Shut-In Trail is a 10.2 mile point-to-point trail located near Arden, NC that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Directions from Hot Springs, NC: Travel south on SR 209 to the Bluff community. Take SR 1173 to the right and continue to the parking area at the end of the road. The Appalachian Trail crosses Garenflo Gap here. Shut-In Trail begins on the right side of the road, just below the parking lot. OR travel south on US 25 / 70 to SR 1183 on the left. Follow SR 1183 approximately 3 miles. The trailhead is on the left just before crossing the Jones Branch bridge.
I started hiking near the NC Arboretum and hiked for a few hours before returning to the car. The trail followed the road. The first few miles were a test of my conditioning. Very enjoyable half day hike.
I love this place
Hike was somewhat dampened by the weather and company, but definitely a spot worth checking out.
The Shut-In trail is actually a much-longer trail than noted in the description. It starts at the entrance to the North Carolina Arboretum and pretty much parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to the Pisgah Inn. That's about 12 or so miles total. There are trail heads pretty much at every overlook on the parkway so you can bite off as much or as little of it as you wish. I completed the entire length in a half-dozen out-and-backs.
Some of the sections are pretty easy...others are strenuous. The most-strenuous sections are right at the beginning and right at the end. In addition, the section that includes Ferrin Knob is a haul. But the trail condition is good-to-excellent throughout. And it's really tough to get lost, because every couple of miles you'll reach another overlook on the Parkway.
My most-favorite section of this trail is from Big Ridge Overlook heading west toward the Pisgah Inn (away from Asheville). Turn back when you reach the parkway...the trail crosses the road and then goes UP Little Pisgah Mountain. That's a killer -- truly a streuous section. But until then, it's absolutely gorgeous and a nice leg-stretcher. And I'm thinking it's probably the number one winter hike in the area -- I'll let you know.
Great winter views. Hiked to Sleepy Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway after an unintended extra mile or so of a forest service road/bike trail. Backtracked to the MTS/Shut In trail after realizing my error. On the way back to the Bent Creek area parking, I saw unexpected long range views of Biltmore Estate. Trail is maintained well too. Great local hiking for me and I will hike it again soon.
We went for about 2.5 miles or so before we decided to turn around.. The dogs loved it. It was snowing so all of our views were pretty obstructed but all on all it's a nice little nature walk. When you enter the trail you are on the arboretums property but after about a half mile you end up on some old logging roads. It's worth the trip.
Steep and muddy on spots, you can hike this for 17 miles if you choose to. Nice rhododendrons, nice views in winter, I bet they would be obscured by leaves in summer!
The name comes from being shut in by Rhododendrum along the trail. Trail paralels the Blue Ridge Parkway and is pretty steep in spots.