Colbert Ridge to Big Tom Spur to Buncombe Horse Trail Loop

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Pisgah National Forest

Colbert Ridge to Big Tom Spur to Buncombe Horse Trail Loop is a 14.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Burnsville, North Carolina that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is best used from April until November.

Length14.5 miElevation gain4268 ftRoute typeLoop
CampingHikingForestViews
Waypoints (4)
1
Water small creek
35.81365, -82.24809
2
Intersection Black Mtn Crest
35.81241, -82.252
3
Turn for Big Tom Spur
35.78546, -82.2583
4
Buncombe horse trail intersection and water
35.78206, -82.25454
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (20)
Photos (350)
Recordings (19)
Completed (27)
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Josh Billings
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BackpackingMuddyOver grownScramble

Extremely difficult trail. A few decent views, but not something I would do again... Colbert ridge was in in good condition and well marked, but at some points it was so steep it felt like more of a climb than a hike. Good source of water near the end of the trail. Black Mountain Crest wasn't as steep overall but there were some difficult portions. This was my favorite part of the trail. It was very peaceful and quiet at that altitude, but it got a lot colder than I expected at night. There was a sign right after the intersection of Colbert and BMC that no camping was allowed for the next 6 miles, but I knew I'd have to break that rule because I was exhausted from the climb up. I camped around Cattail at a nice site and was glad I did, because I didn't see any other sites the next day. As others mentioned, it's way too wet to start a fire. Cattail to big Tom spur has some tough Rocky sections, but it was NOTHING compared to big Tom spur itself. Insanely steep and either all rocks or overgrown/mud. Bent my trekking pole and fell flat on my back at least 5 times. Very small water source at the end of the spur. Between the end of the spur to the sharp right turn and the sign for Buncombe Horse Trail was some of the most overgrown and muddy terrain I've hiked through. You'd barely know there's a trail if you weren't looking for it. My dog and j were soaked with dew but surprisingly no ticks. After the sharp right turn, the rest of the horse trail is pretty pleasant. Steadily downhill but nothing as bad as what came before. I didn't see anyone until I made it back to the road. Decent number of water sources after you reach the halfway point.

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Elliot Eason
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HikingOver grownWashed out
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Ronnie Hayward
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HikingMuddyOver grownRocky

Hardest trail I’ve ever done. Probably will never do it again lol

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JH P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2020
Hiking

Gnarly solo overnighter. I started at Colbert Ridge Trail Head at 1:30pm on Friday, 6-26-20, and got back at 12pm Saturday. Used the all trails app throughout the loop and it was extremely helpful and accurate for navigation. Hiking up Colbert Ridge was some kinda slog...if camping on the ridge, make sure you re-up your water at the stream near the top because the next water isn’t until the bottom of Big Tom Spur. Once on the BMC ridge, there are several good campsites at Deep Gap. I decided to press on, went up and over Potato Hill, and didn’t find another campsite until Cat Tail Peak at 6600 feet elevation. Camping up there was like camping on the planet Endor. I tried like hell but couldn’t get a fire going because everything is sogging wet and covered with a fine, green layer of damp moss. So bring some fire starters in your kit. I didn’t see another campsite between Cat Tail and Big Tom Spur so plan accordingly. Once you get to the stream at Buncombe Horse trail, it’s a pretty mellow and extremely beautiful descent. In all, the loop took me about 9 hours of hiking. It was challenging and really fun. Would highly recommend.

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Rebecca Lem
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Hiking
First to Review

Nice loop. Lots of elevation gain.

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AllTrails SBKillion
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Backpacking
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Chris Angelino
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Hiking
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James Beaumier
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Hiking
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Rebecca Lem
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Mountain biking
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Kyle Hefner
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Hiking
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Rebecca Lem
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Hiking
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Rebecca Lem
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Hiking
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Ray Etelamaki
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Hiking
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Rebecca Lem
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Hiking
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Stuart Garner
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Zack Str
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Hiking
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Sam Harriger
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Backpacking
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Christian Stetts
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Hiking
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Theresa Garza
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Hiking
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Theresa Garza
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Hiking
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