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.

backpacking
8 days 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
15 days 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
17 days 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
20 days 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
28 days 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 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
2 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
2 months ago

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
blowdown
over grown
2 months ago

camp Daniel Boone to the balds is challenging but rewarding. if your not hung up on completing the trail I would recommend starting at camp Daniel Boone, summit cold mountain, make your way towards the balds and spend the night at flower gap. The next day do an out and back to the balds spending a 2nd night at the intersection of little east fork and Art Loeb (plenty of water here). day 3 make your way back to camp Daniel Boone. if you get an early start you will be at your car by lunch! We only seen one water source on the way up to cold mountain and did not see water again until the intersection of the Art Loeb and little east fork. Davidson's River CG to the balds was decent but nothing challenging or spectacular in my opinion.

hiking
2 months ago

Just completed the Art Loeb trail from Camp Daniel Boone to the Davidson River Campground. I found this trail to be very challenging. I have hiked on several other trails and would compare the first few miles to Georgia and the start of the AT. I felt I could have been better prepared in terms of fitness and I certainly did not give this trail the respect it deserves. It is hard on the feet with the many long down slopes as well. It could be better marked and had several sections with no markings at all. Strongly suggest the map and some sort of GPS to keep track of distance but if you are a seasoned hiker it should not be too hard to keep on the trail. There are several portions that could use a sign and more markings for location would be nice. The long sections with lots of rock demand caution especially if it is or has been raining. we had rain on 2 days and many sections were quite slippery. The views on the balds are great and camp sites are plentiful throughout the trail. it was extremely hot and humid and water is important. there are a few sections that are drier than others and we had trouble location some listed water sources that are listed on the map. We did take a bear canister as required and believe that we heard a bear once but no sighting and no issues with wildlife. This was a great trail and a strenuous one. We had planned on doing Cold Mountain but after starting up the side trial about 2/10ths of a mile decided to by pass it. I agree that this is not a trail for the beginner. This trail also lends itself to many day hikes, overnighters or an out and back. especially toward the southern end or by Black Balsam. We did not use the shelters as we did not camp by them. This time of year there are many campers using the trail and shelters. The shelters are in need of some love and renovation but they are available. I prefer to sleep in my tent but if it was raining I might use one. The area was so humid that everything is wet and damp. Bugs were not a problem and overall is was a great and rewarding hike but don't think I would do the entire trail again. I could see doing several sections again.

hiking
4 months ago

Top notch trail. Easy to follow. And in good condition. Great views from Black Balsam to Shining Rock. I ran from Daniel Boone scout camp to Black Balsam Knob in 4:45. Not a bad trail at all. We had stashed a car up top, with a grill and enjoyed some burgers and camped out in the pine forest next to the road; it was superb. We backpacked the remainder of the trail staying at butter gap the second night. Lots of ups and downs. I would rate this hime as difficult for the average hiker/runner, but average for the experienced person. Do your homework, learn where the water is and you will have no problems. We had an awesome weekend.

backpacking
4 months ago

The ranger suggested this for our very first backpacking trip. Mistake. After seeing young people suffering from dehydration and after suffering groin pull injury I would have to say this is not the place to start backpacking . It was beautiful but very strenuous. We did just over 7 miles with 30 pound packs and ended up camping there since we could not proceed. But for the avid backpacker and expert I am sure it's a trail with challenges. After telling the ranger it was our first time out and we are heavy guys I am shocked she suggested this route.

hiking
4 months ago

I’ve thru hiked the Art Loeb twice now and it was difficult both times. Definitely do this North to South, starting at Camp Daniel Boone and finishing at Davidson River Campground. Trails & Ales offered a great shuttle service so we could leave our car at Davidson River and get shuttled to the Scout Camp end to start the hike back to our car. IMPORTANT: There is a requirement for using a Bear Canister when camping in the Shining Rock Wilderness, so be prepared, as the fines can be steep. These can apparently be rented from REI in Asheville, which beats paying $75 for one at the Ranger Station. Note: Water is not available between the Cold Mtn and the trail intersections in Shining Rock.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this as an overniter, trail is ok. You basically walk up and down ridgelines for 30 miles to see 2 miles of good views and the rest is just woods. Water sources were plentiful, the shelters were there and I never have to do this trail again.

hiking
4 months ago

What a trip. Back and forth from davidson river. 3 days. Im dead tired but grinning from ear to ear. Thanks to trail angels nancy and shawn for water at black balsam!! You can do it too!!!

hiking
4 months ago

This is a very good trail to hike as it offers lots of beautiful views. However it is challenging and has a high chance of snow up until April. Highly recommend doing it!

5 months ago

Hard from start to finish. great views .

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail! Completed March 2018 and again March 2019. Easy three day, speedy two day. A filter a must, and a good sleeping bag for potentially chilly nights.

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