Cataloochee Divide Trail

HARD 33 reviews

Cataloochee Divide Trail is a 13.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Waynesville, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

13.8 miles
2,791 feet
Out & Back



horseback riding

nature trips

trail running




wild flowers

no dogs

Four season trail offers something year round This trail offers something year round, spring wild flowers, summer high elevation for cooler temps, fall foliage and winter views with usually a little snow on the ground. The trail follows the park boundary and begins with a quick accent of ridge hiking. At 1.5 miles look to the right at an opening for views of the Cataloochee Valley. At 4.6 miles is the McKee Branch Trail continues on the CDT. At 5 miles you approach "The Swag" an open area with great views and then a little further is the private resort with the same name. At 6.4 miles the trail ends and intersects with the Hemphill Bald Trail. Now begin the HBT to the bald. You have been climbing for a while but hang in there with a little more than a half mile to go is your reward of a hard hike. The bald provides lunch with a view. If and when you want to head back just return the same way you hiked in. I've included pix from two different winter hikes and will post spring shots later in '08

1 month ago

In April of 2018, did most of this trail. Nice hike while camping in the area. Took a short recommended detour to the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center just off the trail then returned to the trailhead due to other time commitments.

9 months ago

great trail. not that hard of a trail. actually runnable. runs along Ridgeline of mountain. one of my favorites

10 months ago

Not a hard trail. Hike along a ridge line. Not a lot of views but lots of birds and other small animals. I did see a bear just at the beginning of the trail. Complaint was that the bear was scared out of it wits by hunting dogs along the boundary line. Too bad that this occurs along this trail. Had to listen to the dog barking.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A beautiful ridge line trail! It is a moderate trail, not a hard trail as this app has it rated (its hiking on the ridge line, how hard could it be?). Only one amazing view into Cataloochee, but lots of wonderful views into Jonathan Valley on the left side of the trail. The trail goes behind The Swag (a high end mountain resort) and there are breathtaking views of Jonathan Valley from there. We hiked 11.9 miles following The Cataloochee Divide Trail and then joining the Hemphill Bald Trail. We left a car at the end and drove back to the beginning. It took us 6 hours exactly. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone who is in at least average shape. Lots of wild flowers once you get on the Hemphill Bald section of the trail.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Great hike thru the forest with the family. Only made it 3.5 in but had fun. A few chipmunks, caught a glimpse of some deer and lots of signs of bears (skat and hair on the fence). Would do it again but after the leaves fall to really enjoy the view.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Good Trail... view from Hempill is worth the hike especially if you are familiar with the area or have ever skied Cataloochi!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

A pleasant out and back hike from the road with a chance to add McKee Branch Trail for a long great day.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Quiet. Beautiful woods. Wear waterproof shoes, several bridges are down.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Great ridge line hike. From the road into Cataloochee you can walk as short or far as you like. Defiantly a medium level, not difficult hike. Last October we were rewarded with a family of bear 3, all on the same tree.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Had a 8 mile hike with only a couple of mountain scenery views. Saw a total of 9 hikers during our hike. Would agree it is an easy to moderate trail. Had a blast with my loving girlfriend. No snakes or animals seen during our adventure.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I did this trail to the Ferguson Cabin loop and back on 4/11. This was about 10.5 miles. The weather was cool and spring had not quite sprung up there yet. Bare trees and only a few wildflowers. Still very pleasant, classic Smokies.
I would rate this trail as easy-to-moderate for the experienced hiker. I think the AllTrails ratings are made for the average "nature walker" who isn't in any sort of shape.
Keep in mind this is a ridge walk and there is NO WATER available until you get to the Ferguson Cabin loop and the McKee branch trail, so plan accordingly.

Monday, April 04, 2016

We hiked this at the end of March 2016. We had intended to hike the Boogerman or a lower-elevation trail with more greenery, but they were washed out. This was a backup trail that we avoided because it sounded more difficult, and I only got out of the hospital a month earlier and now am no longer used to higher elevations after moving to Houston. HOWEVER!

It turned out to be a great, doable hike. People are calling it difficult, but aside from the elevation, there are about as many uphill sections as downhill, which made it quite bearable. We didn't have to deal with water crossings or rocky terrain; the trail was soft with dirt and old leaves. The trees weren't even showing any buds yet, so the views of the mountain range were available on all sides through the empty branches. We went about 2.5 miles out and back from the trailhead (we were concerned about getting down to our campsite in time to setup before nightfall). While out, we heard elk calls but didn't see any on this trail, and we managed to come around the corner on three wild turkeys, who promptly dashed away. I wish we hadn't been talking so loudly when we came upon them, so we could've gotten a better look at them (from a safe distance). There appeared to be mosquitos who swarmed if we stood still too long, but they never bit. Couldn't tell if that was a matter of our very light bug spray application or if they just weren't aggressive.

Anyway, I'd recommend this one to anyone this time of year. I had been hoping for better photographic opportunities, but we still had those big views of the mountain range, and that's pretty hard to argue with.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Moderate to strenuous trail with overgrowth of weeds and trees in some areas. Beautiful hike through forest with hills and valleys. As with all mountain hikes, come prepared with insect spray, water and insect bite antiseptic.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

this trail was a lot of fun on a fall day with all the trees' colors etc. Watch the weather radar beforehand, the views are awesome until a big cloud cover rolls in haha

Sunday, July 31, 2011

This is a great trail but does have a lot of intersecting trails that are not very well marked. Beware of bears and rattlesnakes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Great place to get some at the ranch

1 month ago

1 month ago

2 months ago

3 months ago

9 months ago

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Load More