Where is Black Mountain, you ask? Well, from downtown Asheville it’s only 16 miles away (or, depending on traffic, a 20-minute car ride.) As they say, location is everything. And it’s true! You can opt to stay in Black Mountain and access the city with just a short drive, or you can do the reverse and stay in Asheville, visiting Black Mountain for a quick day-trip. Either way, you can’t go wrong. There’s a bunch of things to do in this small town including shopping, outdoor activities, live music, etc. Keep reading to see our favorite places to go hiking near Black Mountain and much more.
Best Hikes near Black Mountain, NC
One of the best things to do in Black Mountain, NC is get outdoors! You’re in the mountains after all, so you might as well take advantage of them and go hiking, drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, see some sunsets, etc. Some of the best hikes near Black Mountain include the Graybeard Trail and Lookout Trail. And if you’re looking for something a little less intense, take a walk around the perimeter of nearby Lake Tomahawk.
Graybeard Trail | N35.65940, W82.29608
Use the coordinates N35.65940, W82.29608 to find the Graybeard Trailhead. This is easily one of the best hikes near Black Mountain, NC. From downtown Black Mountain it’s a little under 4 miles (about a 10 minute drive). The trail itself is an out and back hike. It’s just under 5 miles one way. Round trip is roughly 9.5 miles long. From the parking lot, your hike starts by crossing a wooden bridge and then steadily climbs. It’s a fairly strenuous hike and long enough that you should bring plenty of snacks and water. Though there are blue diamond blazes to follow, be sure to bring a map and compass. Do not rely on your cell phone GPS in this area. Also, be aware that you are on private property owned by the Montreat Conference Center. They allow individual hikers to use their land so please practice leave no trace principles and be a good steward of the land.
Hike to Walker’s Knob for an incredible view, especially in the fall when the leaves start to change. It’s roughly 6.5 miles out and back along the Graybeard Trail to Walker’s Knob. We think this is one of the best hikes near Black Mountain, NC. (Actually, though, this hike is also technically located in Montreat, not Black Mountain). Once you reach the shelter, it’s only about a 5 minute hike to the overlook. Though technically it’s accessed by hiking the Graybeard Trail, we wanted to draw attention to this hike because it’s beautiful and you can get a great view without hiking the entire Graybeard Trail. Be careful out at the edge as there aren’t any fences and some of the drop offs are steep and dangerous.
Lookout Trail | 35.64269, -82.29094
Another one of our favorite and best hikes near Black Mountain is the Lookout Trail. It’s an easy trail and is also fairly short. The Lookout Trail is 1.4 miles long. It gets pretty busy, so go early and beat the crowds. The trail itself is steep in sections with some rock scrambling at the top. Use the coordinates above to locate the Lookout Trail trailhead and parking lot.
Catawba Falls | 3074 Catawba River Rd
Catawba Falls makes our list of the best hikes near Asheville. It also makes our list of the best things to do near Black Mountain because it’s even closer with Black Mountain as your jumping-off point. (Technically, though, it’s in Old Fort.) It’s one of the shorter and easier hiking trails in the area and it leads to one of the most stunning and beautiful waterfalls in all of Western North Carolina! Hop on over to our Best Hikes Near Asheville to learn more about this hike.
Best Outdoor Activities in Black Mountain, NC
Lake Tomahawk Park | 401 Laurel Circle Drive
Another one of the best things to do in Black Mountain is to pay a visit to Lake Tomahawk Park. The park itself is a little more than 16 acres while the lake itself is nearly 9 acres. This is a great place for a picnic, play tennis, throw a few horseshoes, play on the playground, or to take a walk. There’s a walking trail that goes around the lake. It’s flat and is only a half a mile long. You can even fish at this lake but you’ll need to get a North Carolina fishing license. Visit Wal Mart, Bass Pro Shop or the NC Wildlife website to obtain one. Oh and, last but not least, Lake Tomahawk Park is also a great place to see fall colors in western North Carolina. Aside from hiking, this is one of the best places to get into outdoor activities in Black Mountain.
Play golf at the Black Mountain Golf Course | 17 Ross Drive
The golf course in Black Mountain is open year round although it’s closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Check out their different rates (weekend, weekday, twilight, and senior) or purchase an annual or players pass. Black Mountain Golf Course’s claim to fame is their 17th hole which has a 747 yard Par 6! At one time it was the longest hole in the world. It’s a beautiful place to play and also has a grill on-site where you can grab a beer or a bite post-golf. If you like to golf, you’ll probably find this one of the best things to do in Black Mountain, NC.
Play disc golf at Owen High School | 99 Lake Eden Road
There’s a disc golf course at Owen High School in Black Mountain. (Disc golf is also known as frisbee golf.) The course isn’t open during school hours or when there is an event but otherwise, you can go and play for free. If you’re looking for something outside and free to do near Black Mountain, NC, check the course out!
Breweries and Bars in Black Mountain
Nearby Asheville, NC is home to dozens of breweries but the ones in Black Mountain are worth checking out as well! For a small town, there are a surprising number of places to get a drink.
In 2017, Black Mountain Brewing flung open it’s doors and started pouring tasty craft beers. They currently offer six taps and rotate various beers in and out. They almost always have a standard lager or IPA on tap. But they also offer things like Bacon Pancakes Imperial Stout and a Lorelei Tropical Hazy IPA. Not sure what to try? Get a flight and try any four beers. Last, but not least, their patio is friendly to well-behaved dogs and they offer crowlers to-go.
Pisgah Brewing isn’t in downtown Black Mountain but it’s close. And it’s a great place to grab a beer and or see a live show on their Outdoor Stage. We love their Pisgah Pale Ale and their Greybeard IPA. They have food trucks at the brewery five nights a week (Wednesday – Sunday). Dogs and children are welcome until 8pm. Heads up that Pisgah Brewing is a cash-only site. They do, however, have two ATM’s on the property. Covid-19 update: The taproom is currently closed. They do have cold beer to go at their drive-thru (Saturdays from 12 – 5).
This small-batch brewery in Black Mountain is a great spot for trying new beers. Lookout Mountain regularly has IPA’s and lagers on tap but they also brew up creative beers such as a Raspberry Wit and a Pineapple New England Ale. Non-beer drinkers can partake in Ginger’s Revenge Ginger Beer, Urban Orchard’s Cider, and Shanti Elixir’s Jun. Want to do something physical and then head to the brewery? Meet up at Vertical Runner on Wednesdays and Sundays for a group run (all paces are welcome) and then head on over to Lookout Mountain for a beer.
One of the best kept secrets, though quickly not becoming a secret anymore, is Oak and Grist Distillery. It’s located on the outskirts of Black Mountain but conveniently off of US-40. William and his team make whiskey and gin. Their tasting room is open during Covid-19 but tours are currently on halt. This is definitely a unique place to check out when visiting Black Mountain because they make all of their spirits from scratch and use local and regional ingredients to make their drinks.
Black Mountain Cider and Mead is all about dry ciders and sessionable meads. It’s the perfect spot in Black Mountain to slake your thirst and try something other than beer. Their ciders are never filtered, pasteurized, or puffed up with additional sweeteners. It’s the real deal. Their meads are a little less sweet (which we love) than many of the meads we have tried. Covid has impacted the number of people allowed in their tasting room but it is open. You can also order drinks to-go and pick up a few growlers. Know before you go: The tasting room is closed Monday-Wednesday!
Art Galleries and Museums in Black Mountain
You probably won’t be surprised to find out that Black Mountain is home to several art galleries. Though there are plenty of places in Asheville to check out local artists and makers, you won’t want to pass up the opportunity to see what the creatives in Black Mountain are up to. Be sure to check out the Black Mountain Center of the Arts, Red House Studios and Gallery, Seven Sisters Gallery, and Mountain Nest Gallery.
We also recommend stopping in to visit the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center. It’s located in an old red-brick firehouse and has a ton of information about Buncombe County. Admission is by donation, which is suggested at $5.00. Pre Covid-19 you could take a self-guided tour but as for now you’ll have to wait until things open back up.
Places to Shop in Black Mountain
We’re five-days-a-week runners so we are thrilled to share that there is a locally-owned and operated specialty running store in Black Mountain. They have a great selection of running gear, shoes, hydration vests, sports bras, socks, etc. They also have trucker hats and t-shirts bearing their Black Mountain logo on them. The staff is both friendly and knowledgable. Stop if in you want to get properly fitted for a new pair of running shoes, want to learn about some great routes in the area, or find out about a local race or group run. Note: Every Wednesday at 6pm a group of runners meets at the shop for a run around town. Afterwards, everyone heads over to Lookout Mountain Brewing for a beer. If you’re looking for things to do in Black Mountain, we can’t recommend this one enough!
This is your one-stop place to shop in Black Mountain for books, puzzles, games, brainteasers, and more in Black Mountain. It’s a great place to pick up a gift for yourself as someone else. Look for some of their locally made crafts and candles. Covid has impacted their coffee and snack bar but in non-Covid times you can grab an espresso and one of their baked goods.
The next time you’re ready to add something to your gear collection, head on over to Take a Hike Mountain Outfitters. This small, locally-owned business has some of the best brand names in the outdoor gear and apparel industry such as Patagonia, Eno Hammocks, The North Face, and more. They also have some cool Black Mountain gear in case you want a t-shirt or hat with something on it that reps the local area. Lastly, if you want some hiking advice or tips on where to go other than the trails we’ve listed above, head on over there and talk to some of their staff. They’ve almost always got a good tip or suggestion for getting you out into the woods.
This shop is your go-to place for all things kitchen and cooking related. They’ve got locally made goods up near the front and an entire assortment of culinary items such as drinkware, coffee grinders, cutlery, produce bags and storage solutions. If you’re shopping for a gift and can’t decide, no worries, they’ve also got gift cards you can pick up.
“Funny shirts for weird people.” Sound like you or someone you know? Then head on over to Shirtmandude. They’ve got an assortment of random things to help you showcase your ‘true self.’ T-shirt topics range from sports, funny, vintage, to stoner, literary, gamer, and offensive. You’ll know you’re there when you spot Bigfoot in the doorway.
Live Music in Black Mountain
Black Mountain might be a small mountain town in Western North Carolina but that hasn’t stopped it from having an awesome venue, White Horse, for live music. White Horse thinks of itself as a listening room and it does have that kind of intimate vibe to it. It’s a laid back space that serves soda, beer and wine by friendly staff. They don’t sell food though so eat before you come! Many of the musicians are local including Abby the Spoon Lady. Check out their online event calendar to see who’s playing next. Note: Due to Covid-19 all shows and events are being held online.
We mentioned the Black Mountain Center for the Arts above in the art galleries and museum section of this post. However, did you know it’s also a great place to see live music in Black Mountain? Yep, check out their events page to learn more! Bonus: there’s a great mural by Brushcan Murals on the side of the building if you’re looking for a cool photo op.
Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley are travel writers, photographers, and the authors of Authentic Asheville.