Have the holidays got you feeling antsy? Bundle up and wear your wool socks for a jaunt through the snowy woods. Winter hikes have numerous advantages over summer hikes: the views are wide open, the trails are quiet and uncrowded, and most days the sun is shining. Here's a few trails that will lead you right to winter wonderland.
Waterfalls become works of art in the winter season. Parts of the falls freeze as though they are still flowing and icicles stretch to the water's surface. Looking Glass Falls and Moore Cove Falls are both near Brevard, NC, about an hour south of Asheville.
Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest
Easy accessibility makes Looking Glass Falls a good outing for the whole family. The 60-foot tall waterfall can be seen from the parking area or explored in depth with a walk down the stairs to the river. Looking Glass Falls is a six miles drive north from Brevard on US 276 (Forest Heritage Scenic Byway).
Moore Cove Falls in Pisgah National Forest
A 1.5 mile roundtrip hike makes for a beautiful wintery walk to Moore Cove Falls. This 50-foot waterfall is known for making fabulous frozen sculptures during cold spells. Just one mile north of Looking Glass Falls on US 276, Moore Cove Falls isn't marked by any road signs, but can be found by keeping an eye out for a small parking area just before a stone bridge. A wooden pedestrian bridge takes you to the trail; follow the yellow blazes to the waterfall.
Sams Gap, near Mars Hill, NC
A moderate two-mile hike south on the Appalachian Trail from Sam's Gap to High Rock offers a great mountain view. For a little more leg stretching and a 360 degree view, head north 6.5 miles on the AT to Big Bald Mountain at a 5,516-foot elevation.
Directions: From Asheville, head west on I-26 to Exit 3 and take a left on Highway 23A. If you're staying at Scenic Wolf Resort, go back to Highway 23A and drive north. Three miles north of the I-26 exit, and just before an I-26 overpass, there's a parking area on the left side of the road. To hike south to High Rock, walk under the overpass to the trailhead on the left side of the road; signs mark the trail. To hike north to Big Bald Mountain, cross the road from the parking area and you'll see a gate at the AT trail entrance.
Carver's Gap at Roan Mountain
Roan Mountain is frequently blanketed by snow in the winter, even when the cityscape is clear. An easy climb up the Appalachian Trail from the Carver's Gap parking area (open year-round) to Round Bald reveals gorgeous long range views of white, snow-capped mountains. Venture a little further to pass over Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge. It's a bit of a drive to reach Roan Mountain (about an hour and a half north of Asheville), but well worth the journey.
Directions: Take I-26 West toward Tennessee, exit for Highway 173/107 and stay on 173 to TN 37S/US 19E. Turn right on Tennessee State Road 143, following the signs for Roan Mountain State Park and proceed up the mountain to the Carver's Gap parking area. Cross the road to the AT and you're on your way.
Carolina Mornings, the Asheville area's premiere provider of luxury mountain cabins, would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal readers. We invite you to experience a winter getaway in a North Carolina cabin rental.
Ski season is here and they're blowing snow up at Scenic Wolf Resort - get a free lift pass for every day of your stay with our complimentary Mountain Discovery Pass. Call a Carolina Mornings Vacation Planner today to book your Asheville cabin!