Running in Asheville

Asheville is a paradise for both novice and seasoned runners - a place to find your ideal stride. With an abundance of amazingly beautiful trails, two annual marathons, and an Ironman half-marathon coming to the area next year, you will definitely find your running bliss here. There are many trails in the area; everywhere you are, you are sure to find the some of the best trails around.

The Appalachian Trail

Aqua Falls

Running the Appalachian Trail is a feather in anyone's cap (or sneaker). Often called the mother of all trails, the A.T. can be accessed locally about 45 minutes north of Asheville in Hot Springs, NC. Starting out at the Silver Mine Trailhead parking lot, Lover' s Leap Loop is a 3.2 mile strenuous out-and-back trail which takes you along the French Broad River and up along Appalachian Trail to a majestic view of the valley below. Another couple of options for a run along the A.T. (and also near Hot Springs), are located at Max Patch. The first trail is a short, relatively flat 1.4 mile loop that crosses the summit. For a bit more of a challenge, hit the 2.4 mile out-and-back moderate trail which circles the mountain along its grassy bald at Max Patch, offering stunning views of the mountains. A dreamy place to stay nearby is Aqua Falls. This three-bedroom cabin in Hot Springs offers a truly authentic mountain experience. Submerse yourself in nature by taking a run along the creekside trail that runs near the cabin. After a long run, rest your hopefully not-too-sore muscles in the outdoor hot tub or in front of the fireplace.

Mountains-to-Sea Trail

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail runs across North Carolina from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. Locally, it generally follows along the same route as the Blue Ridge Parkway. A good place to access the trail is at the Folk Art Center on the Parkway where the trail's Section 7 ends and Section 8 begins. Section 8 is 22 miles in total, stretching from the Folk Art Center, past Rattlesnake Lodge and Craggy Gardens, and up to Balsam Gap. The terrain is hilly and challenging, but a great spot for a good out-and-back run. After a day of hitting the trail, nearby Cool Stream is a log cabin in an ideal location to call your home- away-from-home. This spacious three-bedroom cabin gives you a tranquil creekside home with vaulted ceilings, a quiet loft space, relaxing decks, and a hot tub, all amid the solitude of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Biltmore Estate

With over 22 miles of hiking trails, the Biltmore Estate is a scenic (and maybe surprising) place to run. Most of its visitors stick to touring the home's interiors and the formal gardens, so the trails often are a private, natural luxury for those who run. When you stay with Carolina Mornings, you will receive the exclusive Mountain Discovery Pass, which gives you Biltmore Estate admission for one for every night of your stay. Nearby Mimi's Cottage is just three minutes from the Biltmore Estate and is a wonderfully charming vacation rental.This two-bedroom eco-friendly home is bright and cozy - the perfect place to rest your head after a day of running and experiencing Asheville.

DuPont State Forest

DuPont State Forest is a 10,400-acre state forest that is located in both Hendersonville and Transylvania counties. There are over 85 trails running through the forest. Many of the paths lead to lakes and waterfalls, including Triple Falls and Bridal Falls. After a day exploring DuPont State Forest, Living Waters in Hendersonville is an ideal and relaxing vacation rental. This one-bedroom retreat rests on a half-acre pond and is most definitely a haven of peace and quiet.

Graveyard Fields Loop and the Devil's Courthouse Trail

Graveyard Fields Loop is a relatively moderate trail. Located at over 5,000-feet elevation, at mile post Hot Tub and View at Truly Breathless418.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this 3.2 mile trail leads you to Lower Falls and back. Not far away, a bit more strenuous but shorter trail, the Devil's Courthouse (at mile marker 422.4), is a half-mile steep, short trail. It leads to the summit of the Devil's Courthouse, a rock profile that treats you to gorgeous 360-degree panoramic views. To experience more stunning mountaintop views, a nearby cabin is Truly Breathless. You will feel on top of the world in this rustic yet luxurious three-bedroom cabin that is appointed with a southwestern motif interior, amazing views from the hot tub and decks, and your very own private trail that leads to the Pisgah National Forest.

Urban Trail

You don't have to go too far to hit a trail when in Asheville. In fact, you can step outside of your downtown vacation rental and hit a trail. The Urban Trail is a 1.7 mile loop around the downtown area. While most people walk the Urban Trail and enjoy the historical and architectural sights, its a great way to get in a short run and get a good sense of the streets and sights of downtown. A stay at Studio Lex places you in the middle of it all. Located in the heart of downtown, this modern loft is just a few steps away from many wonderful restaurants and shops.

Shut-In Trail

The Shut-In Trail is a 16-mile historical trail constructed around 1890 by George Vanderbilt III (builder and original owner of the Biltmore Estate). With its nearly 3,000-foot elevation change, you might consider it as a way to log some challenging miles. Vanderbilt used it to reach his hunting cabin in Buck Springs from the estate. The Shut-In Trail (so named for its plant and tree coverings that create tunnel-like paths) is easily accessed off Highway 191 near the Bent Creek Recreation Area, or at its summit - mile marker 408, the Mt. Pisgah Mountain Parking Area. The Arboretum, also located off of Highway 191 near the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance, offers numerous trails enjoyed by local joggers. A nearby cabin, Among the Clouds Getaway, is a three-bedroom cabin that sits on five mountain acres. Rest up while enjoying tremendous views from the picnic area, porch, deck, or hot tub. This beautiful cabin will give you a comfortable place to rest your head and legs.

Pack your bags and your running shoes and call Carolina Mornings today at (877) 902-9441 to reserve your Asheville mountain cabin. A professional Vacation Planner will help line up your vacation rental accommodations, Biltmore Estate tickets, and outdoor adventures such as ziplining and golf (included with every Carolina Mornings rental!).

By: Carmen Ybarra

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