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Best Blooms in Asheville—A Local’s Perspective

When it comes to hiking in Asheville, the first thing folks think of is typically the autumn leaves. But if you don’t just visit Asheville, but live here—when you stew yourself in Asheville like a teabag in a hand-fired cup—you’ll notice that the mountains actually come alive with color twice a year. Once in fall, and once in spring.

Today we’re about one month out from the equinox. The March weather’s calmed down, the skies are clear, and there’s no better time to go out and smell the roses. And the rhododendrons. And plenty of other wildflowers too.

So if you want one heck of a fragrant stroll this spring, I invite you to read on and discover five of the best places for blooms in Asheville.

best blooms in Asheville - orchids
Image from Wix

Starting off with a domesticated example, earlier this April the NC Arboretum hosted its annual Orchid Festival, a competition-showcase displaying hundreds of varieties from across the country, and indeed, across the globe.

Used to be you’d have to break into a greenhouse to see that many fine orchids in one place, but no longer. The NC Arboretum has saved me from a life of crime, by satisfying my thirst for world-class blooms, and they can do the same for you.

Once you’re done ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the award-winners, head on down to the vendor’s stalls to pick up flower and flower accessories of your own. It's a wonderful opportunity to start a new hobby, or expand an existing orchid-infatuation, especially given that the Arboretum brings in a series of expert guest speakers, giving lectures on both days of the festival.

And did I mention it's indoors? Rain can descend upon Asheville at the drop of the petal, after all. It always pays to have a backup plan, just in case your wildflower hike gets a little overwatered.

best blooms in Asheville - lavender
Image from Unsplash

Speaking of, we’re on to the outdoors portion of your spring bloom hunting in Asheville. Graveyard Fields is always one of my top hiking recommends, whether it’s berry picking in the summer, or a brisk fall walk. 

But this time of year, you can also expect patch after patch of masterless blooms, especially if you follow the banks of Yellowstone Prong. Follow it far enough, and it's not only wildflowers you’re in store for, but some of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s finest waterfalls; Upper Falls to the west of the parking lot, and Second Falls to the east. 

On my way back, I always like to make a stop at the Pisgah Inn, for coffee and dessert. I believe it's important to stay well-fed with such an active lifestyle as mine. 

best blooms in Asheville - wildflowers
Image from Unsplash

A little closer to home, Asheville’s Botanical Gardens are something of a local secret, which many have called an oasis of plant-life both rich and rare within the heart of north Asheville, nestled between UNCA and the historic Montford neighborhood. 

It's a great place to visit in conjunction with downtown, and with free parking and free admission, there's little excuse not to. Come spring, the edges of the trails burst alive with color and the buzzing of bees. It's about as idyllic as it gets, and with its convenient location, the Botanical Gardens are perfect stop to see spring blooms if your schedule’s tight, or if you want a break from Asheville’s more urban entertainments. 

best blooms in Asheville - rhododendrons
Image from Unsplash

Deeper into the bloom season, and further up in the mountains, Craggy Gardens has long been a favorite hiking destination of mine, particularly come June. What brings me back year after year? One word, four syllables: rhododendrons. 

I’ve yet to find another place in Asheville where this famous regional flower grows with such vigor. I mean, you hit the season just right, and you’ll practically be drowning in these blooms.

The gardens have a whole lot of hiking trails, but my personal favorite is Craggy Pinnacle. Drive on north from the visitor’s center, go through the tunnel, and you’ll find the trailhead and parking. It's a short hike by distance and by time, but it’s mainly uphill, so plan for some exercise. 

Once you break through the rhododendron canopy and reach the peak, you’ll be treated to a three-hundred-sixty degree view of the mountains, one of the best anywhere on the Parkway.

best blooms in Asheville - conservatory
Image from Unsplash

Now that we’re out of the winter winds and early spring showers, there’s no better time to explore the grounds of the Biltmore Estate. As remarkable as this regional monument’s interior is, I reckon you’ll find its eight-thousand acres of rolling pastures and manicured gardens just as enchanting.

You can visit their website for an up-to-date report on the current state of the ground's blooms, as well as a comprehensive list of the Estate’s endless offerings, from art exhibitions to restaurants, and of course, tours of the mansion itself. 

But if blooms are your heart’s desire, I always like to take a walk through the conservatory and its exterior gardens. Outside the conservatory, you’ll find a serene set of paths, cutting through flower beds that are downright chateau-esque. On the inside: wall-to-wall plants. Seriously. It’s a rainforest in there.

Businesses Mentioned

NC Arboretum


100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806

Graveyard Fields


Blue Rdg Pkwy, Canton, NC 28716

Asheville Botanical Gardens


151 WT Weaver Blvd, Asheville, NC 28804

Craggy Pinnacle Hike

3641 Blue Rdg Pkwy, Barnardsville, NC 28709

Biltmore Estate


1 Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803


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