Spring is transitioning into Summer here in Western North Carolina, and much of the Asheville population is gearing up and heading outdoors to take advantage of our diverse surroundings. As much as the city of Asheville provides its population with arts, culture, and endless entertainments, it also provides everyone with easy access to a buffet of outdoor activities.
I always enjoy incorporating outdoor fun into my exercise routine, so for the next few weeks I will be pointing out some great alternatives to the gym that you can find right here in our beloved WNC. If you find yourself with an open afternoon on a sunny day, give one of them a try.
Mt. Pisgah Trail
Just a little ways down the always enjoyable Blue Ridge Parkway, this gem of a hike can be found at milepost 407.6 at the back end of the parking area. The entrance is marked by a large wooden sign. The incline begins at an easier grade, but quickly turns into a climb with safely placed stairs using large rocks and roots. It’s a 1.5 mile climb all the way to the summit of Mt. Pisgah, and once you reach the top you will see why it’s so worth it.
The views from the observation deck at the summit are truly magnificent, offering nearly 360 degrees of rolling Appalachian mountains. Yes, the summit is also home to a large transmission tower that blocks out a portion of the scenery, but just turn your back on it and soak in the great landscape ahead of you.
This trail is a great way to build strength and endurance in your legs. Walking up those stairs will really get the glutes and calves working, and the down trip can help strengthen the quadriceps. You should plan to spend 2-3 hours hiking, so make sure to bring plenty of water and maybe a small snack.
This hike is classified at a moderate difficulty level, so take it at your own pace. If you’d like a bit more of a challenge, try switching between 1 minute of jogging and 2 minutes of walking to push your heart rate. Whatever gets you to the top so you can enjoy the sights!