Appalachian Trail North of Hot Springs is a 15 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Hot Springs, North Carolina that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Scenic views from fire tower, open grassy areas, wooded trails This 10 mile loop begins on the east side of Hot Springs, along side the French Broad River. The first 1/2 mile is a flat easy hike along the river. The next two miles are a rather steep rise of 1200 feet. The trail is rocky and narrow in places and caution should be the rule. This part of the trail reminds me of trail conditions similar in the Rockies. There are nice views of the French Broad and Hot Springs during the ascent. At the top of the elevation gain is a good area for camping. The rapids of the river can be heard for the first 3 miles. The next 4 miles through Tanyard Gap and the intersection of Roundtop Ridge are tree covered, with a number of Rododendrun Tunnels to go through. Just before Tanyard, are some very nice open areas for wildlife viewing. At Roundtop Ridge the trail descends downhill for almost 4 miles.The trail ends on the river front road. Stunning views of the surrounding mtn's can be seen by taking a side trip to the Rich Mtn Fire Tower.
Took the Roundtop Ridge trail from Reservoir Rd to just a short section on the AT, to the trail up to the Rich Mountain Fire Tower - about a 7 mile hike excluding the walk from town. The trail was fantastic, and the view from the tower was amazing. Everything at the top was covered in ice, even though the temp in Hot Springs that day was in upper 40s/low 50s. It was incredibly beautiful. Also secluded - we met no one on the trail. A very rewarding hike.
Very nice out and back trail. Firetower was a beautiful view. Moderate trail, with some good uphill hiking
A great loop hike with several nice pubs and a mineral soak to finish the day - What more could you want?
Like most folks, I recommend doing it counterclockwise:
1) The descent down the Roundtop trail, while not very scenic, provides a pretty neat perspective of the dramatic slope of the ridge.
2) The busier parking area on the Silvermine side is preferable to the relative remoteness of the reservoir at the Roundtop trailhead. The car would probably be fine.....but who wants to ponder such things on the trail?
The whole loop is 13 miles long if you include the extra mile up to and back from the Rich Mountain tower on the AT.
Great hike but actual route is closer to 12 miles instead of 10. Did not find the fire tower so the scenic views were not what we expected, but the hike itself was great.
Great day hike. Didn't see a sole after leaving the Appalachian.
Nothing bad to say here grizz and Chaplin is back on the trail
Walk out of town on the right side of the bridge as you reach the other side look over the guardrail for some stairs. Follow the road upstream to the trail start. The first climb is intense over 850ft in 15min. Three more moderate to strenuous climbs bring you up to 3200ft. Now the make a left on Roundtop Ridge and start the continuous 2.5+ miles decent back down tothe river. 3950ft elevation gain, 11miles, 5hrs, @4.5mph moving speed 2mph avg