In keeping with a somewhat loose theme of hiking with children (by the way, mine are all grown with families of their own), I remembered this short walk in the woods to a site that children will love. The Dragon Tree is at Mile Marker (MM) 417 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 25miles from Asheville. To get there, simply get on the Parkway and head west, checking out the great mountain vistas from the overlooks along the way. Mile Marker 417 is also the location of the Looking Glass Rock Overlook on the left side as you are driving. Pull in the overlook parking area and look across and to the northeast for a trail head. This trail actually connects with the Mountains to Sea Trail and also leads down a steep descent to Skinny Dip Falls (I do NOT recommend taking young children past the Dragon Tree and to the falls). Cross the Parkway and get on the trail. The trail has roots that young children could possibly trip on, so be cautious. About 100 yards or so, you will see the Dragon Tree on the right. The trail goes right up to it. If you come to the MTS (Mountains To Sea Trail) you have passed the Dragon Tree, although I doubt if the children, once spotting the tree, would let you pass it by.
Enjoy! Incidently, you can travel further on the Parkway to SR 215, passing Devils Courthouse, and return to Asheville via US 64 to Brevard and picking up SR 181 back to Arden and I-26. Or, you can simply head back to Asheville on the Parkway. I heartily recommend stopping at the Pisgah Inn for the views.
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A Happy Hiker!