BY NICKI CONROY, A 2016 ASHEVILLE MARATHON AMBASSADOR
With a population of approximately 90,000 people, Asheville is a big city for this upstate New York girl. I’m not a city girl so the fact that I can be in the city one minute and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains within 10 minutes of driving time makes Asheville the perfect city for me.
As you drive on I-26 or I-40 around the outskirts of Asheville, you will see exit signs that indicate the Blue Ridge Parkway. Any of these exits will put you on one of America’s scenic roads. The Blue Ridge Parkway starts with mile 0 at Rockfish Gap, Virginia and goes south to mile 469 near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee, North Carolina, traveling right through Asheville! Because of unpredictable weather in the mountains in the winter, many of the facilities along the Parkway are closed. If you are planning more than a short hike off the Parkway, please check to see what the weather may hold in store for you.
I did some driving along the Parkway before going onto some of the trails for some miles of hiking. The overlooks pose beautiful opportunities for photos, so do not forget your camera. The hiking can vary in difficulty. Weather will play a huge part in this as rain will make the slopes more slippery and it will be very muddy. I would suggest keeping an eye on the weather for the week prior and after the Asheville Marathon & Half for hiking-planning to guess what the ground might be like.
Below are some photos from my time on the Blue Ridge Parkway while visiting Asheville. There are also a few links below for additional information to help plan your visit!
National Park Service Blue Ridge Parkway
Sleepy Gap (National Forest Service Site) Hiking
Romantic Asheville’s Hiking Page