Falls area.

I couldn't find a whole lot of detailed trails and trailheads online before I went up there, ended up just buying all the hard topo maps at the info cabin up there a year ago and they provided more info than anything else I've looked at online. Just about all the Gorge trails are fairly thin, can have heavy overgrowth, and a moderate to difficult difficulty even if they are only a mile or two long.

10/1/2011 12:52:16 PM

Maverick1024
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I always stay at the Downtown Inn in Asheville. It's definitely not the nicest place in town, but you can't beat the price/location. Bars, restaurants, music venues, etc are all in easy walking distance. http://downtowninnandsuites.com/

Along the Parkway, I'll be the third to recommend Craggy Gardens. It's a relatively short hike up to the pinnacle, and the panoramic view is stunning.

In the Boone/Grandfather area, maybe stop and check out the Moses Cone Manor. It's this old colonial mansion built in the early 1900s. There's a lot of hiking trails in the area.

Then you've also got Linville Falls ... I think I heard it's the most photographed waterfall in the state. There's an overlook that lets you look down on the waterfall and out over the Linville Gorge. It's pretty great.

The Linville Caverns are in the area too, but they're a little overrated IMO. Don't get me wrong -- it's always pretty cool to see inside of a mountain, but I've definitely seen much better. Still, the history behind the caverns is pretty interesting (Civil War deserters would hide out inside there...)

[Edited on October 1, 2011 at 2:16 PM. Reason : ]

10/1/2011 2:06:32 PM

EhSteve
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No waterfalls at max patch but the views are incredible and it's off the beaten path (sort of)
http://www.romanticasheville.com/hot_springs_hikes.htm

Graveyard fields is right on the parkway - two waterfall trails and neither are very strenuous hikes.
http://www.romanticasheville.com/graveyard.htm

10/1/2011 5:23:28 PM

mech
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Peaks of otter has about 5 or 6 waterfall trails within small hikes.

10/1/2011 7:15:26 PM

BigHitSunday
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i want to fish the river that runs along the biltmore entrance so bad


i think its the sawannoa

10/1/2011 9:23:48 PM

BDubLS1
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My wife and I love driving on the Blue Ridge this time of year... We usually try to go every October.

We usually get on the Blueridge parkway near Boone and drive to the altapass apple orchard.

I've never been on any other sections... Is this the most scenic section? Looks of nice overlooks including the viaduct...

What other sections are recommended for being the most scenic?

10/1/2011 10:20:37 PM

ncsuallday
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glad I saw this thread. going to Asheville area this weekend to visit a friend. Does anyone know if the leaves have turned yet?

10/3/2011 8:27:12 AM

wolfpackgrrr
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^ http://www.romanticasheville.com/fall.htm

10/3/2011 8:33:14 AM

DamnStraight
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I was just up there this past weekend. The best time to go this year would be around Oct 15th.

10/3/2011 9:28:01 AM

gunzz
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Quote :
"glad I saw this thread. going to Asheville area this weekend to visit a friend. Does anyone know if the leaves have turned yet?"


you might see some color at high elevation
but like the user above stated ... about mid month for prime color

10/3/2011 12:15:05 PM

homeslice11
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Do you know of any hotels that comp the admission to the Biltmore Estate or reduce the price if you stay there? Or a place to get reduced tickets? ...they are $59/each

10/6/2011 5:16:57 PM

Nerdchick
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Me and ambrosia1231 used to take an annual fall trip on the Parkway. We would camp at Linville or somewhere similar and drive along the Parkway during the day, just checking out the small towns and offshoot roads. It's a great time!

Also, I stayed at Mt. Mitchell campground (the one closest to the summit) in the spring and the view was absolutely AMAZING. It will be cold up there though!

10/6/2011 6:49:50 PM

RattlerRyan
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Salsa's in downtown Asheville is one of my favorite restaurants ever, their food is amazing (They're kinda like the Dos Taquitos of Raleigh but better)

Also down by the river in the old warehouse district is a BBQ restaurant called 12 Bones... best ribs in the world!

10/11/2011 12:46:46 AM

whtmike2k
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Salsa's has underwhelmed me each time I've gone there, especially for what you pay. It's like they try to class up mexican food too much. Usually I just leave thinking I should have gone to Papa's & Beer on Tunnel Rd.

12 Bones awesomeness is seconded, although if you're coming up for the weekend go to the Arden location. The Riverside location is closed on the weekends - if you go early enough for lunch on Friday, I highly suggest following it up with a pitcher from the Wedge brewery right across the railroad tracks. Then probably a 2 hour nap

[Edited on October 11, 2011 at 7:25 AM. Reason : .]

10/11/2011 7:24:45 AM

wahoowa
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heading up to the parkway this weekend. Planning to drive on the parkway from Fancy Gap, VA to Blowing Rock and then back home. Probably stop at Stone Mountain and other spots. Any recommendations of stuff to see along that stretch?

10/11/2011 8:18:51 AM

Fareako
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Skwinkle and I stayed on the outskirts of Asheville at the Holiday Inn. We went into downtown for dinner and then we did a ghost walk which was also like a historical tour. That was pretty fun. We ended up staying one night at my buddy's house on top of a mountain in Montreat and he took us hiking up a couple of the local trails there. We drove past the parkway on our way to and from Asheville so...yeah...my two cents.

10/11/2011 9:24:48 AM

Chief
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Check the National Park Service (NPS) site, when I was up there near Spartaaaaaaaaa I had to take a detour to get back on the Blue Ridge parkway going south trying to get to Doughton Park which is right beside Stone Mountain Park. They've closed the whole parkway for rockwall reconstruction from mile post 232 to 237 I think. That's right around the Stone Park entrance coming south from VA so you may have to detour onto 21. The leaves up at Sparta were just starting to have some reds and fair amount of yellows. This weekend and next weekend should be the best times for the leafers along the whole mountains/parkway.

[Edited on October 11, 2011 at 11:09 AM. Reason : .]

10/11/2011 11:06:08 AM

HockeyRoman
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Going this weekend to Grandfather Mtn and likely a ride on a bit of the Parkway. My camera is going to get quite the workout!

My sister sent me this yesterday. For those whom may not have been there before it's Appalachian Ski Mountain.


[Edited on October 11, 2011 at 11:29 AM. Reason : .]

10/11/2011 11:29:08 AM

Jeepin4x4
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So I think the lady and I are going to take another trip to the mountains for our anniversary the first week of November. We rented a cabin in Bryson City earlier this year, so I think we'd like to do something more involved around town exploration, Blue Ridge driving, and some light hiking.

my question is is there another mountain town outside of blowing rock or asheville i could look into visiting?

10/11/2011 3:40:07 PM

HockeyRoman
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My girlfriend LOVES Valle Crucis and Banner Elk. They may be worth checking out if you are looking for little mountain hideaways. They are also pretty near each other so it isn't a substantial haul to get there.

10/11/2011 3:52:59 PM

flatline
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Quote :
"Any recommendations of stuff to see along that stretch?"


Go fifteen miles more to Linn Cove Viaduct/Grandfather from Blowing Rock.

10/13/2011 10:42:12 PM

wahoowa
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Added Grandfather Mountain to our trip this weekend. Weather looks absolutely perfect. Ended up getting a hotel in Jefferson, NC because the prices in Boone/Blowing Rock were ridiculous. So Fancy Gap -> Jefferson -> Boone -> Grandfather Mtn -> Home is the current itinerary. Will be on the parkway as much as possible.

10/14/2011 8:17:46 AM

coppertop
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As far Asheville is concerned I would 2nd the recommendations for 12 bones and the wedge. The river district were both are located has a host of art studio spaces that are great for walking around. Most of them sell their art or will let you watch them work. There is a new place called the Asheville glass center that is across from the wedge that does demonstrations and classes.

10/14/2011 9:32:47 AM

ncsuallday
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Waited to take my trip until mid-month as was suggested above and it was totally worth it.

I'm in Hendersonville right now. This weekend has been fantastic. The leaves are in full color and the weather has been unbelievably nice. 70's during the day and probably 60 at night. I drove the Parkway yesterday and hiked Three Falls? I think it's called? Then went to Pisgah and hiked Graveyard Fields and a few others. Did some more driving on the Parkway as well.

Hit up Asheville nightlife and went to several breweries. My best friend from college lives up here so it's not the first time I've gone out but it was the first time we've hiked at all and first time I've been here for all the color.

The wedge is awesome and so is Jack in the Wood (Green Man brewery), French Broad, Thirsty Monk, Lexington Ave. Brewery (LAB), the Bier Garden and soooo many other cool places. You really can't go wrong here.

Hendo is great too and I really enjoyed their new brewery and Hannah Flannigans. We always try to eat sushi at Umi, which is often rated the best all around restaurant in Hendo. My friend says 12 Bones in Asheville is great but it is closed on weekends. Hotdog World is a must if you're in Hendo but expect a very long line.

I may hit the parkway up to Boone tomorrow and grab lunch before heading back to Raleigh for 6pm class.

[Edited on October 17, 2011 at 1:48 AM. Reason : .]

10/17/2011 1:45:52 AM

EhSteve
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There is a 12 bones in Arden that is open on Saturdays.

10/17/2011 12:05:57 PM

Jeepin4x4
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visiting this coming weekend. I know we've missed most if not all of the color, but we're mainly going to stay downtown and really enjoy the city. May try to drive some parkway and scenic routes on the way Friday AM.

10/30/2011 6:04:52 PM

krazedgirl
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anyone know any pet friendly cabins, b&bs, or hotels in asheville?
taking a trip there this Sat-Mon and would really love to bring my dog.

11/3/2011 2:27:38 AM

EhSteve
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http://www.barkwells.com/

11/3/2011 6:48:50 PM

krazedgirl
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^^ thanks but all booked

anyone know where to get discounted Biltmore Estate tickets online? I'm heading there on Sunday

11/4/2011 10:10:42 AM

mildew
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I need a beautiful route from the Biltmore House to Hendersonville-Winkler Airport (Here is the basic route: http://goo.gl/maps/3ha0x)

I will have about a dozen sports cars in a caravan that would like to spend ~50 minutes getting there via a scenic route. We'd like to avoid ridiculously steep inclines and gravel. Any suggestions are appreciated.

9/18/2013 7:51:32 PM

Darb5000
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^^If you are a AAA member you can buy them cheaper in advance through them.

9/19/2013 7:17:54 AM

RattlerRyan
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Looking for a romantic place to stay that won't break the bank on Oct 12th in or around Asheville, any suggestions?

9/28/2013 12:31:42 PM

StillFuchsia
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probably the worst time to try to find something cheap

even the really inexpensive places where I normally stay are twice the price for these October weekends

[Edited on September 28, 2013 at 5:25 PM. Reason : and a lot of them are booked, to boot]

9/28/2013 5:24:09 PM

BDubLS1
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My wife and I always get up really early and drive to Boone.... we spend the day there and drive around on the parkway a little bit and then head back that night...

It really isn't a bad day trip if you don't mind getting up early and coming back late that night..

also, App State has a blog/map of fall colors
http://biology.appstate.edu/fall-colors

9/28/2013 10:57:59 PM

HockeyRoman
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Be careful coming up to Boone on October 12th. It's Homecoming weekend.

Also, Valle Fair is the next weekend which is a HUG deal here, so all the roads going in and out will be packed.

9/29/2013 4:22:20 PM

BDubLS1
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We are either going next Saturday, October 5 or Saturday, the 19th.

I see what you said about the Valle Fair, but I looked it up and it looks like it would be fun to go to.

The only thing that worries me about October 5 is that most of the leaves will not be at their peak yet... I know they will be turning at the higher elevations...

Any first-hand accounts from folks in the Boone area?

9/29/2013 8:19:43 PM

mildew
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Just got back today, nothing really turning yet... Lots of green

9/29/2013 9:26:56 PM

BDubLS1
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We decided to go up towards Boone on October 12. I know you said it is homecoming week up there but we won't really be in "Boone" proper that much.

We plan on getting to the Boone area around breakfast time. Any advice on a great place to eat some breakfast (with a 6 month old baby)? We've already done the Daniel Boone Inn a few years ago so looking to try some place new.

After breakfast, I figured we would go to Blowing Rock and then head south on the parkway toward the viaduct, etc.... Then we would call it a day and head back towards early evening.

10/6/2013 11:24:00 AM

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