The City of Asheville maintains a beautiful and growing system of greenways throughout the city for your recreation and transportation enjoyment. We invite you to grab your bike, hiking boots, or tennis shoes and explore the following completed greenways.
The River to Ridge Greenway and Trail Network will be a connection of continuous greenways that encircle the downtown area with the River Arts District and French Broad River greenways, the South Slope Greenway Connector, Beaucatcher Greenway and the Urban Trail. This greenway network will provide a unique experience for any local or tourist that will allow access to two of Asheville’s most special natural assets: the French Broad River and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The network with have many miles of greenways and trails.
The French Broad River Greenways on the East and West banks allow access to our most ancient natural asset, The French Broad River. The French Broad River is the third oldest river in the world. It is older than the mountains that it runs through. It is also the cultural spine of this region. The Cherokee describe themselves as “Water People” and respectfully refer a river as Yunwi Gunahita or “Long Man.” The French Broad River in the Asheville area is also known as Unta’kiyasti’yi or Tahkeyostee which means “Where they race” most likely because of the rapids in the area. They believed the river to have the wisdom of great age and a capacity to teach lessons to people who seek them. An Cherokee practice an ancient tradition of “going to water” – a daily practice of purification and meditation. Special event rituals also require purification in the running waters.
Early European settlers called the river the French Broad because the water travels in a northwesterly direction into what was the French Territory. The riverbanks were used as a drovers trail, the easiest trail to get to markets and the trading post that eventually became Asheville.
The Beaucatcher Greenway ascends Beaucatcher mountain and offers an intimate example of the lush beauty of the our mountainous area. Views of downtown Asheville nestled in the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains makes the Beaucatcher Greenway a greenway experience unique to Asheville alone.
The City of Asheville is in the formative states of developing a comprehensive greenway system that meets the needs and desires of the community. Greenways consistently rank high on the public's list of infrastructure priorities and the city has been working diligently since the 1980's to advance the community's greenways goals.
Greenways are multi-use paths used for recreation and alternative transportation that typically occupy stream and river corridors. Greenways connect people to the places they live, work and play as well as preserve open space to promote air and water quality. Asheville currently offers 4.3 miles of developed greenways and is working towards its vision of a 15 mile system composed of 12 interconnected corridors.
Greenways Master Plan
Asheville’s varied topography and natural features affords a variety of experiences for the greenway users. Presently, most greenways are situated along stream, creek, and river corridors although mountain side and forested corridors will eventually be added to the mix. Many of Asheville’s existing greenways are located within individual parks where they compliment other recreational amenities. All greenway are designed to be handicap accessible.
The Asheville Parks, Recreation, Cultural Arts and Greenways Master Plan was approved in 2009 and includes a map of recommended greenways. The current Master Plan classifies greenways as “High” and “Medium” priority depending on the scale of connectivity they provide, land availability, availability of funds and construction feasibility.
2013 Greenway Master Plan Updates with Map
Lucy Crown, Greenways Coordinator
70 Court Plaza, Asheville NC 28801