Walking is one of my favorite exercises whether I’m alone, with a friend and lost in conversation, or with my dogs on a romp through the woods.
Asheville has over 3,000 miles of hiking trails nearby, all free and open to the public. This includes trails through the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway offer hundreds of miles of beautiful hiking opportunities.
Walking trails in Asheville are easy to find, and many of the 55+ communities offer miles of pathways that wind through green spaces or alongside forest streams or mountain lakes.
For scenic views, take a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and park at an overlook or locate a trailhead for a walk in the woods. Hiking outdoors nourishes your heart and lungs, casts a rosy glow on your skin, and lifts your spirit. Asheville’s scenic landscapes are inspiring, and the rhythm of your steps can help regulate the body’s systems and encourage a good night’s sleep.
Aside from the physical workout, walking can help improve your memory—at least for some things. Every day on my walk with the dogs I run into neighbors whose names have slipped my mind but whose dogs’ names I will never forget.
Speaking of dogs, of course you don’t need one to go for a walk, but if you’re up to having a furry best friend they certainly help you get outside to move your booty every day! Scientists have recently said that, probably due to the regular exercise, it looks as though dog owners live longer, according to a Swedish study.
In town, the Botanical Garden at UNC-Asheville offers a peaceful, easy trail next to a stream that will make you forget you’re actually right downtown.
The Biltmore Estate is another centrally located, well-loved resource for tourists and locals alike. The grounds near the house, through the gardens, and down by the lakes offer 23 miles of easy to moderate scenic trails.
Click the link for a list of easy, moderate, or strenuous trails accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway.