- Dog Friendly: Yes
- Seasonality: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter
- Distance: 2.6 miles
- Time To Complete: Around 30 minutes.
In the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Plott Balsam Range lies the beautiful Lake Junaluska. Circumnavigating the lake is a 2.6 mile trail that is adorned with historical buildings and lavish landscaping. Whether you are looking for a casual stroll or an intense run Lake Junaluska provides a striking venue to exercise amongst the mountains.
What Makes It Great
Lake Junaluska’s banks are lined with an abundance of plant life and historically beautiful buildings. Traveling counterclockwise from the Aquatic Center, the smoothly paved trail will first take you to an ornate colonnade. The Romanesque architecture and charming view of the lake make this a popular place for relaxation and events. After passing the Colonnade you will step onto the stunningly beautiful rose walk. A pungent array of rose bushes line this half mile section of trail and make for a fragrant and visually captivating stroll along the water.
The next section of the paved path takes you past the historic Stuart Auditorium and the architectural wonders of the Memorial Chapel. This ornate stone building is surrounded by intricately planned landscaping which captivates visitors throughout the year. After passing the chapel, continue following the trail along the water’s edge towards the entrance of the Francis Asbury Trail. This memorial trail features a peaceful waterfall, a gazebo and numerous resting points to soak in the beauty of Lake Junaluska. After the Asbury Trail walkers and joggers will cross the foot bridge atop the Lake Junaluska Dam. An overlook in the middle of the Dam provides one of the better views of the lake and its facilities. After crossing the Dam the path winds along the water’s edge and underneath several noble weeping willows.
At roughly 2 miles from your start, you can choose to cross the Turbeville footbridge – to complete a 2.6 mile loop – or continue on the walking path to add another 1.1 miles to your trip. The footbridge crosses the narrowest part of the lake and skirts the surface of the water back to Aquatic Center. The longer loop will take you around the southern end of the lake by the Golf Course and welcome center before returning back to the Aquatic Center.
Who is Going to Love It
Most enjoy a peaceful stroll along the banks of Lake Junaluska, but some come for a workout! In many spots steep terrain funnels down into the lake. If you are training for adventure, add some of these inclines into your routine to boost its intensity level. The amphitheater located below the Lake’s famous cross has a picturesque view and enough stairs to really amp up your training regimen!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
A 35 minute drive from Asheville brings you to the edge of the waters of Lake Junaluska. Parking can be found all around the lake but we suggest beginning your journey at the Lake Junaluska Aquatic Center.
This area has ample parking, restroom facilities and access to the lake’s recreation facilities.
Download Lake Junaluska’s Walking Trail Guide before you go for a detailed map of the trail system.
Written by Steven Reinhold for RootsRated.
Featured image provided by Steven Reinhold