Appalachian Trail, Lost Cove, and Lakeshore Loop

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Appalachian Trail, Lost Cove, and Lakeshore Loop is a 11 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Fontana Dam, North Carolina that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

Distance: 11.0 miles Elevation Gain: 2,919 feet Route Type: Loop




nature trips

bird watching




no dogs

bridge out
washed out
20 days ago

7 months ago

Love every second of it! We went off trail and camped on a peninsula near the water and did some bass fishing. Lost Cove trail has a lot of beautiful water crossings. And water falls. We got stuck in part of the East cost storms at the top of the mountain (Shuckstack) so we did no get to see any views which was a major bummer. I’ll have to go back to get those views I wanted.

Mon Apr 08 2019

Great hike for those with time and experience. I say those with time because I misjudged my time and spent about an hour and a half hiking by flashlight. I brought 3 of my kids aged 8, 11, and 15yrs. Though my 8yr old daughter was proud of herself for completing the hike, I would not recommend for someone her age. We saw a deer that let us watch it for about a solid minute. Some great overlooks and cool old cars. I would do this again with a 10yrs and up crowd.

Excellent hike! I went up the Appalachian Trail 1st, lots of uphill until you reach the tower. Amazing views of the Smoky Mountains. Then I took Lost Cove Trail which had a bunch of blowdowns, and 8-10 stream crossings. Over the boots deep so expect to get wet. Then I returned on Lakeshore Trail. Easier going on this section. A handful of old rusted out cars in the woods along this trail. 11.5 miles. Tired but well worth it

Thu Sep 13 2018

Awesome views at Tower and great workout!!! Saw a bear and chased by yellow jackets. Will do it again for sure!!

Tue May 22 2018

A great overnight hike. The road across Fontana Dam is open now (May 2018), which saves a mile at either end of the hike. The climb up to Shuckstack is pretty steep, but beautiful even on a rainy day. The descent down Lost Cove trail is also very steep, and muddy on the day I hiked it; I was glad to be going down it and not up! Campsite 91 is lovely and quiet, but I pushed on to Campsite 90 at Eagle Creek. The trail between 91 and 90 crosses the stream about 8 or 9 times, each one requiring some wading, so bring water shoes! The streams were not high when I crossed them, never more than about a foot deep. Trekking poles are a help for balance, as some of the streams are pretty swift-flowing. Campsite 90 is right on the water -- I had expected more people, but it was quiet and beautiful. The Lakeshore trail is much hillier than its name might lead you to expect, though not nearly as bad as the ascent from Fontana Dam to Shuckstack. The trail passes a group of rusted car bodies, eerie reminders of the people displaced by the dam and the national park. All in all a great hike.

Sat Mar 10 2018

7 rock hops down to CS91 then 8 stream crossings with a few rock hops on down to Lakeshore Trail.

Sat Aug 19 2017

This is a strenuous hike, especially the Lost Cove trail but the Shuckstack fire tower's view makes it all worth it.

Wed Dec 21 2016

we started this loop walking from the dam towards the trail head. mostly uphill towards the tower, after awhile you can see it in the distance. very strenuous climb up if you're not in shape. at the tower the trail curves right to the lost cove trail which is mostly all downhill, a beautiful creek runs across most of the rest of the trail back. some parts you have to get wet. I'm considering buying trekking poles after this hike, the way down was wet and covered in leaves, very easy to loose footing with the steep downhill. it rained the entire day, and the leaves were all down so I imagine it looked more beautiful and alive in the summer. definitely a hike I'm going to redo in the summer months, didn't see any wildlife, but there was signs of bears in the areas. the last leg of the trail was the lake shore trail, mostly flat was a nice break! then toward the end some uphill, a few views of the fontana lake. the lake shore trail has a few old cars scattered along it, very neat. overall just the tower was worth the hike. will do it again, and would recommend it.

2 months ago

8 months ago

9 months ago

10 months ago

recorded shukstackalex

11 months ago

Wed May 29 2019

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