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Art Loeb Trail is a 28.5 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Brevard, 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

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

scramble

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.

hiking
15 days ago

Shaded and canopied- hiked with Chloe, Ella, Buba Gali and the dogs on Mother’s Day . Started on a wide gravel along side a shallow river where people are trout finishing then took a right on bridge to a steep narrow path up the mountain to a gorgeous view . It was a really nice path to walk on - not rocky and quite clear. The river is accessible and calm to swim.

1 month ago

access from the BRP is now closed...

hiking
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

Daniel Boone to Davidson River Campground Route Beautiful trail which gains and loses elevation rapidly from beginning to end. Did the trail in three days. Our night on top of Black Balsam was cold and very windy. If you choose to camp, be sure to bring clothes for all different types of weather. Trail was only difficult to follow around the Shining Rock area, but if you download the All Trails map and have battery on your cell phone you will be fine.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail goes straight up the mountain, got about a mile and a half up before heading back down. Was not ready for this one but I'll be back!

Got lost a few times, so we ended up doing an amended length Trail and sort of wandered along. lovely hike, challenging in bits, but had sun and shade.

3 months ago

Well marked trails, easy to find access to water, although scarce throughout. The marked spots have good flowing water. I wouldn't say there are several camping spots but the larger sheltered sites have plenty of room to spread out. We hike it in 1st week of November, highs in 40s lows in upper 20s. The foliage was almost gone but a good display still on the ground which made it difficult to see the trail when hiking downhill, with lots of roots and rocks in a few sections, it made it more difficult than the norm. Overall spectacular views when you get to your points and good display of biodiversity.

hiking
4 months ago

WINDY!

hiking
6 months ago

Did this trail in a few days and although hard, it was absolutely beautiful. Highly recommend it.

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

absolutely perfect two or three night backpacking hike.

backpacking
7 months ago

Loved the trail. So beautiful I read so many times it wasn’t well marked. Only in the shining rock wilderness there are no blazes. Just track your miles and look at maps for directions. I thought all other was very well marked. Would recommend. It is a thought trail. Hiked in 2 days

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous trail. Some sections are pretty tough but well worth it.

hiking
7 months ago

Disclaimer: did not complete the full point to point hike. Only did first ~8.5 miles to the butter gap shelter area before turning around and heading back to Art Loeb trailhead where we parked. Portion of trail that we covered was very dense with foliage and thick canopy. Provides great coverage when raining, but you won’t catch the slightest glimpse of the outside world. Trapped in a linear tunnel of trees for 8.5 miles, we were on the verge of insanity. Not recommended for those with claustrophobia. The other side of this trail may hold all the rewards, although I cannot attest. Too many other good trails out there to waste a day on this one. No views and unremarkable vegetation. Nothing aspiring here - will chalk this one up as boring exercise.

hiking
7 months ago

Just finished the trail today heading from North to south. Not worth the grueling work over 3 days for views at balsam knob you can get from a mile hike from the parking lot. we were pretty worried about water the entire time as most of the creeks had dried out. save yourself the effort and just camp up at shining rock from the parking lot.

hiking
8 months ago

Finished trail at Davidson River CG earlier today. My overall review of the trail: eh. I think the ratio of great stuff to the required effort isn't great. For virtually all of the trail you're either going up or down, and much of it is steep, lots of tree roots and rocks to navigate. Traveling from DBSC to DRCG, trail is better marked in the back half, but overall it's still pretty poorly marked. I had the Nat Geo map on Gaia on my phone, which was super helpful. Spent first night at Flower Knob, second night at Butter Gap. Not a lot of water sources along the route. Got water at Flower Knob, and then had hoped to find source at Gloucester Gap, but instructions to look "up a dirt" road didn't get me any joy...went up one dirt road, found no water, and decided to head to Butter Gap even though it was late. I would be prepared to put in some work to do the entire trail. None of it was technical, and I don't think The Narrows qualifies as bushwhacking (just a very narrow trail, but that's about it). I'm glad I did it, but it's not high on my "recommend" list.

backpacking
8 months ago

This trail is very poorly marked, so I highly recommend a detailed map and maybe even a compass. Blazes and signs are few and far between. There were plenty of times when I would come to trail intersections with no blazes, signs, or other markings. Over the length of the Art Loeb there are MANY intersections with lots of other trails and only a handful are actually labeled. For example, about 3.6 miles into the trail starting from Daniel Boone (the northern end), you will come to a large-ish campsite. There are three other trails leading off in different directions: one is the Art Loeb going south, another goes up to Cold Mountain, and a third goes off somewhere else (northward). None were marked with signs or blazes. The only way to know which is which would be with a good map and knowing your location on the trail. Don't let this discourage you, though. There are many beautiful parts to the trail and I am glad that I chose to hike it. But definitely bring a good, detailed map, and study it beforehand.

hiking
8 months ago

Parking at Art Lobe trailhead and continuing along river towards the Brevard bike trail. Easy walk with a double b.o.b. Stroller. Lots of shade and views of river.

backpacking
8 months ago

We backpacked from Daniel Boone to the end of the Narrows as well as up Cold Mountain. This is a great trail, but by no means an easy one. The trail is steep, technical in some areas, and in the Narrows very bushwacky. the hike out of deep Gap as others have said is a butt kicker as well as parts of the hike up cold mountain, but the views are with it . plenty of campsites from Daniel Boone to Cold Mountain , a few up the trail on cold mountain. there are no campsites until the end of the narrows after cold mountain. From Daniel Boone to Cold Mountain there are two water fill ups (2 miles and 2.5 miles in). Once you hit the cold mountain split, there is a trickle fill up out of 2 PVC pipes about a mile up the cold mountain trail. there is another fill up just before shining rock . there are very few blazes and signs on this trail, so come prepared. hiking poles would be highly recommended.

hiking
8 months ago

This trail rocks. See my prior reviews for tips. Water is scarce this time of year so be prepared. There is currently excellent water at the Butter Gap Shelter. There is no water at the Deep Gap Shelter but just below the shelter on deep gap road there is a spring with reasonable flow that only requires a small detour. After that, the most reliable springs are between Flower Knob (below trail) and Shining Rock (short walk from Deep Gap/Cold Mountain sign) towards Cold Mountain. The spring near the top of Cold Mountain has a relatively low flow but is still good to go and is the tastiest water on the trail!

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked the northern half of this trail from DBSC down to Black Balsam. Pretty good challenge on the final quarter mile or so into Deep Gap (where we camped for the night). And then a really good climb out of Deep Gap that kicked our butts pretty good. Heard the trail was hard to follow through The Narrows, but we didn't have any problems. Took the spur up to Shining Rock ledge, which is a must. Got dumped on with rain starting around Grassy Cove Top and it didn't stop until we were just beyond the summit of Black Balsam Knob. The trail became a river, but we were lucky this happened at the end of our hike. Awesome experience! First time I've been north of Shining Rock Mountain on the ALT and it was definitely cool. We'll be back to do the southern half eventually.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked it north to south. Started at 5am 8/14 from DBBSC. Made it to Butter Gap Shelter by 7pm. Started with 3.5 liters, refilled right on the trail somewhere south of The Narrows. Used a gravityworks. Some stretches felt like we were bushwhacking along the way. Refill again at deep gap shelter at 3pm. Then finally at Butter Gap Shelter at 7pm which was super convenient. Day two left Butter Gap at 8am with two liters each and ran that out to Ranger Station arriving there by noon. Second day was pretty easy with some long stretches that really helped the pace. Overall, Trail was a blast. Water was way easier than expected. Surprised at the amount of spots to camp along the entire way, so many. Map choice was Nat Geo Ranger District map and seemed to be spot on and easy to follow. Hitch hiked back to truck within 30 minutes which seemed to be the normal thing to do.

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
9 months ago

Hiked Davidson to camp Boone in 2.5 days. Rained, should say down poured, most of the second day. Great views along the 50 grade incline. Balsom was beautiful. Keep in mind the majority of the trail is extremely rocky, especially around the narrows and the decline to camp Boone. Literally feels like rock climbing and makes a downhill dangerous. Entire trail was very muddy due to the rain. Forest areas are lovely. Most of the trail is very overgrown. All of this is why the trail is rated difficult, definitely not for the beginner unless they are in shape and/or motivated. Overall, had a great hike and alot of challenging fun!

hiking
over grown
scramble
9 months ago

Hiked Davidson river to Daniel Boone in 3 days. The first ~14 miles lacked any great views for the difficulty of the trail. Black balsam was super windy and cold when we camped there the second night. Last 11 miles are nice, but the downhill to Daniel Boone was rough on our feet/knees. Map and compass highly recommended.

hiking
10 months ago

The trail is challenging but rewarding. We hiked south starting at Daniel Boone campground up to and down from Cold Mountain. There are few trail marker signs and there are many other trails that intersect the route. For this reason, I strongly recommend studying a good map and bringing it with you as well as a compass. Also, since this is mostly a ridge hike, water is hard to find especially on day two, where we had to hike way down from the ridge to a creek to refill. Great camping and fantastic views. It is rated as “hard” for a reason though so make sure you’re prepared.

hiking
10 months ago

It's a punishing trail at times. As others say, the miles you trek in the Shining Rock Wilderness will be much harder, and on trails that are less maintained, but you'll come out the other side having seen some beautiful forests and beautiful vistas. Highly recommended, but make sure you realize it will be difficult.

hiking
muddy
10 months ago

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