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Butter Gap to Cat Gap Trail is a 9.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Brevard, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 9.5 mi Elevation gain 1,817 ft Route type Loop

Dog friendly

Hiking

Mountain biking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Waypoints (10)
  • 1

    Waterfall

    35.27195, -82.80875

  • 2

    Waterfall

    35.27195, -82.80875

  • 3

    The “Shortcut” not to take

    35.25922, -82.79629

  • 4

    The “Shortcut” not to take

    35.25922, -82.79629

  • 5

    Art Loeb

    35.25366, -82.81178

  • 6

    Art Loeb

    35.25366, -82.81178

  • 7

    Cat Gap Loop

    Trail marker 2

    35.26508, -82.78915

  • 8

    Cat Gap Loop

    Trail marker 2

    35.26508, -82.78915

  • 9

    Butter Gap Trail

    35.27730, -82.80050

  • 10

    Butter Gap Trail

    35.27730, -82.80050

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (97)
Photos (621)
Recordings (96)
Completed (167)
Madeline Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Backpacking

A strenuous, but very scenic and satisfying loop! We did the loop clockwise, rather than counterclockwise, as a 2 day backpacking trip. We detoured up John Rock to avoid the steep section of Cat Gap - was still quite a climb and descent though. Doing the loop clockwise allows you to knock out all the hard sections early. We camped at the Butter Gap shelter. Several large campsites, a water source (spring), and even bear cables! There are plenty of other small campsites before and after the shelter if you want a more secluded spot. The remaining loop after Butter Gap shelter is a relatively easy 4 miles back to the Fish Hatchery with beautifully diverse scenery and plentiful water sources. Great loop, but would rate it closer to difficult than moderate. There are several confusing intersections with 4 or 5 different trail junctions so pay close attention to blazes and signs. Cat Gap is an orange blaze, Art Loeb is white, and Butter Gap is blue.

Stanley Mason
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingMuddyOver grownScrambleWashed out

We hiked this trail backwards, lots of beautiful views, the first 5 miles is a uphill to the shelter, from there on it’s a breeze! Lots of overgrown trails lots of mud and sketchy bridges! Look out for mountain bikers when you get to butter gap!

Emilee D.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
HikingMuddy

Great hike. Did not complete entire. Did an out and back to Grogan Creek Falls. A bit muddy but otherwise enjoyable relatively easy hike.

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Sherry Burton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

The previous recording stating this is 8 miles is wrong. This is a 10 mile loop trail, starting at Cat Gap Loop, to Butter Gap, to Art Loeb and back to the opposite side of Cat Gap Loop. It’s a 1700’ elevation change passing lots of great campsites and skirting Cedar Rock Mountain. It’s a moderate to difficult in some places. A few muddy spots along the way. Lots of “dark” places going through dense tunnels of rhododendrons and mountain laurel. Lots of trails join this one, so it’s important to check the map frequently to stay on the right ones.

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Amanda Litts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 24, 2020
Hiking

My battery was low so i didn't look at map very often and somehow I forgot about the butter gap part so i just did cat gap loop. It was enough for today according to my borrowed dog. Since i was pressed for time and thinking i was doing the 8 mile loop I didn't go to John Rock. It was a nice enough trail. Pretty easy going but too many people for me. I did like the incline going up tho so may just note this as an exercise trail.

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Carrie Mann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 28, 2020
Hiking

Lots of climbing in the first half—not much in the way of views, but a very pretty forest walk. A couple of small but nice waterfalls in the last bit. I added John Rock at the beginning as well.

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Brendan Dohaney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 29, 2020
HikingIcyMuddy
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Kristen Bauer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 1, 2020
HikingMuddyOver grownRockySnowWashed out

This was a super tough hike. We ended up adding Art Loeb and Long Branch to it which made it 10.5 miles long with 2, 042 feet of elevation gain. It took around 4 hours and 20 minutes. It was pretty difficult mainly because it had poured and snowed the days before so there was ice, snow, mud all over the place. The trickiness only came in trying to stay upright or keep your feet out of the water and mud. It was totally worth it but man was it tough.

Karen L.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 27, 2019
HikingMuddy
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Sarah Parmelee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 9, 2019
HikingMuddyRockyScramble
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Jennifer Branch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 2, 2019
HikingMuddyRockyWashed out
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Mariah Schweiger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 18, 2019
Hiking

Amazing day with my girlfriends

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AD Barnes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2019
Hiking

I did this a couple days ago. I went counter clockwise from the fishery's parking lot. Going this direction the Butter Gap trail intersects with the Art Loeb trail. On the map, at that intersection, it shows another (unnamed) trail going on about a 70 degrees bearing which runs west and north of the Cedar Rock Mountain. On the map this trail (short cut) then rejoins the Art Loeb trail to the north of Cedar Rock Mt. I do not recommend you try this "trail". It disappears and you get stuck on the west side of Cedar Rock. It was quite a hassle getting back to Art Loeb. I had lost the trail and eventually decided to use my compass and just head south. This got me back to the Art Loeb and I was able to finish the hike. I'm really glad I bought a compass a few weeks ago! I DON'T recommend this "short cut".

Melinda Champion
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2019
Hiking

Hiked July 14, 2019. Hot and extremely humid. not a lot blooming. This trail is the distance it claims. we made a wrong turn so we hiked 9.12 miles in 6.5 hours. entered at hatchery side. Recent rains made waterfalls spectacular. Trails were washed out- good hiking boots a must. the first part of trail up to Art Loeb has pretty streams and a couple waterfalls. after that not much scenery except for laurel arches and so pine forest are nice. There is old growth trees scattered. Wanted to add John Rock but I slipped on rocks near 1/2 way point and hurt hip and knee so our goal turned to just getting out :( we ran into probably 25 people during entire hike. we like to start as close to daybreak as possible to be heat and crowds.

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Dave Kiser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2018
Hiking

Great hike! Took me 3.5 hours to do the Loop and clocked more than 9.4 miles total; certainly more than what’s advertised on the site. Waterfalls, thick rhododendron forests, but very muddy and slick in some places. Going up Art Loeb was great and passing by the campsites was fun near dark.

Melissa West
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 14, 2018
Backpacking

My son (age 4.5), husband, and I did this trail with one modification in June. It was a great backpacking loop for us. The first day we hiked in about 1.5 miles and started to look for a campsite, which we found 0.6 miles off the loop at the intersection of cat gap bypass and cat gat loop. Not liking to back track, we hiked around cat gat loop to get back to the planned route, which we then finished as defined here. The waterfall on this trail was pretty spectacular-- when you are right up close to it to view, it is REALLY LOUD. The trail is pretty, lush, and varied, lovely for a warm weekend with a child in tow. There are no scenic views on this trail. All in all, a trip worth doing but probably not one to do multiple times unless you live close by. On the second day we hiked from 8 am to 3 pm with plenty of breaks for water play as necessary by a 4.5 year old-- his longest day yet at 7.3 miles, but that just goes to show how easy the trail is. Trail Rating: * Miserable ** Boring ***Good Hike ****Fantastic Hike ***** National Park Worthy Hike

Charlie Mayes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 8, 2018

Nice trail but needs more blazes.

Joe Popa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 18, 2017
Hiking

By far one of the coolest hikes. This hike offered a TON of spots to free climb along the rock face and climb your own route. If you’re used to doing John’s Rock, add this and you’ll love it. Some great rock rock faces scrambling!

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