What is the difference between running trails and road running? What are some benefits of trail running?
Trail running is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature. The trails are usually less crowded and offer a unique experience. They also provide a good workout because they require speed, endurance, and strength.
Running trails offers a variety of benefits over road running. Trail runners often run faster, burn more calories, and improve their cardiovascular fitness.
In this article, we will go through a list of some of the best trails offering all sorts of variety in the Asheville area.
Richmond Hill Park Trail
This loop is 4.02 km in distance. This trail is situated in Richmond Hill Park, North Carolina. Richmond Hill Park trail is short with very little elevation gain, as a result, it can be tackled by anyone.
This area is a prime location for hikers, cyclists and runners, so you’ll bump into people along the way. Be aware of fast-moving cyclists, though. Also, dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash.
Bent Creek Network: Wolf Branch
This loop is not for the faint of heart. With a total distance of 11.8 km, this trail is considered one of the more challenging in the area. Bent Creek Network: Wolf Branch is located in the Powhatan Recreation Area, near Asheville.
Depending on your fitness level, this route takes an average of 3 hours 30 minutes. It is also a great location for fishing.
This trail is open all year, but it’s recommended to visit between the months of April to October. If you have a dog make sure it’s kept on a leash.
Beaver Lake Perimeter Trail Loop
This is a short 3.06 km loop in Beaver Lake Park. This is a very easy route to complete and shouldn’t take you more than 45 minutes.
Furthermore, this trail takes in the beautiful Beaver lake which is a popular fishing spot and also paddle boarding and rowing.
The trail tends to get quite busy but if you pick your moment you can find yourself there enjoying some solitude. This route is open year-round with the exception of heavy rainfall.
An important point worth noting is that you need a permit if you want to cycle, walk your dog or use the lake.
Bent Creek Network: Wolf Branch Loop Trail
This trail is 6.3 km long in Powhatan Recreation Area near Asheville and isn’t a challenging trail with only a small amount of elevation gain. Depending on fitness, this loop should take around 1 hour 30 minutes to complete.
You will likely encounter cyclists, trail runners, and hikers along the path, so be aware of the fast-moving cyclists and make sure you abide by the correct yielding rules.
What is unique and appealing to many about this trail is dogs are allowed to be off-leash in many areas. This route is open year-round but will close except for bad weather. The ideal months to visit are between March and October.
Owl Ridge Trail
This route is 8.7 km in distance and takes you through the beautiful Pisgah National Forest, near Asheville. Although this trail is decent in length, it’s very flat and considered easy going and suitable for all.
Depending on fitness levels, this trail should take around 2 hours 20 minutes to complete. This trail is great for running, cycling, and hiking. You may encounter people in the busier parts of the day and, if so, be sure to yield to the correct groups.
If you time it right, you can also have this trail to yourself and enjoy some nice solitude in nature. This route is open year-round but not in the case of heavy rainfall. If you have a dog, it must be kept on a lead.
Blue Ridge Parkway Trail: Valley Springs
This lovely out and back trail is located in the Blue Ridge Parkway Preserve near Asheville. This trail is a total distance of 10 km with only a small amount of elevation gain.
With average fitness levels, this route should take approximately 2 hours 45 minutes.
This out and back trail is very fun for mountain biking, running and hiking with lots of wildlife and nature to explore. The appealing thing for many about this trail is it’s often very quiet.
More often than not you will find yourself there alone, enjoying solitude in beautiful nature. Weather can be bad here, so sometimes a seasonal road closure can be put in place.
Make sure you check ahead to save yourself any inconvenience.
French Broad River Greenway To New Belgium Brewery
If you’re feeling up to a challenge, you can tackle this hefty 14.4 km out and back trail in the French Broad River Park. Luckily there is no real elevation gain so although it’s a long hike, there won’t be too much time battling hills.
Depending on your level of fitness, this route should take approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. Make sure you pack water and snacks to keep hydrated, and your energy levels stocked up.
This trail is great for cycling, hiking, walking, and trail running. It is also humming with wildlife. This lovely out and back route is open year-round.
If you feel like bringing your dog, just make sure you keep it on a lead.
Big Berea Trail, Bull Creek Trail, White Pine Loop
This cute little loop is only 2.9 km in length in Asheville. This is perfect if you are pushed for time or have a family with small children, and you feel like getting out the house and letting the kids blow off some steam.
Depending on fitness levels, this loop shouldn’t take more than 50 minutes to complete. You may encounter other cyclists, runners and hikers along the way.
Make sure to yield to the correct groups and keep any dogs on leads.
If you time it cleverly, you can find yourself walking the trail in peace and quiet, enjoying nature’s song all to yourself. This trial is beautiful and can be done at any time of year, although a nice sunny day is recommended!
Natural Garden, Bent Creek And Carolina Mountain Loop
This is a short but sweet 4.4 km loop in Pisgah National Forest. With very little elevation gain, this route is considered an easy route.
Depending on how fit you are, this route will take approximately 1 hour 15 minutes to complete.
This location is ideal for cycling, hiking, trail running and walking. Many people love this route because it is one of the quietest and most secluded.
It’s unlikely you’ll bump into any other visitors during your time, so it’s a great place to enjoy some solitude in nature. This area is thriving with wildlife so if you bring some binoculars, you will no doubt spot some magnificent animals.
Masters Park: Maple Drive To Blue Ridge Parkway
And finally, to wrap up this beautiful array of trails in the Asheville region, we have this incredibly short but stunning 0.7 km point to point trail.
Within this short distance, there is more than 100 meters elevation, so you’ll find yourself tackling some decent hills along the way.
Depending on fitness levels, this route should take around 30 minutes to complete. This trail is open all year but the best months to visit are between March and October.
You will most likely run into mountain bikers, runners, and walkers along this route, however, if you go at quieter times of the day, there is a good chance you’ll get this delightful trail all to yourself.
There are plenty of wonderful trails to choose from in the Asheville area, from loops, out and backs, to point-to-point excursions.
With almost all of them open year-round, you’ll always be able to find a fun trail to hike, run or cycle.
Just bear in mind that some of these trails require permits and rules and regulations must be followed to maintain the integrity of these special areas.
I hope you have found the information you were looking for in this article. Happy hiking!