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great trail to challenge your leg strengths. I am a beginner hiker and it was a bit hard. it was worth to see the view on top!

I'm a local to this area and I have never climbed this mountain until today. My first hard climb.... All I can say is "Simply amazing" like being on top of the world. I wanted to take pictures with snow on and I wasn't disappointed. Road to trail head was clear. The climb to the top wasn't that bad. Steep, but not a bad hike. The trip back down killed me. Awesome hike. Can't wait to go back in the fall and get the fall colors. AllTrails quit on me from the get go but not to many ways to get lost on this trail. Just keep going up....

Do the hike several times a month.
Great hike,magnificent view from the rock face.
One of my favorite hikes.

Our family hiked this with kids 6,8, and 12. They did great! Beautiful waterfalls!

This was a quick trail. Definitely easy to moderate. Some areas may be slippery when wet. Also, we took two wrong turns. There were no trail markers.

Great hike! Good trail running parts of it as well, especially on the descent. The view was beautiful, but wish there was a bit more to it. Recommend, though!

Nice walk all the way to Linn Cove if u want. Only downside is cars on the Blue Ridge Parkway at least it is the BRP

backpacking
12 days ago

Backpacked with 2 buddies October 2018. Camped on what I think was black balsam knob. Beautiful scenery. Most of what we read said there was no water which is true once you get above the forest but there are many options for about the first 4-5 miles of the trail through the woods. You might consider not carrying the extra weight until you have to. All in all a great hike. Will go again sometime.

We hiked to these gorgeous falls for the 1st time today and we fell in love!

We started out at the visitor’s center where Marijane, a very helpful volunteer, gave us a map & went over the hike details. I was glad to be offered a map since at least one review mentioned a poorly marked trail. It turns out that we didn’t need the map at all. The trail is clearly marked with signs at every intersection. I will add here that we have been hiking as a family for over 20 years, so we are well seasoned.

We took the right at the Y, then went to the covered bridge before doubling back to the loop and continuing to High Falls. It was a magnificent sight! The trail continued to Triple Falls where a nice set of wooden steps (approx 100 in all) lead us right onto a rocky shelf at waters’ edge. The staircase had many decks with benches if you need to rest. We followed the loop on around & ventured down to Hooker Falls. The path was very steep but only for a short distance. We retraced the path & joined the loop, walking on the forest side of the trail & ended back at the visitor’s center.

There are bathrooms at the center in addition to several port-a-potties along the trail. There are also many picnic benches spread throughout the loop. This was a great morning hike & if you take your time, even young kids could walk the gravel trail the whole way!

Nice hike. Definitely not a “hard” rating in my opinion. Fairly easy with a nice view of the lake. Bridge out at one point in the river so had to use the “horse ford” and water was fairly high due to rain. Other than the freezing cold walk through the water it was quick and enjoyable.

backpacking
14 days ago

Started the Art Loeb Trail at Davidson River on 11/23/3018 and ended at Daniel Boone on 11/25/2018.

MY EXPERIENCE
My friend and I completed the trail in 3 days.
- Day 1 (12 miles): The entire 12 miles was in the forest with NO views - at least no views were worth the exhaustion. We passed many great campsites along the way, but we ended up having to camp near a road, because the sun was about to set by the time we reached 12 miles.
- Day 2 (8 miles): The second day consisted of 8 miles of torture with the first lookout view of the trip. We trekked through a variety of terrain and ended at Black Balsam. For about 90% of the day, I questioned why I agreed to go on the backpack. There are periods where you just keep going up, and you think that you can't go any higher, but you make a turn and go up some more.
- Day 3 (11 miles): The third day consisted of a moderate 11 miles. This was the best day - beautiful scenery and relatively easy hike (compared to the first 20 miles). We hiked a variety of terrain, and I enjoyed the majority of the last day. There's about 1 mile of steep, rocky uphill, but other than that the trail is easy/moderate. Watch out for the last 4 miles of downhill - it's "easy" because it's downhill, but it really messes with your knees.

RECOMMENDATIONS / TIPS
General Tips:
- If you don't care about finishing the entire trail and just want some good views, I would recommend skipping the entire first 20 miles of the Davidson to Daniel Boone route. Instead, make it a 2-day out-and-back backpack by parking at Daniel Boone and hike around 11 miles toward Davidson until you reach the final bald, then turn back. If you want a relaxed 3-day backpack, add in a stop near Cold Mountain the first or second night.
- Have GPS or a map/compass. It gets confusing in the Shining Rock Wilderness.
- Bring trekking poles - especially in fall when there's a probability of ice on the trail. I would have busted my head open and injured myself severely if I hadn't brought my trekking poles.
- Water was abundant between Cold Mountain and Daniel Boone. Other parts of the trail, we had a decent number of water sources due to recent rain, but I could see many of them drying up. Jump on any water source you can and carry enough water to drink/cook for the day.
- It was EXTREMELY windy on Black Balsam the evening we arrived (but no wind the next morning). If it's windy, set up camp before you reach the top, walk down the side-trails from the bald and find a site that blocks more of the wind, or go an extra 1-2 miles to find another campsite.
- Cover up for the Shining Rock Wilderness portion. The trail was pretty overgrown, and I would be extremely concerned about ticks in the warmer months.
Mileage Specific Tips: If you plan to follow my itinerary, the following tips may be useful
- The nearest campsites to mile 12 were around mile 10-11 and 13-14
- The nearest reliable water source to mile 12 was at the shelter at mile 9. Have fun carrying up the water.

Wouldn't rate this as "hard" but decent hike up with a nice view at the end.

It was amazzzzing! it was fairly long, taking us about 4 hours, including stopping along the way and at the top. lots of zigzags, and an upwards hike at almost every location on the trail, but the view is totally worth it! you're so high, and youre standing on a stone face overlooking miles and miles of mountains and trees, and it is really just breathtaking. really makes you feel in tune with nature!

hiking
17 days ago

Solid hike with a nice reward at the top. The view off the rock face was great. Pretty steady incline the whole way that is not hard. I hoofed it pretty quickly so I actually did feel it a bit the next day.

Overall a nice trip if you are looking for something in between leisurely and challenging that has a unique lookout at the top you will remember. Seemed like a great date hike or family hike.

I went on a beautiful fall day so there was a steady stream of people. Quite a few dogs (maybe 15 or so) making the hike up since the incline is reasonable and no real climbing needed. Almost all were on a leash although two were not - plus there was a sign for a lost dog. :( Sounds like a lot of dogs but over the course of 6 miles it wasnt really much.

An amazing trail but I’d definitely rate this on the “harder side of moderate” - the view at the end is ABSOLUTELY worth it.

Moderate trail with views along the way. I was able to bring my girlfriend (who isnt much of a outdoorsman or hiker either). The first 2/3 of the trail is an easy climb but the last leg is where your calves and glutes really have to kick in. One at the top there are a couple lookouts with amazing views. Make sure to go to the top where you’ll get a 360 degree view.

1 tree down before parking area. In general the trail was easy to find but overgrown. 360 degree views from the top were wonderful.

The view from the top in late afternoon is well worth the strenuous hike

hiking
21 days ago

Great trail Black Balsam was beautiful this weekend! The plaque for the trail was missing though

Great workout on the way up, and the view is worth it!

Great trail, and pretty easy with just a few steep parts. The steepest areas are in the beginning so if you’d like an easier walk you could park at the visitor’s center instead of hooker lot. You could still walk down to see triple falls without having to walk the steepest part. There are a lot of stairs to get to the bottom viewing area of triple falls but you can still see them without going down the stairs, it’s just not quite as nice of a view.

When we were there we got to see kayakers take part of the triple falls, it was so cool!

Only reason it lost a star is the trail is not very well marked. Forks (and even 3 direction splits) weren’t always marked, the signs that were there often didn’t include distances, and there were very few signs along the trails. It is a short trail but it’s always safer to be well marked, especially for inexperienced hikers or anyone who might find themselves there when it starts to get dark.

If anyone has an issue with the steep part of these falls I suggest parking up at the Visitors center lot first in stead of Hooker lot. (Reason being the steepest part is from Hooker up to Triple) . From the visitor center lot walk out the trail to the Y that begins the loop trail, turn right you will see a sign to left going to the Covered bridge first. Walk the gravel road to the Covered bridge. Water starts downward on High Falls from the Bridge. Hike the path to left (looking down from the bridge) going down to Triple to look back at High Falls view where you came from (beautiful view looking back up of High and the Bridge) . continue hike down to Triple then back up around on the part of the loop back to Vistor center lot. Last drive down to Hooker lot and only a short walk to see Hooker. This will help if you need to avoid a steep climb from Hooker to Triple. Enjoy a day here, It amazingly beautiful.

We were rewarded for the struggles of finding a parking lot with a winter wonderland of ice and snow. Spectacular 360 degree view if ice topped peaks and green valleys. Overall, moderate hike with wonderful view.

Beautiful falls, well maintained trail. However, it was super crowded on a Saturday afternoon.

This trail delivered just what I was looking for as far as being a bit challenging but nothing crazy and the payoff at the top was amazing ! I went on a Sunday morning , on the way up it was only minimally busy, the rock itself was pretty crowded and on the way back down around 1pm was very heavily trafficked and SO MANY off leash dogs, which would have been fine as long as you don't have a dog reactive dog with you, as my friend did . I would not suggest bringing a dog unless it is extremely well trained and non dog reactive because it appears that off leash dogs on this trail is a big thing .

I would totally do this hike again but probably on a weekday or a colder day to avoid the crowd.

not horribly difficult. it's is almost completely uphill on the outward leg. lots of springs so the trail gets pretty wet. We did it in tennis shoes and had no issues. amazing view at the end.

decent hike up. keep making lefts. at one point there's a sign for parking or Trail and if you go right you'll be going down the mountain around another side. it does have an awesome panoramic view at the top which is well worth the hike.

Absolutely loved this beautiful trail! High Falls is a BEAST and easily one of the most impressive waterfalls we've ever seen! The trails were nice and wide, some pretty steep incline between Hooker Falls and Triple Falls, and while there were no trail blazes noted, it was easy to find and stay on trail due to signage. Highly recommend this hike- it was beautiful! Full trail review + more pics coming soon to our hiking blog at www.Wander-Full-Life.com

Great view, quick hike, will get rather crowded on the weekends. Trail is pretty moderate, but gets a little steep towards the top but nothing too challenging.

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