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.

Be prepared for a 2mi unblazed downhill decent

A great trail. Made the mistake of following GPS more than the Hiking Trail sign at first but eventually got some common sense. Took 5.5 mike hike each way,definitely faster on the return. We appear to be a week or two past prime wildflower colors but the bees were still happy bees! Lots of roots and uphill and lots of fun!

2 months ago

saw bear last week high up on trail

2 months ago

Loved it! Long two miles up to falls tho and rocky and elevation makes it "moderate" for sure to me! Trail narrow at times and lots of creek crossings so plan on wet feet! Beautiful area!

2 months ago

Pretty hike which runs by a small creek. However, there are several things you should know before you go.

First, there are many creek crossings. None of them are too bad, but if you go after a rain, it could be tricky.

Second, you share the trail with horses, and in some places, they have really torn up the trail. Lots of muddy patches which stretch across the trail.

Third, the trail becomes less marked the further you go on. There was a turn we needed to make which was completely not obvious. We didn’t notice it until we were well up the wrong path. After that, the trail became much more overgrown and less maintained.

2 months ago

Lying here on a blanket looking up at falling water at the end of a two-mile trek on the Squibb Creek Trail, I am content to spend a few moments contemplating the two rays of sunlight streaming through the treetops above and the gushing water dropping twenty-five-feet down what looks like a hundred crevices in the rock face.

To get to this little piece of paradise in the Sampson Mountain Wilderness, park at the picnic shelter adjacent to the Horse Creek Campground (you can’t drive any further without four-wheel drive). From the parking lot, head up the rocky road and take the first footbridge on your left across the creek. After a few creek crossings you will come to a fork in the trail. Take the path across the creek to your right. If you miss the fork and stay left of the creek you will come to a Turkey Pen Trail sign, and you need to turn around and cross over the creek. After you do this, you will see the sign for Squibb Creek Trail.

From here there are about a dozen more easily manageable creek crossings (I stayed dry the entire trek), but at times it is a little difficult to discern the trail. Also, there are several small waterfalls along the trail. If you aren’t using technology to guide you, you might be tempted to believe you’ve reached your destination prematurely. The trail does ultimately dead-end at a larger falls! It sits in a small cove, and the only way out is back down the trail. Although this is a shorter trail, it is rated moderate because there are portions of the trail that become pretty rocky and steep. I would still describe it as fairly “Easy,” but perhaps flirting with the lower end of the scale of “Moderate.”

on Squibb Creek Trail

3 months ago


Pretty strenuous hike. The trail is visible and lake level is low. Fun adventure hike.

I️ backpacked this with my brother and boyfriend last September and loved it! We camped on the top of Spivey gap and got up early to watch the sunrise which did not disappoint. We’re relatively new backpackers so it was a little strenuous for us and took us about 5 hours to get to Spivey gap and about 2 1/12 hours to hike back down. However, we also saw a father with his two boys 10 and 8 hike it no problem which made me feel really out of shape lol.

Will try again soon. Do not listen to the directions that you click on for IOS maps. It has you turn on Clark springs rd and what you need to do is continue down Clark’s creek rd past sill branch falls.

5 months ago

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.

6 months ago


8 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.

8 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.

11 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).

Thursday, October 05, 2017

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.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

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!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

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.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

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.

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