Laurel River Trail is one of Asheville’s best summer hikes for kids! It’s a wide flat trail that follows the river, mostly shaded by trees with lots of swimming holes and shallow pools to cool your feet. Yesterday we drove up near Hot Springs, NC, found the trail head and gravel parking lot right off the side of the road at the intersection of 25/70 and 280, and set out for a spectacular hike.
The trail goes 3.5 miles each way ending up at the French Broad River, but we decided to do just about a mile. Since the river’s edge has great large rocks to lounge on throughout the hike there’s no need to get to the end. It’s is truly the journey not the destination. There are also nice sandy parts to wade in. The first thing we saw was a huge yellow and black butterfly. Summertime is magical in Asheville. Around about ½ way there is a rope swing you can watch the teenagers swing from. The river has been so high and fast this summer due to rains, nobody was on the swing this time and I would definitely advise to stay near the shore in the calm pools. The Ashevillager loves Laurel River Trail because it’s the perfect place for a picnic at the river’s edge and afterwards you can drive @5 miles into Hot Springs for an ice cream cone.