Our pal, Simcha, said he is visiting Asheville for New Year’s and asked if there are any trails we recommend. Since Simcha’s blog is titled Red Sibes Rule, our own red heads (from the left, Kodiak, Cheoah and Rusty) have offered to be tour guides.
Asheville is well known for being very dog friendly, as you can see here and here. Very common to see dogs (on leashes) walking among the crowds downtown and many of the stores welcome dogs inside – some even are known for offering treats. Water bowls are common at store entrances. (For the record, The Herd does not live in Asheville, but lives in Maggie Valley – about 30 minutes west of Asheville).
While you will find many trails at the web sites linked above, we highly recommend starting out at the Folk Art Center in East Asheville. A ranger’s station is manned just inside the doors and they have lots of recommendations for great trails, and can also tell you about road closures in the area due to weather (some of the best trails are inaccessible by car in the winter – Call for recorded road closure information at 828-298-0398). But the humans can also enjoy the displays by the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
The Mountain to Sea Trail (more info can be found here too) cuts through the Folk Art Center property and one of our favorite walks start right here. We do this walk by connecting several trails and using the MST (Mountain to Sea Trail) as the backbone. Now we have, of course, marked all the turns very well, but sometimes humans can not figure out our pee-mail, so we have attached pictures below of all of the turns so that they will not confuse you, Simcha. This is about a two mile, mostly flat walk, so easy on their two legs.
Just walk toward the building and you will see a MST marker (the MST marker is always a white dot) on your right. Here is a close up:
About a 100 yards down this trail, the MST veers to the right. To help you spot the turn, the MST marker is doubled on a tree and points to the right just like this:
Don’t worry if you miss the turn. The trail simply circles back to the Folk Art Center and you realize you went on a very short walk. But making the turn takes you right along the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway and across a small bridge:
Now here is where we combine trails. You can, of course, walk as far as you want on the MST and then turn around and come back, but we have turned this into a loop. Far more interesting for us. As you are walking down the trail with the Blue Ridge Parkway on your right, you will also notice a neighborhood road on your left. At any point, you cross up on the road and keep walking in the same direction:
About a quarter of a mile on this road and you will see a gate on your right.
Walk around it and you will now be on an abandoned road.
Walk to the top – it will take a little while so just relax and enjoy the quiet. But don’t worry, it is not steep and you usually get to meet a few other dogs on the walk. We have a couple of Siberian friends we get to meet on this road. At the very top of the road, it loops around and you just go back down the road.
A little Herd trivia for you. It was on this curve that our humans were able to make the picture that appears as the Header on our website. That’s right – a Herd Header! We expect a historical marker will be erected here one day.
Anyway, this is the only back tracking you do, but it is fairly short – maybe 1/4 mile. On your left on the way back down, you will see a dirt road heading off. The day we took these pictures, you will notice that the sign was exposed warning of a Firing Range. Normally that sign is closed up, but we have never, never, never seen anyone using this firing range, so don’t worry. Besides, you walk up behind where shooters would be (i.e., they would fire the other way) and you could hear them well before you got to it.
As you approach the range’s gate, you have to look carefully to the right for the trail.
After a few yards on this spur trail, you come back to the MST trail, turn right and you are headed back to the Folk Art Center. And, if your humans are tired, there is even a bench to sit and enjoy the serenity (notice Natasha winking at us):
So, that is one of our favorite walks. Long enough for us to achieve A Tired Sibe is a Good Sibe, and still not a killer trail.
If you want something steeper, ask the rangers if the road is opened to Mt Pisgah just south of Asheville. We shared one of our panoramic views from the peak and showed some fall color from there. The trail does make a dog work a little more, but fun listening to our humans huffing and puffing on the trail too. And boy do we sleep after that one.
Enjoy your stay in Asheville and tell us where all you go. And if you see a Herd of Siberians, come say hello to us!