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Gypsy Queen: An Asheville Bohemian Day Hike

June 20th, 2016

Asheville is a city where people come to get lost, let their hair down, and reinvent themselves. Whether trying pottery for the first time, dancing to bluegrass music, flying in a hot air balloon over the mountain valley, or gazing at art-lined walls, the opportunities to explore in the city are endless. And no one even needs to know your name.

But when you grow tired of the bustling city sidewalks and yearn for a quieter spot for optimal self-reflection, follow our bohemian guide as she leads you through several accessible and beautiful natural settings just outside of Asheville.

Skip the Blue Ridge Parkway, which can get crowded in the summers and peak autumn leaf seasons, and try some of our local gypsy's favorites.

Waterfall Wonderland in DuPont

The DuPont State Forest is home to more than 10,000 acres of green forests, lush waterfalls, and picturesque clearings. Our guide loves to select one of the large rock slabs downriver from High Falls. It's the perfect place to spread a few blankets and meditate, listen to the sound of gurgling water or the soft roar of the falls around the bend. She'll read your tarot and tell you what's in store. Don't bother keeping time in this forest. The trails are easy to find and follow and loop into each other, so you can wander at a pace that is just right for you. You may encounter a few four-legged friends here, since horseback riding is a favorite in DuPont.

Serenity Along The Swannanoa River

Nothing is more idyllic than packing a bag with books, a light lunch, and a journal and pen, and setting off to walk along the Swannanoa River. Encounter golden fields and listen to the cattle low as they wander near Warren Wilson College. In the summers, the Swannanoa River trail near the college is fairly empty, allowing you to idle among the gnarled trees, little bamboo forests, and hedges with hardly any interruption save for a runner with a pup or a couple strolling by. Dip your toes in the creek. Bring a blanket and soak in the sun before it disappears behind the mountains. The wind through the valley is light and comfortable, and you can walk along five miles. Try going barefoot.

Cooling Down in Kimsey Creek Wilderness

About an hour's drive west of Asheville on Highway 64 is access to Kimsey Creek Wilderness in the Nantahala National Forest. Park at the Standing Indian parking lot for the day and gear up. Follow your gypsy guide as she slips between the skinny birches and around towering pines, down foot paths wide enough for only one person. You'll travel through calf-high stands of ferns, wildflowers, and trilliums. You may encounter a few shelter rocks you can crawl into and sit, reflecting on the deeper nature within. Go for a dip in one of the many swimming holes--they're icy cold and refreshing! Bring your favorite brimmed hat to protect yourself from the sun dappling through the branches. But remember to stop and place your hand upon the bark of trees that have stood here for centuries. As you build a fire for the evening, you may hear the cry of a bobcat high in the mountains around you.