Asheville is definitely a dog-friendly city and there are a plethora of activities in WNC where a person can take their pooch. I certainly have not experienced them all, but wanted to share my 5 favorites.
- Gray Line Historic Trolley Tours - there are a couple of trolley tours and one comedy tour in Asheville. I am familiar with the Gray Line tours (red trolleys) and I know they allow well-behaved dogs, no matter what size. The trolleys are roomy and the aisles have plenty of space for your dog to sit. My suggestion is to sit as far back in the trolley as possible so nobody trips over your dog. I carry trolley vouchers at the Inn and they are well worth the price. Adult tickets are $20, children (3-12) pay $10. There are 9 stops on the trolley route and the buses run March – December (March is on a half schedule). Riders may exit the trolley at any or all stops and your trolley admission also gets you into the Thomas Wolfe Memorial (sorry, no dogs allowed inside). Some of the trolley stops include the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, the River Arts District, Biltmore Village, and downtown Asheville.
- Chimney Rock Park - This State park is located 30 minutes southeast of the Inn. Open year-round, the park offers 4-5 different hiking/walking trails, from easy to moderate. The only place dogs are not permitted is the elevator and cafe located at the base of the Chimney Rock. However, you and your dog can still get there by taking the amazing amount of stairs that wind up and around the side of the cliff walls. My dog Hummer (a 90-lb weimaraner) made it with little effort, but it may prove strenuous for older, short-legged dogs. If that is the case, there are several easy to walk trails; one leads you to the base of the waterfall. The Park offers all sorts of cool activities from bird watching, to photography lessons, rock climbing to an Easter Sunday Sunrise service. Cost to get into the park is $14 for adults, $7 for children, free for dogs! I carry $1 off discount coupons at the Inn.
- Asheville’s Urban Trail – The Urban Trail is a 1.7 mile walk through downtown Asheville with 30 points of interest, spread over 5 historic periods in time. The self-guided walking tour starts at the Asheville Art Museum at Pack Square, but tourgoers can start at any point and end at any point. I carry trail guides at the Inn and guests and dogs are free to stop along the way at one of the many restaurants in downtown Asheville that offers outdoor seating so that you can refresh and re-energize before completing the tour.
- North Carolina Arboretum – The Arboretum is a 434-acre natural preserve with 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails. Parking is $8 per vehicle and the first Tuesday of each month is free. There are nine different trails rated from Easy to Difficult. The Arboretum offers permanent and temporary exhibits, a unique bonsai collection, and educational programs for adults and children. The Arboretum is located approximately a 10-minute drive from the Inn and will provide a wonderful outdoor experience for you and your pet at a very reasonable price.
- Biltmore Estate – No Top 5 List would be complete without mentioning the Biltmore Estate. While dogs are not permitted in the house, the rest of the 8,000-acre estate is open to your canine friend, including many walking trails. If you want to enjoy the house, I recommend making use of the Estate’s kennels, located in Parking Lot C. This lot is typically used by RVs and buses, but there is plenty of parking for regular vehicles and you can catch a shuttle bus to the house from this lot. The kennels are self-serve and free of charge. There are 8 kennels, very nicely maintained and sturdy, enclosed on all sides and located under trees, thus providing additional shade. The kennels also have water bowls for your pets, plenty of room for them to move around, and locks for you to take the key. I snapped several photos of the kennels so you can see what they look like in advance of your visit…
There are many, many more dog-friendly attractions and activities around Asheville. I carry maps and hiking guides that include specific information on hikes that are appropriate for dogs. So if you are wondering what to do in Asheville with Fido, start with my Favorite 5 list and if you get through it, I can promise to provide more options for you.
Hope to see you and your dog in Asheville soon!