I’ve highlighted the Trombatore Trail near Bearwallow Mountain in Fairview before, but the traces of Winter that have graced WNC infrequently this year make it the perfect day hike for the area.
Located a mere 20 minute drive from downtown Asheville, the trail features an attractive distance (5.4 miles round trip), incredible vistas from Blue Ridge Pastures (a grassy bald that presents nearly 360 degree views that feature Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, and the Black Mountains), a well marked trail to follow, and relatively low trail traffic given the popularity of the area.
Groups travelling with small children or those looking for a shorter distance with less trail technicalities can hike the equally resplendent Bearwallow Mountain Trail — located directly across the paved road from the Trombatore Trail trailhead — while the rest of the group explores the Trombatore Trail.
Located off of Bearwallow Mountain Road (easy to find on any GPS or via Google Maps) — 19 miles from downtown Asheville, 16 miles from Hendersonville, and 10 miles from Chimney Rock/Lake Lure — the views along the trek, and at its midpoint (Blue Ridge Pastures), are unencumbered in late Fall and early Winter as the leaf cover and other traditionally thick foliage are absent during colder seasons — offering glimpses of rock formations and ridgetops not normally visible during Spring or Summer.
Named in honor of the Trombatore family — who donated a public trail easement across their property for the public to enjoy — the trail was designed and built by Conserving Carolina (a nonprofit serving Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina, “...dedicated to protecting and stewarding land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life and to fostering appreciation and understanding of the natural world”) with the help of volunteers from the Carolina Mountain Club, NC BRIDGE Crew, and REI Asheville in 2013.
The trail is well maintained and marked, making it very easy to navigate for novice hikers. There are a few steep grades on this trail, which would make it challenging for hikers with joint and/or balance problems (trekking poles are helpful) — and the distance may be discouraging for younger hikers or those who have health concerns, but, again, the Bearwallow Mountain Trail across the road from the Trombatore Trail presents a perfect alternative for these hikers.
The trail itself should take 2-3 hours to complete — including stops along the way (and a 20 minute snack break at the top). The temperature on Blue Ridge Pastures can be 10 degrees colder, on average, so make sure to pack extra layers. There are little to no sources of water along the trail, so bringing a water bottle and light snacks (e.g. trail mix, granola bars, apples, etc.) are recommended.
For more details about the Trombatore or Bearwallow Mountain Trails including directions and trail descriptions can be found online at: https://conservingcarolina.org/trombatore-trail