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Pump Gap Loop via Appalachian Trail

MODERATE 36 reviews

Pump Gap Loop via Appalachian Trail is a 3.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Hot Springs, North Carolina that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 3.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,069 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


nature trips


bird watching





wild flowers


Wooded up hill hike that eventually connects with AT and Lovers Leap. This is a 3.5 mile somewhat strenuous hike. From the trail head, hike east while following the orange blazes.There is a camp ground (Silvermine) on your right as you begin the hike. The first mile is a gradual up hill. The 2nd mile is almost straight up hill until Pump Gap intersects the Appalachian Trail This is an elevation gain of 1,000 ft. At the AT, turn right or hike west. This is a nice, relatively flat one mile section that follows a ridgeline. depending on the time of year, you can hear and see the French Broad River to your left. Just before heading downhill on the AT, there is a very nice over look above Hot Springs. From this over look stay on the AT until it intersects Lovers Leap Trail. Take this last 1/2 mile straight down hill until it intersects with the Silver mine service road. Turn left on Silver mine back to the cars.

Great trail! Pretty views at Lover’s Leap, and the Pump Gap loop follows a beautiful stream for a while. There were a few small water crossings, and we did end up with wet feet in January! Overall, a great experience with friends and 3 dogs.

1 month ago

Wonderful hike! I expected the overgrowth to be more then it was from the reviews I read but the trail wasn’t bad. It took us about three hours but we took our time and took it all in. The elevation was great as well. If your not an experienced hiker and would like to get your heart rate up this hike is perfect. All in all no complaints at all.

over grown
4 months ago

Nice trail, a bit overgrown on the first portion. Lightly marked as well, but some nice views and creek beds.

over grown
5 months ago

5 months ago

Great hike and a good workout. Rather than start at the suggested trailhead we walked from Hot Springs Resort, down the street and across the bridge to the AT. We followed the AT, past Lovers Leap and continued up to the ridge line ( quite the haul and with a brief down pour). We after about 1-1.5 mi, we then took the side trail off the AT on to Pump Gap Trail. This lead us to the trailhead mention in this app. Got a little confusion near the end. We then walked the road (level) back to the AT, bridge and HS.

over grown
7 months ago

We made a loop climbing up the Lover’s Leap Loop, continuing on the AT until the Pump Gap Loop where we headed back down to our starting point on the French Broad River. Views from Lover’s Leap are fantastic. Hiking the ridge on the AT was gorgeous and beautifully decorated with blooming rhododendrons. But quickly after turning down the Pump Gap trail we found ourselves fighting the vegetation & swarming insects, having difficulty staying in the trail, no blazes visible. I’m surprised and quite proud we made it out!

9 months ago

The pump gap portion is pretty poorly maintained with lots of blowdowns and sections in the river, but makes an easy loop along a nice section of the AT.

10 months ago

Wow. Just wow. Had time for one good sized hike while visiting. I spent hours thinning my options down to this one. It was perfect! Stunning views, scary sections (I am afraid of heights), a huge river you follow for a bit, and on the other side, a mountain stream you follow and cross over a few times with awesome water falls. We took the river side first which meant we attacked the 1.5miles of up hill / climbing first. Took as forever it seems. I believe it was over 2hrs before the trail leveled out (with rests... Several rests.. Lol). Lots of fun. Amazing beauty. This trail will be forever burned into my memory.

11 months ago

Great hike. Definitely a workout. Allow 3-3.5hrs at a leisurely pace. I recommend following the river first since that incline doesn’t seem as bad. If you go up lovers trail right away, get ready for a challenge!

Tue Oct 23 2018

Began hike on the AT hiked for two hours to Pump Gap where we joined the Pump Gap Loop Trail. Hiked back to Silvermine Parking area. This was a beautiful hike. Took us a total of three hours. Highly recommend the hike. Great views of Hot Springs on the AT.

Sun Jul 22 2018

we did the pump gap loop from the Silvermine trailhead, a few hundred yards up the little road from the parking area on the river. the trail map posted there lists it as 5.6m and shows a very different trail route than what this app shows. also, this app consistently showed me well east of the route according to the map on this app. so I don't know what to careful, follow the yellow blazes for the route we did, we were on trail just over 3 hrs and are average hikers at worst I'd say. A small old cemetery was way cool. update-i see that what this app shows/describes is a combination of an AT section and part of the pump gap loop, so be aware of what you're hiking. Also, we did take a wrong turn at one point, cost us like 15 mins, so that lengthened our time on trail on the route we took. Took off a couple tics at the end, be careful.

Sun Jun 10 2018

We had a little trouble finding the trailhead after we parked, but once we got going it was a real pleasure. The Pump Gap part of the trail was a little trickier—recent rains have covered the trail with some downed trees and rocks. But once we got to the AT, it was smooth and very well maintained. Took us about 1.75 hours to complete the loop. Recommended!

Sun Jan 28 2018

Great hike with good winter views. The views are limited in summer but it is still a great hike. With the trip.

Mon Nov 27 2017

nice hike not great scenic views, but enjoyable hike.

Mon Aug 07 2017

A hard but fun trail! All of us are still sore - a good workout due to the vertical incline. The view isn't that great and it was actually 5.6 miles, not 3.4. It took us 2 hours to get through.

Thu Feb 23 2017

This trail has no views, but it's a good walk in the woods, with some uphill intervals that make for a decent workout.

Wed Oct 05 2016

Nice trail

Tue Nov 22 2011

Great hike took about 3 hours round trip. Some beautiful views. You can start right from the town of hot springs and anyone in the town can give you directions to the trailhead. I think it is one of the best hikes if your staying in hot springs. Enjoy

26 days ago

8 months ago

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