Art Loeb Loop Trail is a 6.7 mile loop trail located near Brevard, North Carolina that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from December until February.
Directions from Brevard, NC: Travel US 276 northwest for approximately 1.5 miles to the Davidson River Recreation Area. Trail begins just south along creek.
Quite a hike
More hard as expected, but great
The entire Art Loeb is amazing and quite the challenge!!
Great walk in the woods. No big, open vistas at any point, but a great hike.
It was an amazing trail! I ran on it during Brevard Distance Runners Camp.
Did Art Loeb/Ivestor Gap figure 8 loop, about 8.5 miles. Great trail!
I am stingy with 5 stars. This is 5 stars without a doubt. I have seen it billed as all of the benefits of the AT in a weekend and while that is an exaggeration, I get the comparison.
I started at the boycott camp and walked South, which means you lose overall altitude. 4 miles or so up and then I tool the spur up to the top of cold mountain and slept there. It sounds better than it was. No views, but hey, they named a movie after it so I checked that box.
You then go South through the Shining Rock Wilderness and pass through an area called the narrows, which is just really tall weeds/plants and a little eerie. Then a really solid ridgline with some scrambling. Past some pines and eventually into the open where you hit Flower Gap and are treated to about 6-7 miles of awesome vistas with a lot of up and down over the peaks.
Past black balsam knob and you go down to cross the BRP. Then it is about 18- 20 more miles of peaks with vistas at most of the tops. Much more forested and the climbs get smaller as you get nearer the end. Finish through rhododendron tunnel and out into the campground area.
A couple pieces of advice:
1. Locate water sources before you go. there are not a lot of them so miss one and you will get thirsty
2. If you go late summer/fall be advised when you are in the open area the bees are nuts. Just suck it up and go because you will not avoid them. I did not get stung but the hum of the bees was like a plane
3. Look at a picture of the junction in shining rock. You can take a wrong turn very easily and walk for quite a way
4. I backpacked it and took 2 nights. Take you time and enjoy but...
5. Most of all, do this hike!
Did +/- 20 mile portion from Black Balsam parking lot down to end of the trail near the Davidson camp ground (near the Ranger Station). We spent the night at the Butter Gap shelter. Pretty well marked trail (white blazes). Butter Gap had a decent water source - had to dig it out a bit. Pilot Mountain summit provided some excellent views. Highly recommend this trail.
Hardest and most rewarding trail I've done. My 9 month old Aussie mix and I did the entire 33 mile trail from South to North, Davidson River Campground to Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp in 2 nights, 3 days. The weather was terrible, the views were scarce due to fog/rain, and the elevation gain was more drastic than I expected. And we really did 39 miles but I'll get to that in a bit. All that said, it was a great trip.
I got to Daniel Boone around dusk on a Thursday night and slept in my car on the gravel road that's reserved for thru hikers as there are no campsites here that aren't private.
I called a shuttle a couple days in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org) to take me from Daniel Boone to Davidson Friday morning. If you elect to do the whole thing I highly recommend taking a shuttle and there are none better than Harry. He's a local that's done the entire AT, as well as the Art Loeb, and charges a flat rate of $100 which is as cheap as I found.
The second I stepped out of the shuttle the bottom fell out of the sky. It rained the majority of the trip, especially the first two days. I got on trail about 9:15 and went about 2 miles when I ran into two girls my age (mid 20's) that were doing the whole trail as well, so we decided to go at it together. Somewhere between mile 3-5 we missed a trail mark on our left when we hit a clearing and followed an old service road that looked like a wide trail for about 2 miles until we realized we were going the wrong way. We doubled back, found the trail mark, and pressed on. The trail the majority of the first day was a moderate incline that took a bit of a toll, but was manageable. We passed Butter Gap around 6:00 and camped about a half mile up. There is a water source at Butter Gap!
We got a late start on Day 2 (about 9:15) and went for roughly 2 miles before we hit the hardest part of the trip. Pilot Mtn. It was my first experience with switchbacks and rocky terrain in a torrential downpour. We went what seemed like straight up for an eternity and the rain didn't let up until we hit the peak. The sky cleared and the views were phenomenal. We stayed on Pilot for about 20 minutes and headed back down the other side.
We reached Deep Gap around 1:00 and stopped for lunch. We were exhausted and didn't leave until almost 3:00. The rain let up while we were in the shelter but it let loose the second we packed up to leave. 90% of the rest of that day was uphill. Some switchbacks, some gradual inclines, and some steps. We got to the road about 6:00 and followed to the left about 3/4 of a mile to a campsite with a water source near by. We were absolutely dead by the time we got the camp set up and got into dry clothes.
Weather delayed us again on day 3 and we started around 9:00. We got lost about 2 miles into the trail. The Mountains to Sea Trail is also marked with a white trail mark and the two intersect near the parkway. We followed the MST downhill in the wrong direction and ended up well out of the way. We made our way back at the top of Black Balsam but the weather stole our view.
The rest of the trail is fairly downhill after Black Balsam. The terrain gets a little tough and there are some dangerous downhill sections a few miles after Black Balsam. Water is scarce at this point and the trail isn't very well marked. The last 4-5 miles seemed like 15 but they were downhill so it wasn't awful. We got back to our cars around 6:30.
All around great experience. I recommend really knowing your water sources, bring trekking poles. and try to actually stay on the trail. Plan for 3 days, 2 nights if you're going South to North unless you are extremely experienced.
Great trail. The markers are hard to find on top. But one can always find their way back, if they want to.
One of my favorite trails on the east coast!
Good run. You can take it to the fish hatchery or even all 33 miles to camp daniel boone, crossing Black balsam knob at 6,000 ft.
Make this a good day trip. Pretty good ascent right off the bat. Foliage is dense enough you miss the views on the ridges. I'd come back when the leaves are off the trees. Otherwise a pretty trail and not many people on it. I know, I cleared all the cobwebs for everybody else who might follow.