Explore the most popular birding trails in Pisgah National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Short and sweet with a nice overlook. Parking area has great view of Grandfather Mountain. We were there on a very foggy day but when the clouds cleared for a few moments it looked amazing!

Really nice short hike with a slight incline through the woods until you reach the big multi-level falls. The mist felt so nice on a hot (and hungover) day. A little crowded for a Sunday afternoon but not too bad, the beautiful falls were definitely worth it!

1.) we got to the trail head at 8 am and were the only car in the lot. When we got back 4 hours later, the lot was completely full and there were cars dangerously parked all along the side of the curvy roads
2.) my watch said 6.4, all trails says 5.5, and my girlfriend's all trails say 5.3 miles. No matter what, it's definitely longer than 5.0 miles so be prepared.
About 21 switch backs if we counted correctly.
3.) Since we got there early, we were the first ones up. We enjoyed our peace and quiet for about 30-45 min when a swarm of people made it to the top.
3.) If you're taking your dog, please be responsible and make sure your dog can handle it. We saw several dogs over heating on the way down.
4.) there were an unbelievable amount of people who had absolutely no gear or preparation or water for the 6 mile hike. On top of that we passed someone SMOKING A CIGARETTE. Unreal. Please respect nature and the reason we're out there people!
Would have given a 4 out of 5 but not for the traffic and the people.

Great hike, took our four year and and our dog. They loved it. Waterfall is beautiful

hiking
4 days ago

This was a beautiful hike and gave us a great view as we are learning our new home. The only down side was the road there was a bit confusing the first time. Stop and ask any locals you see on your way up... they were very helpful. Follow signs to the picnic area

This is one of my favorite trails, starts out like is going to be super easy, then is really rocky and a lot of fun, beautiful all the way. You won't regret taking this trail!

My wife and I decided to hike today regardless of the rain, and Hawksbill seemed to be the place. It was muddy but one of the best short hikes ever. The trail is easy until you have to chose left or right. The "left" is rocky, and fairly steep, but so worth it. She and I are going back when it's clear...can't wait!!!

This is a strenuous hike, but it is very well worth it. There is an incredible view at the end and lots of beautiful flora and fauna along the way.

This hike is very challenging, but has awesome views and is well marked.

I must have hit this trail before the crowds started for the season. It was a perfect May evening. We hiked up with packs and landed one of the only three campsites that I saw. This site was about 100ft. from the lookout and the incredible sunset on the lookout made the strenuous hike up completely worth it.

really good spot, easily accessible and falls were impressive. great short afternoon hike following a long morning hike. would recommend.

gorgeous panoramic views. 360 degree unobstructed awesomeness.

short, nice little beauty spot. must see all 4 seasons

Short hike. Well maintained. Over all very pretty.

backpacking
8 days ago

Backpacked the loop and camped for 2 nights along the trail. Several great camping spots with fire rings, most along the river for easy water access. I will say, there are several spots we had to pull out our map because there are several forks that are not well marked. Definitely make sure you’re looking for the color coded blazes, and look for the pink flagging to see where to cross the creek. GET A MAP BEFOREHAND!! Lots of roots and stumps to trip on so watch your footing!

6.2 miles, round trip. The last mile before the peak is the toughest. Nice hike. SImilar to Stone Mtn NC when you hit the top...just not as much real estate. The trail peaks, then you have to hike back down before you hit the viewing rock face.

See also: Coffee Pot Mountain Loop Trail for more reviews and recordings. The name of this trail in particular makes more sense, since it actually uses the trail names in the title. You are indeed walking around the base of coffee pot mountain though on the second half. Note that when facing the sign in the parking area with the enlarged maps and info, the trail head will be behind you. The trail head to the left of the sign (if you're looking at it) is also named Trace Ridge, but it takes you into a totally different area to the south, intersecting with Wash Creek Trail.
There are two paths for the Coffee Pot Mountain Loop: The way in, and the way out. The gravel road with the barrier gate will be the way you'll come out at the end, which is to the left if facing both paths. Take the path to the right that appears to go uphill. That's the way in for this particular route, unless you'd like to take it backwards of course.
The first 1/3 of the hike has all the incline, as shown on the elevation map. There are short spurts of technical, rocky, narrow areas that bring you up along Trace Ridge north toward the Blue Ridge Parkway. Note that I'm not an athlete, but have been getting in shape for hikes and the incline portion of this trail was a great workout. There were awesome level terrain zones to give breaks and breathers between the incline zones, which is why the trail is rated as moderate. Keep your shoes tight, because the rocks and terrain are loose in some spots. The trail in general on this northern trek is quite narrow indeed, surrounded by mountain laurel, and there were lots of spider webs (carry a stick and wave it in front lol).
The sign at the northern end that splits toward the Blue Ridge Parkway was clearly marked. We didn't go that route, but easy enough to navigate if you want to add a view to your hike. You can hear the parkway traffic in this area and as you head back south into the next part of the loop. This is where the route changes to Spencer Gap with yellow blazes. Traffic fades as you go down by the water. The descent as you head south is quite gradual and very enjoyable. Do not take the red blazes or the blue blazes unless you want to change up the route. Look at the map before you go and take one with you, because there are quite a few intersections. One intersection in particular was confusing when it came to a gravel road. Look across the road, and slightly to the right, the trail continues on south with yellow markings and a sign with Spencer on it (might say Spencer Gap or Spencer Branch).
There were many many water crossings, and after the first one I saw I walked barefoot for a few miles. Some crossings were definitely too deep for shoes or boots. I'll bring water shoes next time for sure. It was so great to cool off in the creek on a hot day. Made the hike so rewarding!
Anyway I know this was a long review, but I hope it helps someone. Walking along the creek was my favorite part of the trail, since it was filled with wonderful smells and sounds with refreshing breaks. :D

Nice picnic spot and camping spot with Great views. Gets crowded by noon and the drive up is a bit rough.

Easy 7 mike out-and-back. Don’t let the profile fool you; it’s virtually flat the entire way. Lovely views of river including several nice swimming holes and a few class3-4 rapids.

A little crowded even on a Monday, but the waterfalls are worth it.

hiking
9 days ago

Perfect short hike. Typically I'll do this one early morning when fewer crowds and before breakfast. There are some steep areas that are unconsolidated large rocks, but the trail is well maintained. Trailhead is at the end of the parking lot, don't be tricked by the small trail near the overlook at the front of the parking lot

just hiked this again for the second time this week with my girlfriend. amazing waterfalls but it's a bit crowded on the weekends

Amazing waterfall!! Best one I’ve seen on the east coast, hands down. Well worth the hike to the top!!

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful, well-maintained trail with many wild flowers along the way to a worthy summit view - albeit next to a huge broadcast tower. Difficulty level is so subjective, but I’d say this is more of an easy than moderate trail, mainly because it’s just so short. The last bit is a bit steep but no more than being on a stair master for 15 or 20 mins. The rest of the hike is pretty mellow. Took a little over an hour for me and I’m pretty slow.

Very easy walk to a beautiful waterfall! Wasn’t very relaxing as there were quite a few people and screaming children there. Don’t forget to check out the old mica mine!

easy trail .. beautiful waterfall..

this was my favorite trail we did on our Asheville weekend. waterfall is better than expected and most of it is an easy walk out.

Good trail with very nice views. Trail is fairly clear and marked up to waterfall. When you are driving to this location its hard to find. Google just marked a spot i couldnt get to. So when you are going down the dirt road you cross a 1 lane bridge. About a mile down there is a horseshoe parkinglot. The trail head is there and marked with a sign!! Follow orange blaze...then follow orange white blaze. when you get to the top of the hill you see MST to right. Only follow if your staying on the loop. Stay st on orange blaze to go to waterfall. Trail does have wash out in spots but overall I thought was decently marked and there was a clear path!

love this loop! nice elevation change, multiple water crossings, 2 documented on trail waterfalls and a few more if you like to bushwack. get your hike on

this loop is 271a, 266 and 239 with some time walking the road on the north end. multiple creek crossings, may stay dry depending on the time of year. take the time to go down to the base of North harpers creek falls, it's worth it.

Load More