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The Asheville Urban Trail Walking Tour

Exploring History, Architecture and Art in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina


The Asheville Urban Trail - Appalachian Stage

The Asheville Urban Trail - Appalachian Stage

Photo Credit: © 2010 George Alexander, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Asheville Urban Trail is an informative and very enjoyable 1.7 mile walking tour around the downtown area of Asheville, North Carolina. This free, self-guided tour is one of the best city wayfinding tours that I have ever taken, offering a two-for-one experience that features both history and public works of art at each stop.

Each of 30 stations along the Urban Trail includes an interesting informational plaque with facts about many of Asheville's historic events, influential figures and architectural treasures. Instead of the usual signage, each stop on the tour is marked with a piece of public sculpture, mostly created by local Asheville artists. See photos of the Asheville Urban Trail.

Basic Urban Trail Information

  • Asheville Urban Trail Maps are available at the Asheville Visitor Center located at 36 Montford Avenue (open daily) and at many downtown stores, hotels, museums and other Asheville information centers. Also, a large map board is located at Pack Square Park.

  • The 30-station Trail starts and finishes at Pack Place in the heart of downtown Asheville.

  • The Trail is 1.7 miles in length on city streets. Much of the walk is fairly flat, although a few of the stops require walking up and down hilly sidewalks.

  • Five eras are distinguished along the Trail and each station is marked with a time-period symbol: a feather for the Gilded Age; a horseshoe for the Frontier Period, an angel for the Times of Thomas Wolfe, a courthouse for the Era of Civic Pride and an eagle for the Age of Diversity.

  • Allow at least two hours of walking at a steady pace to complete the entire trail and longer if you plan to linger along the way. Even if you do not have time to complete the whole Trail, it is well worth choosing several highlights and exploring a portion of the Trail as your time permits.

Related Article: Asheville for Art Lovers

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