nature trips



wild flowers


1 day ago

Sean there is no clear water along the way you must filter water we use a sawyer filter, i just did it in 2 days back packing 35 pound pack, We did south to north and we moved fast. It rained a ton so that made water finding easy but it filled our boots and made the rock hard to walk on.. There was a ton of places for water. The hard place was 4 miles before crossing the blue ridge to Black Balsam and about 4 miles after that peak around shining rock. it was over 32 miles one way and can be very hard at times . The climb up to the blue ridge was hard and just keep going and going plan for 1.5 MPH at the hard point with a pack. Everyone said there were a ton of bears out. Plan for 3 days, if it does not rain keep an eye on water they can dry up fast . I would keep a min 32 oz at all times so fill up the 3L when you can. we ended up do around 38 miles due to a side trail we did.

I didn’t go yet. But I heard this is a awesome trail, so Interesting about it and planning to go.
First the all I want ask anyone know has clean water source along the trail?
Second I don’t want go by myself, just in case for safety, anyone else planning go to this trail, can we go together? Be a partner for each other?

5 days ago

Great trail, family friendly!

The hike got my heart pumping.... the falls are beautiful, the water clear. It’s way ether the trek.

16 days ago

This trail is easy and decent. It does smell funny but I feel the vegetation is to blame more so than dog feces. The falls are beautiful and people don't take their trash with them when they leave as the area around the falls was littered with cigarette butts, discarded water bottles, and clothing. Its really a disappointment because the falls are so nice. Also you might want to review the trail map before you leave out because the mountains to sea trail is a blue trail but the skinny dip falls trail color is white we started in the wrong location and almost went the wrong way.

Beautiful and quick hike. We had a great albeit freezing time playing in the various pools beneath the falls with the little one.

26 days ago

This is a hard hike! If anyone tell you any different then you should doubt them. We started at the Camp Daniel Boone (BSA) and headed south. I was careful to mark and photograph the true water sources for those that wish to use this data. We hiked 8 miles and spent the night. We finished the hike the next day at the Black Balsam parking lot. It was a good 12 miles total and several 6k peaks. Study a map and plan well. This is a tough hike with great rewards and physical challenges.

1 month ago

A quick simple hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway (park at the Looking Glass Rock Overlook and access is right across the road). Pathway was easy to navigate with stone steps on the hilly portions. An easy hike with the reward of a very beautiful natural waterfall and swimming hole. I went late morning mid-week and met only one other couple. Explore the banks downstream and you can easily find a quiet area to have a picnic and enjoy the sound of the water.

1 month ago

great short hike to a beautiful series of falls and pools. very refreshing and very cool water after you work up a sweat.

only downside were way too many dogs on the trail and there skat.

love dogs, but really? not the place...

the trail was great and the falls were great

Great hike! Short and sweet, has a really great waterfall and pools. Has rocks and steps so going can be slick in the rain.

Great trail as said before. The weather changes fast. We got caught in a bad hail storm. Despite that there are numerous of places to camp. I went counter clockwise and that was very challenging although it left some great views for the second day (black balsam, shining rock etc.). If you go counter clockwise and plan to go up old butt knob be sure to have at least 2:30 hours from East Fork and at least 2.5 L of water filled up from the river. It is a very steep section and the first campsite takes quite some hiking to get to. If not shining creek path is a much easier alternative. Old Butt Trail gets a little confusing near shining rock as well. We had to bushwhack through about a quarter mile to remain on the trail. If you are inexperienced and new to the shining rock area consider downloading and viewing this map in real-time, it helps a lot.

Good hike with varied scenery. Spectacular views on the ridge.
Heavy traffic along the bald around Black Balsam and around the falls in the valley (due to parking areas).
Lots of areas to camp past the falls just before you go back into the Wilderness Area.
The river is spectacular. Lots of places to swim.

Replenish water just before the Shining Creek Path ends (When you get into the pine trees after about 4.5 miles look for water. It is shown on the map). Very little water on ridge line (there is some). Plenty of places to get water from Black Balsam onwards. There were no bugs in Apr/May.
Loop the direction of the Shining Creek Path being the first day. A little strenuous but better than going the opposite way. A good two night trip if you want to take your time. Can easily be an overnight trip.
Detour up to Shining rock - the view is worth it.

I would consider this a relatively well used trail. Definitely saw a fair amount of people hiking and camping even though the weather called for an overnight storm.

Great little swimming hole included with scenic falls

1 month ago

Great trail! Pack light and enjoy this hike. Each section has its own feel and challenges. Spurs to shining rock and cold mountain are well worth the time and effort. Evenings still cool so prepare accordingly if you are going soon. Once your at elevation the wind can be a factor at night so keep an eye on that as you plan your hike. Check my recording for campsites and springs/water sources.

Love this hike. Done it a couple times now. Has a great variation of landscapes and views. Be careful of storms moving in fast. Weathered my worst camp storm ever while here. Ran down Black Balsam knob just in time before the storm hit.

2 months ago

Just got off the trail a few days ago, and it was awesome!! If you are looking for a challenge with some beautiful views, then this trail is for you.

2 months ago

We did this loop over 4 days 3 nights it was a nice easy rewarding trip. Hitting some of the best sections of the art loeb. Navigating was not to difficult, some sections are not marked at all. MTS section of course was well marked. Graveyard fields were closed to camping due to bear activity. So we avoided staying near that area. Bear canister is required and spray is recommended.

2 months ago

Art Loeb trail kicked my butt. Be prepared for Pilot Knob, it’s killer. Beautiful views, killer hike. Very difficult but awesome.

I loved this trail. Hiked it counter clock wise. The trail provides a variety of forests and IMO is the best area for hiking in Southern North Carolina. Black Balsam provides great views and waterfalls are plenty. Dozens of prime campsites along the way.

Been hiking here for 20+ years. One of my all time favorite trails

4 months ago

Art Loeb was a real trooper, I find it amazing that Art built this trail the old fashion way by bushwhacking his way through the forest. Art chose the tallest five peaks he could find to climb, and when that wasn’t strenuous enough for him he decided to fully descend into the bottom of the canyon before hiking up to the next mountain summit. My wife, son and I hiked the Art Loeb trail in late fall and while the days were just beautiful the nights had fierce winds which made it nearly impossible to have a fire and enjoy the evenings. We only allowed 2 ½ days to hike the whole 30 miles which was a mistake because it didn’t allow us enough time to enjoy the views, next time I’ll provide 3 ½ days. We started the hike from Davidson River Campground and the first half of the trail is through dense forest but shortly after you cross the Blue Ridge Parkway the trail opens up. I have hiked dozens of impressive peaks in the Rockies but when you are carrying a 40-pound pack and trying to complete this trail in 2 ½ days its quite difficult, even for the most experienced hiker. We drove up a day before we started the hike and hid water near different road crossings that ended up being a really smart choice. We only had one car, so we rented a car from Hertz just outside of the park. Then drove up to the Boy Scout camp (where the trail ends) and dropped our car off. Then drove back to Hertz and they dropped us off at the Davidson River trailhead where the trail begins. They didn’t even charge us and the car only cost us about $30 for the day. Because of the grand views at the summits I would definitely hike this trail again but I can’t stress enough that I would allow for at least 3 ½ days to complete the hike.

Very easy trail that anyone could hike (my 80 yr old grandmother did it). The swimming hole is gorgeous the only reason I cannot give 5 stars is because of how crowded it can get (we went in the summer). If you can avoid the crowds and go on a weekday morning I’m sure it would be beautiful and relaxing.

Great hike, beautiful sunsets!!!

This trail is a whopper. Make sure you have some water and snacks packed. I did this in just under 6 hours and it ended up being 12.5 miles–a mile longer than described. This loop is also unmarked, so I found it helpful to follow my progress on the app.

The first 4 miles are pure ascent, with the first 2 being especially grueling. Be prepared. Once you reach Shining Rock, you can hop on Art Loeb from the 4-way intersection; the preset connecting trail is overgrown! Once you reach the Greasy Cove trail, the descent is gradual. Once this trail converges with Greasy Cove Prong, I believe the idea is to cross the river and continue the trail. However, I must have lost sight of the trail or perhaps it was obstructed due to fallen trees, because I couldn't find a connecting path. So I did what I had to, and hopped down the river on the rocks until I arrived at the Big East Fork trail. From here on, you walk alongside the river until you reach US 276. If you're like me, you'll be so relieved and take off your shoes to drive off barefoot.

Beautiful falls and wonderful weather.

Great trail. Hiked to flower gap from shining creek trail head on night one. Then found a spot along the Yellowstone prong on MTS trail night two.

7 months ago

Very nice and easy to get to.

trail running
8 months ago

super fun trail!!! love it!

9 months ago

Really fun spot for swimming. Lots of people, noise, kids, and dogs. Lots of trash laying around unfortunately. Relatively short distance, the up/down uneven surface to get there makes it moderate. Careful with wandering little ones, there are some areas where if they fall from the trail it's certain death. You can explore a little to either side of the main area if you're into rock hopping. Super slippery. There are a few smaller swimming holes if you look around.

10 months ago

Easy trail. Quiet view. Only negative is the trash and debris people leave behind.

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