Source: Explore Asheville

Wellness and Outdoor Adventures Await in Asheville


At the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies Asheville, a daring city bursting at the seams with breathtaking vistas and creative energy. This mountain community is a haven for wellness, healing, and outdoor adventures – from hiking and biking, to garden strolls and paddleboarding. The rolling landscapes connect visitors and locals alike to the natural surroundings, which is steeped in a rich history as a therapeutic environment. And a temperate climate allows for year-round adventures in Asheville's mountains and meadows. Check out our guide to the transformative beauty that awaits you in the heart of Appalachia.

Outside Style Guide
Source: Explore Asheville

Recharge With These Outdoor Adventures

Pack your gear for these excursions through the most beautiful parts of the Asheville area. Catawba Falls is a quick drive to the outskirts of town and features a trail along rushing water with a series of cascades deep in the forest. If scenic views are more your style, hike to the top of Max Patch, a footpath leading to a "bald," the Southern Appalachian name for a hilltop without a single tree. This "crown jewel of the Appalachian Trail" features a majestic view, and is the perfect spot for a picnic or frisbee toss.

For the best views of Asheville, hit the trail to Mount Pisgah and summit one of the most recognizable mountain peaks in the area. As you ascend to the top, you'll encounter undulating meadows of summer flowers before discovering the iconic Cold Mountain. For a gentler experience, Craggy Gardens lets you take in a stunning view of bursting colors against the mountain side. Purple rhododendron flowers paint the mountain range in the summer, and changing foliage lights up the ridge with brilliant orange, red, and yellow leaves during fall.

Lace up your runners, because Asheville boasts a plethora of paths and trails that will get your blood pumping. Check out Authentic Asheville and Asheville Run Crew for intel on exhilarating trails. Both organizations – owned and operated by writer, photographer, and runner Erin McGrady – highlight safe spaces for queer folks in the Asheville area. McGrady, a gay Korean-American, started these organizations to pave the way for more LGBTQ+-inclusive places that foster community through fun activities and outdoor sports. For a slower pace, the NC Arboretum is a sprawling 434-acre nature grove – complete with beautiful gardens, miles of forested hiking and biking trails, art and science exhibits, and gift shop and bistro.

Grove Park Inn
Source: Explore Ashevile

Rejuvenating Spas

Step into these spaces to revitalize your senses. Sauna House, a modern bathhouse experience in downtown Asheville, embraces the healing balance of hot and cold. Discover a wealth of health benefits with wet or infrared saunas followed by cold plunge therapy, and finish with a mindful rest on stone-cast heated furniture.

You can also enter a world of bliss and tranquility at Shoji Spa, a Japanese-inspired wellness retreat nestled in the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. The lush setting invites you to soak and unwind in private outdoor salt tubs, enjoy an invigorating massage, and shop locally-sourced products that will remind you of the hours you spent in this treetop hideaway.

If your tired feet need some attention, head to Wake Foot Sanctuary, an herbal foot soak and massage spa. Hand-hammered copper bowls are filled with an herbal soak of your choice, such as lavender chamomile or salty beach rose. You can also enjoy a massage service while you soak. And don't pass on the collection of luxurious Wake boutique spa products for home and on the go.

For a more immersive experience, transport yourself to another time and place inside The Salt Cave. Dubbed "the most relaxing 45 minutes of your life," The Salt Cave is made of Polish, Himalayan, Celtic, and Dead Sea salt rock crystals, creating a microclimate that nurtures the mind and body with its natural minerals and other restorative elements. Relax in comfy recliners, meditate, and allow your body to rest in peaceful tranquility.

Source: Darrell Cassell

Exciting and Unusual Things to Do

If off-the-beaten-path experiences are more your style, Asheville offers a multitude of activities for thrill-seekers of all kinds. Cultivate Climbing is an indoor climbing gym with an inclusive and diverse community. The gym "brings the spirit of the mountains into the heart of the city," where you'll discover challenging bouldering terrains, programs for all ages, and the highest quality equipment and coaches. Ask about the South Eastern Queer Climbers affinity group – facilitating a sense of safety and community for queers of every background – to join a climbers meeting and receive half-off day passes.

If you want to get your groove on, check out the Asheville Movement Collective, an organization whose mission is to achieve harmony in authentic and healthy communities through dance. The free-form moves you'll learn at one of their many events will give you a newfound sense of freedom on the dance floor.

To continue your "euphoric" experience, drop in at The Pot Stirred, America's first mushroom cafe featuring alcohol-free mushroom and botanical-infused drinks. This LGBTQ-owned space, tucked away in the River Arts District, serves lattes and teas made from fungi and plant-based products. Choose an elevating or grounding beverage from the menu, and embark on an imbibing journey at once exciting and new.

Source: Rachel Pressley

Plan Your Trip

If you want to refresh and recharge, or connect with the healing qualities of nature, a therapeutic experience awaits in Asheville. Visit Explore Asheville or download the Explore Asheville App to start planning your Appalachian getaway today.

by Roger Porter

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