There are so many fun things to do in and around western North Carolina. The region has miles of scenic trails, more breweries than we can count, and endless options for sunrise and sunset views along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ve also got some really sweet places to hang a hammock. But not just any old hammock. We love the ones made by ENO (that’s short for Eagles Nest Outfitters) who are based right here in Asheville! ENO is a 1% for the Planet member and their hammocks not only look cool but they’re easy to set up (read: no knot-tying required). They’re also super-durable and ready for whatever you throw at ‘em. Keep reading to see our favorite and best places to hang a hammock in Asheville, North Carolina. It’s one of THE best ways to spend an afternoon or even a whole day.
Black Balsam Knob
When people ask where we recommend going for a hike near Asheville we recommend Black Balsam Knob. It’s one of our favorite spots to adventure near Asheville not only because of the amazing views but also because getting there means you’ll travel along the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway. Plus, post-hike you can hang a hammock and let your tired legs relax in what is one of the most peaceful and gorgeous hammocking spots in all of western North Carolina.
But first, the hike. We’re going to make you work for your first hammocking spot! Park along Black Balsam Road (the turnoff is located near Mile Marker 420) in one of the spots along the east side of the road. These spots are free but limited so get there early, especially on the weekends. Once you park, look for the trail. It’s on the same side of the road as the parking spots. There’s a small wooden trail marker about a foot high that points the way. (Take the Art Loeb Trail which points to the left but make note of the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) which points right because you’ll take that one to get to your post-hike hammocking spot.)
The hike itself isn’t too far. It’s only about 3/4 of a mile to the summit. (That’s about 1.5 miles roundtrip.) Be sure to bring a camera so you can snap a few photos while you’re up there! Once you’ve had your fill of the views, you can either continue along the Art Loeb Trail, linking up with Tennent Mountain to the north or retrace your steps and head back to relax in your ENO hammock. Consider bringing a map and compass as cell service is limited up there.
Either way, once you decided to head back and hammock, look for the small, wooden trail marker you saw on the way in. Rather than going back to your vehicle, follow the MST trail and after a short, five-minute walk you’ll come to a small wooden bridge. At this bridge, walk down the hill about 25 feet. You’ll see a bunch of healthy trees on the edge of a clearing. There are several to choose from so just pick two and relax at one of our favorite spots to hammock near Asheville.
(Note: if you’re going up to Black Balsam Knob during winter, be sure to check online for road closures. And bring plenty of snacks and water, too. You’re going to want to be here a while. It’s also a great idea to bring a layer as the weather is constantly changing up there. And due to the elevation, you can bet it’ll be cooler up there than it is in town.)
The ENO Gear: Sub6™ Hammock with the Helios™ Hammock Straps
Our go-to hammock for this adventure is ENO’s Sub6™ Hammock. We chose this hammock because it’s super lightweight. It only weighs 5.8 ounces! This is ENO’s lightest hammock and it also happens to be compact, breathable, and durable which makes it perfect for any hiking adventure big or small.
If you’re truly trying to cut down on the weight in your pack, opt for the Helios™ Hammock Straps which also happens to be ENO’s lightest suspension system. It’s easy to set up and adjust and like the hammock, it’s super compact.
Bent Creek Experimental Forest
One of the coolest things about living in Asheville is how quickly we can access nature. For example, from downtown Asheville, it’s only about 11 miles to Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Most locals just refer to this spot as ‘Bent Creek’ and it’s our go-to spot for mountain biking, hiking, trail running, walking, and of course, hammocking. Though the parking lots can fill up early on the weekends, there are nearly 6,000 acres in Bent Creek for you to enjoy which means there’s plenty of space for you to get out and enjoy some peace and quiet.
All that being said, if we had to pick one place in Bent Creek to hang a hammock it’d have to be Lake Powhatan. For one, you can go swimming there. There’s a lifeguard on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day from roughly 8 am to sunset. There’s also a bunch of picnic tables and grills nearby, a sweet little stream, and of course, numerous healthy trees for hanging a hammock safely. Plus, there’s a campground nearby! If you’ve ever wanted to try hammock camping … now’s your chance.
Note: (Walking or biking into Lake Powhatan is free. If you are driving in and parking there is a $5 fee per person.) If you’re planning on camping, be sure to make reservations online ahead of time.
The ENO Gear: Giving Back Hammock with the Atlas™ Hammock Straps
We opt for ENO’s Giving Back Hammock when we go to Bent Creek because both of us can fit in it. It’s a great way for us to relax and spend time in nature, together. Plus, we love that ENO donates a portion of the proceeds from each Giving Back Hammock to the organization associated with the hammock. (Our hammock in the photo here is the Leave No Trace Hammock). ENO has four others to choose from in this category: Pacific Coast Trail Association, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the National Park Foundation. ENO fans will recognize the Giving Back Hammock as ENO’s DoubleNest® Hammock which can hold two people and up to 400 pounds.
As for the hammock straps , you’ll want to make sure to pair your Giving Back Hammock with ENO’s Atlas™ Hammock Straps. This tree-friendly piece of gear is easy to set up and take down and has 30 attachment points so that you can fine-tune your hammock for maximum comfort and relaxation.
Highland Brewing Company
If there’s one thing we’re proud about in Asheville, it’s beer. There are numerous breweries to choose from but we’re BIG fans of Highland Brewing Company. For one, it’s female-led. It’s also the first brewery in Asheville. They’ve been making excellent beers since 1994. Our go-to brew is their Daycation IPA. And while you can get Highland beers at several places around town, we recommend checking out their brewery because it’s not only a great place to get a beer but they’re also one of our favorite and best places to hang a hammock in Asheville. Access to tasty beer is just a short walk away from your hammock and so is the bathroom. And volleyball courts. And picnic tables. Trails, too. There’s usually a food truck on-site as well. (Check Highland Brewing Company’s Facebook page for their weekly food truck schedule and hammock with something tasty in your tummy.)
This is the place to visit if you want to not only chill in your favorite ENO hammock but you also want to be social. Picture this: a sunny day, music in the background, you with a cold beverage in your hand, lounging around in your favorite hammock in Highland’s Meadow. It’s pretty hard to beat. Maybe we’ll see ya there?!
Note: be sure to check the Highland Brewing Company’s website for the most recent and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
The ENO Gear: SkyLoft™ Hammock with the Atlas™ Hammock Straps
You can take your comfort at Highland Brewing Company to the next level with ENO’s SkyLoft™ Hammock. Its unique design has two modes: Relax and Sleep. The best part is, toggling between the two of them is super easy. The setup is simple, too. If you’re looking for maximum comfort (there’s a stuff sack that can double as a pillow) without a ton of hassle, this is your go-to hammock. It also happens to be our top hammock choice for lounging around at Highland because it’s made with breathable material and two stretchy nylon pockets so you can keep track of your phone, keys and wallet. Plus, the SkyLoft™ Hammock makes use of a portable spreader bar on each end that allows for more of an open vista which is GREAT for people watching or kicking back with a beer.
As for the hammock straps, you’re going to want to use the Atlas™ Hammock Straps for all of the same reasons mentioned above. However, one added bonus feature is that these hammock straps have reflective stitching on them. We love this feature because it means you can keep hammocking after the sun goes down without worrying that someone will walk into your hammock or straps.
Best Places to Hammock in Asheville Recap
How many of our top spots to hang a hammock in Asheville have you been to? Do you have other favorites in the western North Carolina area? If so, we’d love to hear about them!
Bonus: Have you recently Googled ‘where to hang a hammock near me?’ When we’re traveling, we do that, too! It’s one of our favorite activities to do and when we’re in a new spot we like to see what the locals suggest. If you’re going to be in the sunshine state, be sure to check out Patrick Connelly’s blog post on Where to Hang a hammock in Central Florida. If you’re headed north, Erica Garfinkle’s post on Where to Hang a Hammock in New Jersey has some great suggestions.
This post was produced in partnership with ENO (Eagles Nest Outfitters, Inc.) Visit them online or give ’em a follow on Instagram to learn more about individual products, check out some of their other gear items, or read additional blog stories!