Explore the most popular hiking trails in Sampson Mountain Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Beautiful trail, easy to moderate. Lots of stream crossings and slick rocks though. Went after a night of thunderstorms. Probably easier to step stone across during dryer times of year. Good parking area too

Beautiful hike along the creek for the majority of the time with quite a few crossings. Multiple waterfalls.

walking
21 days ago

great

hiking
29 days ago

One of my favorite hikes. Follows the river for a bit then heads uphill to meet the AT. Its not extremely difficult, but has a tricky part near the river and some steep areas. Just a beautiful, beautiful hike.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great little trail that really comes alive in heavy rain seasons. Water features are awesome and great spot for photography in many areas.

hiking
2 months ago

Loved it! The water level was up which made the creek crossings a challenge but it was great to see so much water coming down.

This is a great trail - defined not 10 year old friendly. Beautiful views with lots of snow.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice trek up to falls. Stream not too wide but make sure to bring poles for the numerous crossings (at least 15 times).

We attempted to take an overnight trip and ended up just going to big bald and back in one day (13mi) because of bad weather. Even through fog and rain, I could tell this hike was absolutely beautiful. September was the perfect time to go for fields of flowers, ferns, mushrooms and moss! The scenery was abundant and breathtaking. I would highly recommend, but check the weather for mars hill instead of Asheville - vastly different climates only 30 minutes away.

This is a nice little trail, the waterfall is nice and you have climb down to iy but it's a good trail. I added a few miles to it exploring the area a little. mostly mountains at the top but there is a ton of places to go and see what's around the corner so to speak. It's not to steep and the rating of moderate is about right. levels out once you get to the ridgelines. This would be excellent hike with the fall colors at peak as there are many various trees so it will be a good mix of colors. I'll be back for sure.

This is a great section of the AT! The parking and trailhead is easy access and well-marked. The parking is located right before the 1-26 overpass, on both the right and left sides of the road. There is a gate and sign labeled Walking Trail. The trail starts right beyond the gate. We hiked the 2 miles to the first bald mountain, then hiked back. The views from the mountain are so beautiful! It would be amazing to camp overnight to see the sunrise and sunset. I would rate the difficulty as moderate. There are many roots and rocks along the trail, along with several fallen trees to climb over. The last half mile or so is a steady elevation gain. The hike to the first bald is entirely wooded, but the views are worth it!!

hiking
8 months ago

IF YOU SEE NO PARKING SIGNS YOU'RE NOT THERE YET- continue on up the rough gravel road to the left until it actually dead ends at the parking area. Nice hike (though pretty steep, in my opinion, considering you are traveling uphill the whole time until you turn around and come back down). Very lightly trafficked. Waterfall was nice, but didn't make it to the lake. Lots of nice opportunities to splash in the creek (some very deep spots to dunk in, though not really big enough to swim in).

The trail needs to be marked clearly. I ended up missing it and going down the Turkey Pen Trail ( I think that's what it's called). I'm going to try again soon.

9 months ago

No place to park so we did not hike it. Not sure where those who do hike this actually park because there were Private property, no trespass, no parking, and tow away signs all over the area.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful place especially when wild flowers are blooming they are everywhere along the trail .Trail has a steady uphill climb but not bad .There is a steep part as you go down to the base of the falls but just watch your footing and it's not bad .Well worth going down to the base of the falls to get the best view .My favorite trail for wildflowers in this area :)

LOVE this journey

hiking
10 months ago

The trail is definitely moderate to the falls. I would've rated 4 stars but the lack of accessibility to the falls along the trail was disappointing. Not to say you couldn't bushwhack your way down, but I wasn't really in the mood for that on this particular day. Other sites mention a lost lake...don't waste your time. First off the trail is 1700' of gain in the 1 mile up to it. Secondly, the "lake" down almost 25' feet from its normal level. If you must check it out the trail is after your first stream crossing past the main falls, to the left on the side of the creek you came from. Judging from old posts about it there used to be a janky wooden bridge. It's been washed out and caused us to miss it on our way up initially, even though you can clearly see the trail. Cross and start climbing. 3/4 of the way up is a rusted out late model truck. If you stay on Higgins Creek Trail it follows the stream to the top and eventually intersects with a forest service road on the ridge.

Wet and rocky! Beautiful hike right from the beginning. We went a couple weeks ago after we had a ton of rain and the water was up, we had a hard time finding a place to cross the creek so taking our shoes off and going across it barefoot was about our only option. Waterfall is fantastic! A must see.

hiking
11 months ago

We really enjoyed this water fall hike. It was super private and lightly trafficked. Felt like you were out in the middle of no where. We didn't see another soul out here while we were hiking. Our dog loved it and was able to hike off leash the entire time. The water fall was huge and beautiful.

Great hike ,bald mt. Was fogged in would like to go back on a clear day ,looking forward to it ! Last month

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Went during a rain storm so the falls had some extra volume and enjoyed the empty hike.
Drive past the no parking signs. There is parking in the forest. Climb down to the falls view from path.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Definitely some elevation gain but a good hike. Saw bear scat and tracks so that kept me on my toes. Had bear spray but really didn't want to have to use it.

hiking
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This was a great hike, I'm not a fan with sharing trails with horses personally. The first 1.3 miles is on a trail that horseback riders frequent on. After that it's pure wilderness to yourself. I would suggest this hike from winter to early spring due to foliage. I still had to push through some and it was at the minimal. The trail may slightly disappear during the summer but as long as you keep following up Chigger Branch you are going to find this awesome cascade.

hiking
Thursday, March 30, 2017

I think some dissapointed hiker might followed the main map above, which actually incorrect in a way that it does not follow the Squibb creek trail all the way. It misses a right turn and it goes on the turkey pen trail. This will not lead to the main waterfall. See my recording for the trail, if you want to see the large waterfall. Note: I suggested an edit to the main map that may fix this

horseback riding
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Great ride! The no trespassing signs before you get to the parking area are for the private land before the road ends on Nat. Forest land. But there are there to intimidate. There is legal pubic parking at the end of the road. Just cross the bridge and keep going to park.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I was a bit disappointed. The waterfall was nice, but I don't think it was worth the hike.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

The waterfall is not at the end of the trail. There is a lake if you go far enough. There are no trespassing signs, but there is a gravel road to the left of the signs and it takes you to the parking area of the trailhead. From my experience if it looks like a road, it usually will take you to a parking area for trail heads. The waterfall is good size and is also off the trail, so you have to do some climbing to get back to the trail. It is all up hill basically.

hiking
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I didn't think it was worth the hike

Great hike. Mostly wooded. The first bald is beautiful

First bald is about 2 miles from the little parking lot off the road. Went in late December and the trail was fully open and accessible. It's good for a short day hike, I would rate it as moderate up to that point. The view from the first field is quite amazing, and looks like a good place to camp to watch the sunrise! Didn't see the second bald, but I will try that next time!

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