Scenic Tours & Hikes
Blue Ridge Parkway Access
Blue Ridge Parkway Access follows the mountain ridges from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. The Parkway’s 469 toll-free miles combines natural beauty, mountain forests, wildlife, wildflowers and magnificent views. There are numerous scenic overlooks, parking areas and 100 trails ranging from short walks to the Appalachian Trail. For information and road conditions call (828) 298-0398.
The tour starts at the Visitors Center, 201 South Main Street. Proceed north on Main Street, approximately 1 mile, to Hwy. 191 North and turn left, at Rite Aid. Continue on Hwy. 191. N (Haywood Rd.) for approximately 10 miles until you reach a dead end in Mills River. Turn right at the light onto Hwy. 280 (Travel approximately 1 mile to the third stoplight and turn left back onto Hwy. 191 (Old Haywood Rd.), continue on 191 approximately 8 miles. Turn left onto the Blue Ridge Parkway; there is a light at the intersection, also the entrance of the NC Arboretum. The NC Arboretum offers is a 434-acre natural treasure with 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails. The Arboretum offers a variety trails rated Easy to Moderate, and Moderate to Difficult. 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC (828) 665-2492
Blue Ridge Parkway Loop Tour
The Blue Ridge Parkway Loop Tour starts at the Visitors Center, 201 South Main Street. Proceed north on Main Street, to 7th Ave./Hwy 64 W.; turn left at Bank of America. Travel approximately 18 miles on Hwy. 64 W., through the communities of Etowah, Horse Shoe, & Penrose. At the intersection of Hwy. 64 & Hwy. 280 go straight thru the traffic light onto Hwy. 276 N, entrance to Pisgah National Forest. Follow Hwy. 276 N. for approximately 10.5 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway and turn right. The Pisgah Inn is located 3 1/2 miles on the right between miles marker 409 & 408, open April – October. Download a copy of the tour.
North Mills River Recreational Area
The North Mills River Recreational Area is part of Pisgah National Forest is located in Henderson County, just 13 miles from Downtown Hendersonville. North Mills River Recreational Area picnic sites, campsites, hiking, mountain biking trails, river fishing and tubing.
The tour starts at the Visitors Center, 201 South Main Street. Proceed north on Main Street, approximately 1 mile, to Hwy. 191 North and turn left, at Rite Aid. Continue on Hwy. 191. N (Haywood Rd.) for approximately 10 miles until you reach a dead end in Mills River. Turn right at the light onto Hwy. 280, travel to the third second stoplight and turn left onto North Mills River Rd. Follow North Mills River Road to the campground. For information call (828) 877-3265.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
DuPont State Recreational Forest encompasses 10,268 acres in Henderson and Transylvania counties. It is situated in the Little River valley and includes waterfalls and 80 miles of roads and trails wandering through mountainous terrain. DuPont State Recreational Forest is open to the public for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Many scenes from the movie, The Hunger Games, were shot in DuPont State Recreational Forest, download a copy of the film locations. The Hunger Games were filmed entirely in North Carolina. Fishing is allowed with a valid NC fishing license. Download a copy of the tour.
For information call (828) 877-6527. High Falls Access parking lot, 1300 Staton Rd, Cedar Mountain, NC. GPS Coordinates: 35.18856,-82.632936
Holmes Educational State Forest
Holmes Educational State Forest offers a series of well-marked trails, accented by exhibits and displays depicting ecology of a managed forest. Picnic sites with tables and a spacious picnic shelter (with grills ) are also available. Holmes Educational State Forest is located about 8 1/2 miles from downtown Hendersonville. The forest is open Tuesday-Sunday from mid-March to late November. For information call (828) 692-0100. 1299 Crab Creek Road, Hendersonville. Download a copy of the tour.
Jump Off Rock
Jump Off Rock is a scenic overlook, which provides a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge and Pisgah mountain ranges. Jump Off Rock also holds an Indian legend that has been passed down for many years. A young Cherokee Indian maiden received word that her young Indian Chief had been killed in battle, so she climbed to the edge of the rock and jumped off. Indian legend has it that on moonlit nights you can see the ghost of the maiden on Jump Off Rock.
There are three hiking trials at Jump Off Rock, varying in length and difficulty. Blue Trail – easy trail, takes about 8 minutes, Yellow Trail – moderate trail, takes around 15 minutes & Red Trail – is the most difficult and the longest. See the sign at the entrance to the walkway leading to Jump Off Rock.
From Main Street turn onto Fifth Avenue West, which becomes Laurel Park Highway, the road dead ends at Jump Off Rock. Jump Off Rock is located approximately 5 miles from Downtown Hendersonville.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Hiking Trails
Carl Sandburg, American poet, historian, author, and lecturer spent the final 22 years of his long and productive life at his estate, Connemara, in Flat Rock. Today this National Historic Site offers a keen insight on Mr. Sandburg, his family and their 264-acre working farm. The Sandburg Home houses his collection of 10,000 books, notes and papers. Home tours are offered daily tours. There are numerous hiking trails and a functional goat barn, where Mrs. Sandburg raised her prize-winning goats.
There are five miles of hiking trails located on the Connemara property. Each trail is easy to moderate, with Glassy Trail being steep in only one place. It takes is about 35 minutes at a steady walk to the top of Glassy. Trail maps located at the main house or click for copy of the tours. For information call (828) 693-4178. 81 Carl Sandburg Lane (located off Little River Rd.), Flat Rock, NC. www.nps.gov/carl
Oklawaha Greenway Trail
The Oklawaha Greenway Trail stretches 3.25 miles, connecting Jackson Park, Patton Park, Berkley Park, Sullivan Park, & William H. King Memorial Park. It is a relatively flat paved trail and is handicap accessible. The Greenway is a 10-foot-wide asphalt path for cyclists and pedestrians. Mileage signs have been installed every quarter of a mile along the trail to help trail users know how far they have traveled and how much farther it is to their destination. Benches, water fountains, and three bicycle FixIt Stations are available along the trail. Blue light phones have been installed along the greenway using grant money from the state Department of Transportation.
Bearwallow Mountain is located in eastern Henderson County at an elevation of 4,232 feet above sea level. This easy one-mile trail features a grassy meadow at its summit, along with a historic fire tower, breathtaking scenery and a 360° view. The views include such area landmarks as downtown Hendersonville, Mt. Pisgah, Mt. Mitchell, Hickory Nut Gorge and upstate South Carolina.
GPS Location: N35.4607, W-82.3681
The Trombatore Trail is a 2.4-mile hike, which starts at the same trail head. This trail is more challenging with significant changes in elevation, through a forest. The panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Bearwallow Mountain make this strenuous hike very rewarding.
GPS Location: N35.4607, W-82.3681
Both the Bearwallow Mountain Trail and the Trombatore Trail start from the same parking lot, at the top of a steep hill on Bearwallow Mountain Road. Parking is limited, so please consider carpooling. Please respect the adjacent property owner by not blocking the gate, road, or driveway across from the parking area or using it to turn around. Click on Conserving Carolina for additional information.
The Wildcat Rock Trail is a strenuous 3-mile hike that takes you to three waterfalls, rock outcropping, and a scenic meadow along the ridge line. This trail allows you to customize your hike for a short or long hike. After one-mile of hiking you reach these three natural features. The Wildcat Rock Trail was formerly known as the Little Bearwallow Falls Trail.
The trail is located off of Hwy. 74-A, at 3823 Gerton Hwy in Gerton, NC, in eastern Henderson County. Click on Conserving Carolina for additional information.
The Park at Flat Rock
The Park at Flat Rock is situated on 66 flat acres. There is a 1.5-mile loop trail around the perimeter of the park, and many other shorter paths that criss-cross through the park, also totaling 1.5 miles. Many of the pathways are covered in fine-crushed rock, making them easy to navigate by foot, bike or with a stroller.
The peaceful park has multiple ponds, many benches along the pathway, a playground, a pavilion that can be rented out, and is home to many flowers and wildlife.
The Park at Flat Rock is open year-round from dawn to dusk, and is located approximately 3 miles from the Visitor Center, at 55 Highland Golf Dr., Flat Rock, NC 28731.
Florence Nature Preserve
The Florence Nature Preserve is a 600-acre property on the side of Little Pisgah Mountain, the tallest peak in Henderson County, that was donated to Conserving Carolina in the late 1990s and early 2000s, to be turned into public land, and now has 5+ miles of trails. Conserving Carolina is is the process of extending the trails on the preserve, to connect the nearby Wildcat, Bearwallow Mountain, Trombatore and Blue Ridge Pastures trails, forming one 20-mile loop trail.
This trails here are classified in difficulty as moderate to strenuous, and include scenic views, creeks and cascades, wildlife and flowers, and an old homesite.
Parking for the Florence Nature Preserve is located off of Hwy. 74-A, at 3836 Gerton Hwy, Gerton, NC 28735, and is shared with the Wildcat Trail.
- Apple Blossom Spring Tour – a driving tour of 3 self-guided driving tours, ranging from 7.5 – 25 miles
- Apple Orchard Trail / Crest of the Blue Ridge – apple orchards, pick your own, tours & roadside stands
- Apple Quest – a permanent scavenger hunt created by Girl Scout Troop 1886 of Henderson County
- Art Gallery Trail – a guide to Henderson County art galleries
- ArtScape – an outdoor public art gallery of banners on the streets and side streets of downtown area
- Cheers Trail! – guide to Henderson County breweries, wineries & cideries
- Dogwood Spring Trail – a 23-mile driving tour of spring blossoms, historic sites and neighborhoods
- Fall Apple Harvest Trail – a driving tour of 3 self-guided driving tours, ranging from 7.5 – 25 miles
- Fall Leaf Color Trail – a 23-mile driving tour of fall leaves, historic sites and neighborhoods
- Farm Market Trail – a guide to farmers markets and produce stands
- Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway – a 79-mile drive through the Pisgah National Forest
- Hendersonville & Flat Rock Tour – walking tour of the historic sites in Hendersonville & Flat Rock
- Heritage Trail – explore the history of Henderson County by visiting its’ historic sites
- Main Street Walking Tour – walking tour of the historic buildings on Main Street
- Pisgah National Forest – tour the Fish Hatchery, Cradle of Forestry, Looking Glass Falls & Sliding Rock
- Quilt Block Trail – a driving/walking tour of colorful quilt block patterns painted on buildings throughout Henderson County