Explore Hard - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hard Map

The reward at the end is definitely worth the hike! My children (ages 6-13) and I completed this in November. I would give this a "moderate" instead of difficult rating for anyone who hikes even as little as bi-monthly.

Hiked this trail today and it was gorgeous! Started around noon and the weather was just about perfect! The length is decent and the overall hike is definitely a challenge. Most of the hike includes some effort as you follow what seems like a dried up creek with lots of rocks and stones. The last part of the hike is definitely a climb, but it is definitely worth it once you make it to the top!

Very hard not an easy trek for beginners

Oh my!!! The reviews are accurate...no blazes (Except Art Loeb Trail), you will end up leaving the trail and you need to be comfortable navigating your way back, it's a test....a real test-9.1 miles in 6 hours. I know doesn't sound fast but it's a serious incline and the decent it's nothing to discount. We took Shining Creek to Art Loeb to Old Butt Knob. Coming down OBK is work in itself be ready. The trail follows the creek with great flowing water making some beautiful cascades. The views are stunning and there was a lot of ICE today.

Really, really hard trail but glad I tested myself and it is worth the effort.

Not as hard as you might think. Pick a nice clear day to enjoy the views. Great trail.

This place has an incredibly gorgeous waterfall called Looking Glass Falls and mild rock climbing if you want to get closer to the waterfall. And not far from there is Sliding Rock, which is also a waterfall but different in that you can actually slide down the whole thing like you would a water slide at a water park. It's gorgeous. Traffic was minimal, at least when we went it wasn't bad. It was really nice.

Two years ago- went in late March
Hike the the suspension bridge is moderate with some navigating over huge rocks on the trail. The bride is fun but going down the ladders that are directly beyond the bridge now that’s fun. Face to the mud, narrow trail to place my rather long feet- hey no sweat! Maybe a little. After the bridge we went down down down.. then came the Cathedral Wall. which was releasing chunks of ice upon our heads. If the ice inland melted off the cathedral wall or be prepared to deal with icy slippery conditions - had to inch our way across the wall or army crawl on a downward ice covered hill.
I’m too old for this!
Followed the pink trail to the bottom the shimmy cables were out at the bottom so we rock hopped across the river, well I hopped and slipped got a tad wet. THEN the dismal trail was exactly that DISMAL, I swear my life flashed before my eyes because when that sun dipped behind the tress it got dark fast.
Then my hip flexors stopped working. Yep sat on the dark for 3 hours until Wren and the crew showed up! The guy they call Mule, he was carrying a large plastic boat or stretcher wanted to take me back down to the river where I had recently baptized myself. I just couldn’t do it. So the whole crew just walked with me one miserable step at a time ALL THE WAY OUT, took 3 hours, I should have jumped in Mules boat!
Anyway- make sure your hips and knees are piled up- it’s not for those of us who spend too much time sitting at a desk
BY THE WAY- I thought Dismal was closed, like gone washed away. Anyone know for certain that it’s open?
UPDATE: I left my office job joined the gym and I know I won’t be needing Mules help in the future. Nice big bearded fella tho- and if your offered a ride in his boat, #justdoit.

Ended up doing this trail by accident... but so happy we did! We went around to Little Green summit first and then down to the falls. The trail was definitely easy going for the first 3+ miles. A nice/steep climb to the top and then some AMAZING views. Got a little turned around on the summit thanks to some careless wandering but never got too far off path. The entire 4 hours we were in the area we only saw 4 other groups of people which made the experience even more perfect. Can't wait to come back for a weekend of camping/hiking.

10 days ago

Fairly strenuous, though the switchbacks make it manageable. Take water as there’s none up top. The view off the bald face is amazing but do watch your step. Hammock camping on the top is epic.

My dad and I did this hike today. We took others’ advice and did the blue to pink to purple, but honestly next time I’d probably go the opposite! I agree with other hikers- dog friendly, but the three ladders could be an issue-only one was for us (we had to hoist up the heavy fur child for one as it was too steep for her to even go around). Otherwise, an awesome hike. Worth the time. For my dad and I (my dad is 65) we still completed in just over 5 hours and we took plenty of breaks. Do it!

We started and took shining Creek and had planned on coming back old butt. However the trail is NOT 3.4 miles, as it states on the map. It is more close to 6 miles one way so be prepared. It was getting dark on us so We came back out the same way We went in and do not get to do old butt. This trail was very pretty with lots of water Cascades. We tracked The trail to be around 12.5 round trip. The trail is NOT marked and is very confusing to what is and is not the trail. This trail even with a map would be super easy to get lost. we ran into other hikers and they were just as confused as we were and some had done the trail before. It would be nice if they could have some small makers at least on some of the places.

Great hike, take snacks and plenty of water! Took us just shy of five hours but we stopped at the bottom for a lunch break. This is major workout and your muscles will feel it the next day. I stopped at the visitor center and bought an "I survived dismal loop" t-shirt!

uphill almost the entire way with some rock scrambling ... great hike with amazing views!

Easy for its length. Not even bad in the rain. Not the most entertaining hike though

Kevin, email me caronj@gmail.com

My dog and I set out on this trail with no real clue what we were getting ourselves into besides the warning sign at the trail head. If you are NOT in decent shape, don’t have on hiking shoes/boots or don’t have a will power to push you through; I would try another trail first. It’s views are amazing and totally worth it, but be ready for steep inclines and rapid descents. The trail has three ladders (for you dog people), several skinny points and some wide points as well. Hide sight I would recommend going red to blue to pink to purple then back to red. It’s a burner but worth it! Fitbit stats: 24,411 steps, 11.8 miles, 256 stair cases, 3400 calories, 3:15 hours.

The trail was demanding but rewarding from the view

One of my most fave hikes I have done! Would of been better if my buddy was in better shape. They held me up on pace. But you can actually bring a hammock and pitch it up at the peak and be fully relaxed through the day and have a pic nic too!

26 days ago

It is not as bad as you think but it is totally worth it

27 days ago

Went yesterday and it was definitely a good hike. Brought my dog, and she loved it. Its mostly a steady incline, until you get towards the end where it starts to incline a more and more, and you finally end up with a “home stretch” that’s practicaly a climb as you reach the lookout. The lookout itself is nice, but theres a bit too many trees in the way, so the view is a blocked off in some spots. Otherwise its a good view. Overall a pretty good hike.

Wonderful short hike. Beautiful falls and stream.

28 days ago

Would not suggest for first time hikers. Beautiful small waterfalls, and the top of Table Rock was well worth the workout. 10/10

This is more of an inquiry as myself and a few friends would like to plan this hike in June, but reading reviews causes some concern. We are in pretty good shape and have hiking experience, but don't wish to get lost for hours. Anyways, I think that we would be willing to hire someone who has made this trek and could guide us to the summit. If anyone can offer some insights and suggestion, I would be most appreciative.
I have a vacation home in Asheville and used to live there, and actually tested the hike for a half mile or so out of Canton, so have some insight. Looking at second weekend in June. Thanks, Kevin

Trail is definitely longer than 5.3. more like 6.5 or so miles. The view at the end is worth it.

A lot of steep climbs. Very, very strenuous. I enjoyed several small water cascades, giant boulder formations and other interesting things from nature, along with some great overlook views. Highly recommend this hike.

sweet views at the top. really enjoyed this trail, its a good workout but not long enough to be too challenging tho.

Great trail! Very challenging especially when going back up. bring plenty of water and a snack or two to keep you going

Good hike and beautiful views with snow still on the mountain. Hiking boots a must and walking stick would be helpful if it’s winter! BUT, do not.. repeat.. do not go down the switchbacks to the “archaeological site”. First off, most excruciating, muddy path ever. My two friends and I were dying and we are avid hikers. Second, the “archeological site” is 5 rocks that are stupid and not worth it. Supposedly has Native American carvings, and nothing amazing was seen. Stop at the peak and enjoy that! It’d recommend the hike up to that point! If you have enough energy you can even do the 1.1 Brasstown Bald hike too.

Very nice! The area around the lake was very pleasant. $5/person, many parking areas, well-marked trails.

Load More