Art Loeb Trail

HARD 31 reviews

Art Loeb Trail is a 28.5 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Ecusta, North Carolina that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
28.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
8,257 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

The Art Loeb Trail is one of the longer and more difficult trails in the state, and it's also one of the more popular. The trail serves as a memorial to Art Loeb, a former industrialist and activist from the Carolina Mountain Club, and a man who "deeply loved these mountains." Traveling mainly along peaks and ridges rather than in the valleys, the trail offers many views along the way to its lofty high points. It skirts along the southwestern rim of the Davidson River valley, then skips across some of the highest peaks in the Black Balsam area before descending Cold Mountain to the Daniel Boone Scout Camp. It takes the hiker to some of the finest scenery to be found in Pisgah, and you'll view or cross many of the landmark mountains in the region. Many folks use this trail for an extended backpacking trip (at least 3-4 days) and plenty of campsites along the trail will facilitate that kind of trip. Others use shorter sections of the trail for day hikes, or use connecting trails to form loops.

backpacking
12 days ago

Wow is all I can say. The trail is amazing. The views are amazing. The signage is horrible. You can easily got lost EVEN with a map. We did 12 miles the first day from the Boy Scout camp. It was awesome with amazing views and it was work. The second day following the same blazes we ended up on the mst waaaaaay off course. So off course there was no way to backtrack and regroup we ended up taking to the road and hitchhiking. Luckily I found a couple at devils courthouse and offered them $50 to give me a ride to Davidson river trail head and they said yes. I would have paid $100 lol. Beware even with a map. We had 2. There are so many social trails and other trails that come off it and most are NOT marked.

2 months ago

There and back again! In an effort to answer the question that has plagued scientists for millennia (how is it possible that the art loeb is uphill all the way both ways?) I did this trail as an out and back. I do not have an answer to the question but I can confirm that it is, in fact, all up hill both ways. Seriously though, this is such a great trail and has a different feel depending on which way you take it. Whether you do it as two separate hikes or do it all at once, I highly recommend doing it both ways. I prefer the south to north route as you end with all the beautiful views and more isolated portions of the trail (cold mountain is well worth the detour) — a great reward after a tough hike. Regarding gear I can just say that this is one trail that is made easier with a lighter pack. Really consider what you need to bring and why? Is there anything you can leave behind? Could you get by with a lighter pack? A tarp instead of a tent? Lighter cooking gear? There are so many purveyors or ultralight gear these days — if you hike and camp a lot it is well worth the investment to transition your gear as you can over time. I did this 60 miles in 2 days with a 12 pound pack. Hiked from Davidson river to Daniel Boone and then back up to the base of cold mountain (34 miles) on day one and then back to Davidson River on day 2 (26 miles). Having done it in more time with a heavier pack I can tell you that the lighter pack makes all the difference in the world, particularly in some of the more technical sections of the hike. Do be aware of water sources as you go. Water becomes more limited as the summer get on and particularly between the shelters and shining rock water can be very limited. There is a reliable spring just past shining rock heading towards the narrows and it’s worth getting water there whichever direction you are heading in. There is beautiful camping all along the trail but also remember that if you are camping above the blue ridge, current regulations require a bear canister. You will likely see more signs of bear activity than actual bears but they are around. All of the bears I have seen in the area have been timid and turned tail as soon as they saw me. Just part of the deal. Whatever you do and however you do this hike, just enjoy it!

backpacking
2 months ago

Great hike but definitely a killer... started at the Boy Scout Camp and ended at Davidson. I read this was the easier way to go however, don’t let the word “easy” fool you, it’s still very challenging. There were a couple tricky spots because of the unmarked trails just pay attention to your compass and map to be sure you’re heading in the right direction. We did this hike in 2 and a half days, our thighs were burning at the end from all of the ups and downs. Fantastic views in the Balsam knob area, unfortunately it started storming for us so we had to get out of there. There are a couple fire pits up there in that area, highly recommend snagging one of those if possible. Absolutely no coverage whatsoever so only plan to stay there if you know it’s not going to storm!! Bummed we didn’t get that opportunity because the sky would have been wicked to look at from there. Overall great hike, definitely worth it!

3 months ago

Extremely fun! Very hard terrain. I accomplished this trail solo in less than 46 hours. Starting at the actual trail head and finishing at the Daniel Boone camp...awesome trail but is very very difficult and would not recommend to a beginner.

backpacking
3 months ago

Hiked end of June, 2018 with friends and two dogs. Having hiked a fair amount in Western North Carolina, there is no better hike that captures such a wide range of terrain. We hiked South to North, from Davidson River Campground to Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp and completed in 3 full days. Dropped a car the night before at Boy Scout Camp and stayed in Etowah at Etowah Valley Golf (dog friendly). Glad we decided to take 3 days. There are so many spots with amazing views (especially day 2) that you simply don’t want to rush past. Plan to spend at least an hour at Black Balsam. Get a map and check your GPS from time to time. We got on a side trail twice on the final day. The second time, at the Cold Mountain spur trail, be sure to keep left. The trail follows the ridge. Blazes (white) south to north are few and far between. I don’t remember seeing any in the shining rock wilderness area.

hiking
3 months ago

Sean there is no clear water along the way you must filter water we use a sawyer filter, i just did it in 2 days back packing 35 pound pack, We did south to north and we moved fast. It rained a ton so that made water finding easy but it filled our boots and made the rock hard to walk on.. There was a ton of places for water. The hard place was 4 miles before crossing the blue ridge to Black Balsam and about 4 miles after that peak around shining rock. it was over 32 miles one way and can be very hard at times . The climb up to the blue ridge was hard and just keep going and going plan for 1.5 MPH at the hard point with a pack. Everyone said there were a ton of bears out. Plan for 3 days, if it does not rain keep an eye on water they can dry up fast . I would keep a min 32 oz at all times so fill up the 3L when you can. we ended up do around 38 miles due to a side trail we did.

4 months ago

I didn’t go yet. But I heard this is a awesome trail, so Interesting about it and planning to go.
First the all I want ask anyone know has clean water source along the trail?
Second I don’t want go by myself, just in case for safety, anyone else planning go to this trail, can we go together? Be a partner for each other?
Thanks!

hiking
4 months ago

This is a hard hike! If anyone tell you any different then you should doubt them. We started at the Camp Daniel Boone (BSA) and headed south. I was careful to mark and photograph the true water sources for those that wish to use this data. We hiked 8 miles and spent the night. We finished the hike the next day at the Black Balsam parking lot. It was a good 12 miles total and several 6k peaks. Study a map and plan well. This is a tough hike with great rewards and physical challenges.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail! Pack light and enjoy this hike. Each section has its own feel and challenges. Spurs to shining rock and cold mountain are well worth the time and effort. Evenings still cool so prepare accordingly if you are going soon. Once your at elevation the wind can be a factor at night so keep an eye on that as you plan your hike. Check my recording for campsites and springs/water sources.

backpacking
6 months ago

Just got off the trail a few days ago, and it was awesome!! If you are looking for a challenge with some beautiful views, then this trail is for you.

backpacking
6 months ago

Art Loeb trail kicked my butt. Be prepared for Pilot Knob, it’s killer. Beautiful views, killer hike. Very difficult but awesome.

7 months ago

Been hiking here for 20+ years. One of my all time favorite trails

hiking
8 months ago

Art Loeb was a real trooper, I find it amazing that Art built this trail the old fashion way by bushwhacking his way through the forest. Art chose the tallest five peaks he could find to climb, and when that wasn’t strenuous enough for him he decided to fully descend into the bottom of the canyon before hiking up to the next mountain summit. My wife, son and I hiked the Art Loeb trail in late fall and while the days were just beautiful the nights had fierce winds which made it nearly impossible to have a fire and enjoy the evenings. We only allowed 2 ½ days to hike the whole 30 miles which was a mistake because it didn’t allow us enough time to enjoy the views, next time I’ll provide 3 ½ days. We started the hike from Davidson River Campground and the first half of the trail is through dense forest but shortly after you cross the Blue Ridge Parkway the trail opens up. I have hiked dozens of impressive peaks in the Rockies but when you are carrying a 40-pound pack and trying to complete this trail in 2 ½ days its quite difficult, even for the most experienced hiker. We drove up a day before we started the hike and hid water near different road crossings that ended up being a really smart choice. We only had one car, so we rented a car from Hertz just outside of the park. Then drove up to the Boy Scout camp (where the trail ends) and dropped our car off. Then drove back to Hertz and they dropped us off at the Davidson River trailhead where the trail begins. They didn’t even charge us and the car only cost us about $30 for the day. Because of the grand views at the summits I would definitely hike this trail again but I can’t stress enough that I would allow for at least 3 ½ days to complete the hike.

backpacking
Wednesday, March 08, 2017

By far one of the best trails in the southeast. Offers everything someone could want in a 3-4 day trip.

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

recorded Art Loeb Trail

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

backpacking
9 months ago

backpacking
10 months ago

11 months ago

backpacking
Saturday, September 09, 2017

hiking
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

trail running
Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

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