Every time a visitor of mine comes to Asheville I make sure I take them to Mt. Mitchell.
The highest peak, east of the Mississippi River, it gives you a 360 degree view at over 6,000 ft. Don't let the elevation scare you from going. It is easily located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 30 miles north of Asheville. This is a great drive with awesome views, photo opportunities, and tunnels. The elevation of Asheville is around 2100 feet so you will be climbing but it is worth the views around every corner - there are plenty of pull offs for photo taking.
Mt. Mitchell is accessed right off the Parkway and you can't miss it. The drive to the peak is easy and paved and very scenic. Once at the top there is a concession stand, restrooms, gift shop, and a little museum talking about the area. There is about a 200 ft walkway to the top of the summit, all paved and maintained. Of course their are more hiking trails in the area for the avid hikers but most people should have no problem walking to the summit. (They do offer a golf cart ride to the top during business hours by the park rangers for those who are disabled or can't climb the last 200 feet.) The observation deck is huge and is relatively new and offers beautiful views of Western North Carolina. There are plenty of picnic areas at the top of the summit and I would encourage you to take your own picnic and enjoy the view, the air, and the quietness of the mountain.
Please note that the weather in the mountains is as predictable as the weatherman, lol. Always bring a sweater as the temperature can be 10-20 degrees cooler than in Asheville. Remember the weather can change from mountain top to mountain top so be aware it can be raining in Asheville and sunny at Mt. Mitchell! I would go regardless of the weather because the beauty of the mountains even under cloudy skies is worth the trip!
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