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  • Getting outside in Asheville (other than the Blue Ridge Parkway)

    Tuesday, November 29, 2022   /   by Amy Brown

    Getting outside in Asheville (other than the Blue Ridge Parkway)

    The Peace of Wild Things

    When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    -Wendell Berry

    Asheville is famous for the Blue Ridge Parkway, peaceful drives with awe-inspiring overlooks, and endless mountain vista hikes. But there are plenty of places right outside your front door where you can find the serenity that nature brings. Here are a few of my favorites!

    Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary

    Located in the N. Asheville neighborhood of Lakeview Park, this is a serene marsh area filled with all species of NC birds. The boardwalks take you out over the lake and have plenty of quiet places to sit in peace and contemplate the world.

    The lake itself also has a 1.5 mile nature trail where you can walk, jog, or fish. You are allowed to bring your dogs and to use the lake for non-motorized watercraft but you must have a permit available at the boathouse on the Merrimon Ave. side of the lake.


    French Broad River Greenway


    The French Broad River Greenway runs for 3.5 miles connecting 3 parks; Hominy Creek River Park, Carrier Park, and the French Broad River Park. The paved trail follows the river and is a great place to ride bikes or roller skate.

    The easiest place to park will be Carrier Park located at 220 Amboy Rd. in W. Asheville. It also has a lot of great amenities such as a roller hockey rink, basketball courts, volleyball courts, and a cycling velodrome.


    The Botanical Gardens at Asheville


    The Botanical Gardens is located on W.T. Weaver Blvd. near UNC-Asheville and is free to the public. Aside from the beautiful plants, the university also holds numerous classes for a nominal fee that you can sign up for such as bird walks, wildflower walks, and talks about the native trees and and plant history. In the Spring and Fall, they hold plant sales for those interested in getting their garden started with native plants that will flourish.


    Point Lookout Bike Greenway


    If you are a cycling enthusiast and are looking for a ride with a view and no traffic, then you have to try Point Lookout. It is a 3.6 mile paved trail with 900' climb in elevation traversing the mountain from Ridgecrest (just outside of Black Mountain) to Old Fort. Open May-October.


    Asheville is home to over 56 parks, greenways, and sports complexes; all free to the public. Take a look at the link below for a full list of parks and get some ideas of fun things to do this weekend or on your next visit!