The Ultimate Guide To Asheville and the Western North Carolina Mountains
The Ultimate Guide to Asheville & the Western North Carolina Mountains

The Online Version of the Best-selling Regional Guidebook

Susanna Pantas, Artist

Asheville Parks

Pen & Ink Drawings of Biltmore Estate, by Lee James Pantas

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Botanical Gardens at Asheville, pen and ink drawing by Lee James Pantas
To purchase a print of this drawing by author/artist Lee Pantas, visit Cherry Orchard Studio

Two local governmental agencies maintain parks in the greater Asheville area, the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department and the Buncombe County Parks, Greenways and Recreation Department. Woven throughout the Asheville community are 11 neighborhood recreation centers, two pools, over 35 parks and play areas, 20 tennis courts, and a stadium complex supervised and maintained by the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department. This same organization also sponsors or supports many cultural festivals and special events that enrich the Asheville area. Some of these include Montford Park Players’ Shakespeare Theatre, Sunday in the Park, Fourth of July Celebration, Goombay Festival, Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, Light Up Your Holidays Festival, Shindig On The Green, Teen Street Dances, Greek Festival, Tell It In The Mountains and Bele Chere,

Best places in Asheville to fill a picnic basket! 

Recommended Parks:
The following listing of Asheville Parks were recommended to the author by the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department for first-time Asheville visitors. They are easy to find, and offer outstanding facilities. For a more complete listing of all other recreational facilities in the Asheville Park system, or for directions to the listed parks, call 828-259-5800.

Pack Square Park, Asheville NC

Pack Square Park: Located right in the center of Asheville next to the Asheville City Building and the Buncombe County Courthouse, the recently renovated 6.5-acre Pack Square Park is complete with splash pad, restrooms, shady groves of tree, open lawn, information center and sculptures. This popular downtown oasis is also where major festivals and musical events take place throughout the year.

French Broad River Park: The most popular park in Asheville, it is located on Amboy Road along the French Broad River. One of Asheville’s most beautiful parks, this 14-acre park meanders alongside the tranquil French Broad River. The property features a vast area of open green space with gracious old trees, a wildflower garden, a paved half-mile walking path, a large gazebo, picnic tables and grills, a fishing/observation deck, and a small playground. The natural beauty of this park makes it a popular spot for warm weather weddings and romantic picnics in the meadow. The newest addition of the property is the Dog Park, which features a large fenced-in area made just for exercising and socializing your pooch! Off-street parking and restrooms are also available.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Park: (Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., 828-259-5800) Ball field, concession stand, fitness course, soccer field, picnic tables, playground, restrooms, open shelters.

Montford Park: (Montford Ave., 828-253-3714) Outdoor basketball court, playground, restrooms, open shelters, tennis.


Lake Julian District Park: Lake Julian is an ideal family recreational facility and an excellent spot for the fishing enthusiast. Located near Skyland, N.C., the park offers opportunities for picnicking, canoeing, sailing and outdoor games. The park is open year-round for all county residents and visitors to enjoy. Many local residents are amazed to find some of this area’s best fishing in their own backyard. Lake Julian has an abundance of bass, brim and crappie, as well as an imported fish, the tilapia. Because Lake Julian is a “thermal” lake (it is used as a cooling agent for CP&L), some of the best fishing occurs from October through March. Fishermen may fish from the shore or from jonboats that are available on a rental basis. Patrons must provide their own electric boat motor, gasoline motors are not allowed. N.C. fishing laws are enforced and a local lake permit is required. Lake Julian was named in honor of Julian Byrd Stepp.
Location: South Asheville
Address: Entrance is off Long Shoals Rd. (Hwy 146)
Telephone: 828-684-0376
Hours: Open year-round except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. October-March: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; April: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; May-¬September: 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Free, rental fees for fishing boats, canoes, paddle boats and picnic shelters.
Take Hendersonville Highway south from Biltmore Village. Turn left onto Long Shoals Road in south Asheville. The entrance to the park is a few miles on the left opposite Overlook Road.

Wild & Furry Animals of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, by Lee James Pantas

More French Broad River Parks:
     The French Broad River flows north through 117 miles of Western North Carolina from its headwaters in Rosman to Paint Rock. In Tennessee it joins the Holston to form the Tennessee River and eventually reaches the Mississippi. Named by early explorers because it flowed toward French Territory to the west, it is a great recreational resource offering splendid scenery, perfect picnic spots, Class I through IV whitewater, and good fishing. It flows right though Asheville on its journey north. One of the Cherokee names was Tahkeeostee, “racing waters.” Others, frequently used for only a part of the river, were Poe-li-co, Ariqua, and Zillicoah. By 1776 the present name French Broad River was in use.
     On its way through Asheville, the river is accessible at a number of places. Riverlink, a local organization dedicated to the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad, has begun to turn a dream into reality. This organization, an association of recreation experts, garden clubs, city planners, businesses, economic professionals and private citizens has developed a vision for the future of the river as it flows through the Asheville area.
     The French Broad River Park is the newest access point on the river developed by Riverlink. Located on the river at Amboy Road, this park features fishing sites, playground, restrooms, bicycling and walking trails, interpretive displays and a picnic shelter that echoes the 1905 architecture of the original Riverside Park. Greenways and other river parks are currently also under development as part of Riverlink’s vision.
     The Buncombe County Department of Recreation Services also maintains a number of river parks on the French Broad River in the Asheville area. One of these, the Jean Webb Park is located just north of the French Broad River Park along Riverside Drive which parallels the river. This small park is convenient to downtown and a good spot for picnic lunch. For more information about the other river parks maintained by Buncombe County, contact the Department of Recreation Services at 828-250-4260.
Location: West of downtown Asheville
Address: Entrance is off Long Shoals Rd. (Hwy 146)
Telephone: Riverlink: 828-252-8474
Directions: The French Broad River is accessible from many points in Asheville. To reach the Riverlink French Broad River Park, take Meadow Road west from Biltmore Village. This road eventually begins to parallel the river. Turn left at Amboy Road to access the park.
Buncombe County Access Points:
Glenn Bridge River Park (Mile 54)
Sandy Bottom River Park (Mile 59.5)
Bent Creek River Park (Mile 60)
Hominy Creek River Park (Mile 66)
Southern Waterways Access (Mile 68)
French Broad River Park (Mile 69)
Jean Webb Park (Mile 70)
French Broad River Campground (Mile 79.5)
The Ledges Whitewater Park (Mile 80)
Walnut Island River Park (Mile 86)



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