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Colbert Ridge Trail is a 7.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Burnsville, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 7.7 mi Elevation gain 2,965 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Nature trips

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Muddy

Over grown

Description
Waypoints (9)
Tips

You may want to bring walking poles. This trail is well blazed (yellow), very easy to follow, and not overgrown. There are a few amazing overlooks where one can view the Black Mountains. After the last overlook, one enters a spruce- fir forest— one of the only in the SE, it was a remnant of the last ice age. It’s a good workout, especially on the up. The last mile is prone to getting icy on the winter, and is pretty rocky. Difficult and technical on last mile but is something that any hiker can handle. Not dangerous. Just time consuming. See tips for more info.

1. The end of the trail has no view. It is a connector trail that links with the crest trail. It does have two view points close together after mile 2 heading up. 2. The trail is well blazed with yellow diamonds. 3. The trail is well maintained but it is a narrow trail for the most part. If you have someone hiking with you, it will not be wide enough in most places to hike side-by-side. 4. The trail will mostly go uphill but it does give you a few breaks along the way and you need these flat areas. 5. The last half mile is rough. The trail changes to lots of boulders and steps and it begins to ascend more rapidly than before this point. 6. The trailhead is easy to find and the trail starts to the right of the sign. 7. The trail is not heavily travelled. 8. There are several areas that have wet rocks and this makes it very easy to slip especially coming down. Hiking boots would be recommended.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (65)
Photos (70)
Recordings (38)
Completed (109)
Brian Stahl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking
View Brian's Recording
Charlie Thomas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 27, 2020
Hiking

Fairly steep, great workout and could be a little slick in some sections. Couple of scenic sections with little traffic. Get there early before afternoon shower. East to find with good parking.

Heather West
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2020
BackpackingRocky

Backpacked up this trail to connect to the Black Mountain Crest Trail. This trail is rated hard for a reason guys. It was a rough way to begin our seven day adventure. Carrying 46.8 lb backpack we were at a snails pace at the very VERY best. There is no blow down, no dead fall, no loose rocks - you are just climbing and climbing and climbing from the valley floor to the ridgeline. This isn't one of those trails that is rated hard on All Trails and when you do it are like...."I don't know why this is rated hard". You will be left with no doubt. Saw alot of Kyanite on the ground and decent view about half way point of the hike. Saw some fighter jets buzz by a couple of times. Never have experienced blisters but with my heels crammed into the back of my boots I found them. Expect to breathe, alot. Take your time and die a little with every step you take forward but know you will eventually make it, promise. Saw one tiny copperhead sunning but otherwise it was just a hard walk in the woods over rocks and roots. If you are not going to Deep Gap get water on your way up if you plan on staying at the junction of this trail and Black Mountain Crest Trail. Once you get to within 3/4 of a mile of the junction with Black Mountain Crest Trail you should find the last stop for water, walking back down and up again is brutal. Lesson learned. Finally - if you forget everything else in the car - take water and your hiking poles. Happy trails guys.

Alex Keating
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 22, 2020
Running

Runners- you’ll enjoy this a lot more as a power hike or leisurely hike. A majority of the trail is just not runnable. First and last mile are pretty doable, but other than that there’s only a few sporadic tenths where you can open up your stride. You’re covering almost 1000 feet of elevation per mile on the up and down, at the steepest stretches. Couple that with a ton of roots and rocks and for me it fits more in the hiking category. At the top of the Colbert Ridge Trail, it does intersect with the Crest Trail, which I’m curious how runnable that is. Will have to check that out next time. In any case, absolutely amazing forest and terrain. Challenging in a fun way. Definitely earns it’s difficult rating. Total round trip trail distance is closer to 7.5 miles.

View Alex's Recording
Courtney Wolf
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 13, 2020
Hiking

Very nice and well-maintained trail. Did as a day hike with a small daypack; can imagine that with a backpack, it would be a BEAST! (Especially the last mile or so - definitely bring poles if backpacking.) Lots of nice tent sites along the first couple miles, and some nice viewpoints along the way too. Took a right once I got to BMCT to top out on Winter Star. Saw no one on the Colbert trail, but lots of backpackers on BMCT.

Jessica Pulley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 25, 2020
Hiking

Hiked this trail last month, when almost all trails were closed due to Covid. This was the only “semi-difficult” trail I could find open, BMCT is still closed. I think this is a great trail. It’s not too awful coming back down either, except for maybe the last mile at the top. The last mile the scenery completely changes, feels like Mount Mitchell. Never saw another soul. I usually begin my hikes at dawn or 7:30am at the latest

Natalie Webb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 12, 2020
Hiking

Most of the information available about the length of this trail was brutally off. AllTrails, Hike WNC, Hiking Project, and even the information at the trailhead claim that one way on the trail is anywhere from 3.5-3.7 miles. We hiked from the trailhead to the Black Mountain Crest trail and by the accounts of all devices on us (and our shaking legs) that was 5.1 miles. A total of 10.2 miles is quite a bit longer than the expected 7.2-ish miles! That being said, I’m glad we did this hike! It’s a great workout, well marked and maintained, and there are some beautiful, expansive views on the way up. The trail at first is wide and gravel, but we found the farther we hiked the trail narrowed and became more lush. It’s steep and long, but I definitely recommend this trail for anyone who is willing to take on the challenge.

Evan Mcshane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 22, 2020
Hiking

Disclaimer: we took Colbert Ridge Trail to Black Mountain Crest and then took Buncombe Horse Trail back to state road 1158 which got us back to the Colbert trailhead. well kept trails, beautiful and grueling. a couple nice lookouts on the way up, but no payoff views anywhere near the top. total distance well over 13 miles — All Trails was not accurate in terms of distance, but the trail was well marked and we didn’t have issues finding our way. I’d recommend doing this hike once for the challenge, but I don’t think we feel the need to come back anytime soon.

View Evan's Recording
Samuel Pearce
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 28, 2019
Hiking

Only made it half way up since I arrived late. 1500’ elevation gain. Aaaand the trail was killer. Found a site were my recording turns around and lucky I stopped there. Rained all night and all throughout the morning. Will have to come back and complete this monster. Believe all the reviews and be careful if it’s wet because the trail becomes very slippery..

View Samuel's Recording
Chris Willetts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 17, 2019
HikingScramble
View Chris's Recording
Ben Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

Hiked this trail today and was almost the only one on it all day. Ended up adding on a little bit at the end to get to winter star mountain via the black mountain crest trail, since that was the highest point there and the end of the Colbert ridge trail really isn’t anything. It adds maybe a half mile each way with similar conditions and I think another 4-500 feet elev. or so. Most of the entire trail was in the clouds today so I couldn’t see anything until one spot on the way down, but I imagine the views are great on a clear day at winter star. Overall it was a good work out and challenging enough especially with all the rocks on the trail and them being wet today. I saw one person all day probably because of the clouds and it’s Thursday.

View Ben's Recording
Bob Popp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2019
BackpackingRocky

Very difficult hike. Especially the last mile. There is water about 2/10ths of a mile from the top. We did it in 4 hours carrying 30 lb packs

Andrew Muston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 24, 2019
HikingMuddyRocky

so we hiked up the ridge , then headed SW towards Big Tom and Mitchell . this is by far the hardest trail I've done on the East Coast. I did it with full ruck and food , and it was merciless . whenever you get to top of trail, head south for about 10 -15 minutes and there are some great Camp sites and views . I left some herb up there for some lucky group...... cheers !

Chris Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 16, 2019

moderately steep to steep. the best view is about halfway up on a sloping rock. not much of a view at the top but making it to the top is the fun part

Todd Engel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 19, 2018
Hiking

So this is about as difficult as an out back trail gets in the Appalations around Asheville. - IMHO. It’s awesome. And I doubt that I ever hike it again! Previous reviews are spot on in terms of terrain, overlooks, rocks at top etc. Very difficult and technical on last mile but is something that any hiker can handle. Not dangerous. Just time consuming. I made the mistake of wearing a backpack for the exercise. My wife didn’t and I spent the whole way up chasing her and looking at her backside (which is a very nice view by its own right). I highly recommend this trail if you want a great workout. And the two overlooks are fantastic. Also would be a great camping trip as great campsites around 2 miles around base of final 1,700 ascent. The mileage is off. This is 8.15 round trip. 3,000 feet of gain so average gradient is brutal. Lots of sustained double digits. Average pace was 1.9 per. Coming down is brutal on the hips and knees. 5 stars for sure. The IPA and fries at Snap Dragon in Burnsville will be waiting for you. Cheers. Todd from Austin/Burnsville

Cyne Enright
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2018
Running

This trail is well blazed (yellow), very easy to follow, and not overgrown. There are a few amazing overlooks where one can view the Black Mountains. After the last overlook, one enters a spruce- fir forest— one of the only in the SE, it was a remnant of the last ice age. It’s a good workout, especially on the up. The last mile is prone to getting icy on the winter, and is pretty rocky.

Robert Foster
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2018
Hiking

It’s goes up and then up some more! Then up more!

George Androney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2018

Non stop push, and then there is more if you want to keep going on along the crest. Amazing viewpoint about halfway up. A few small campsites before you reach deep gap. Signs up of recent bear activity at deep gap, I didn't see any. Rocks make it pretty technical toward the top of the ridge. Water source around midway was flowing but cant guarantee in dry conditions. Rhododendrons in bloom, moist conditions had the newts and salamanders active. Got hammered by a heavy downpour about 2.5 miles up, trail was still manageable. Don't expect much better time than about 2 miles an hour at best. Past 5500' you can feel the temps drop. This climb will keep your eyes straight down and heart rate up. Not a beginner trail so come ready.

David Randall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 15, 2018
Backpacking

This trail is pretty brutal but it serves its purpose to get you to the crest. It's relentlessly uphill and steep with few breaks. I would not recommend this trail unless you're attempting to get to the crest to either do a loop around and come back down Buncomb Horse Trail or doing a point to point. Doing an out and back of this trail would be pretty boring since there are only 2-3 overlooks that aren't as good as other trails. If you're carrying backpacks, this trail will make you question your life choices and make you wish you splurged for lighter gear.

Ron Hensley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 23, 2017
Hiking

This trail for me is hard . It has good views, I hiked up Colbert’s creek to deep gap on the crest then off the cattail creek side . Great hike .

Scott Crist
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 17, 2017

This trail is very rugged. Taking Black Mountain Crest Trail up to Deep Gap and down Colbert’s Ridge will take approximately 9 hours. Expect to walk 1 mile per hour.

Shane Silvey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 14, 2017
Hiking

Here are a few things you need to know about this trail: 1. The end of the trail has no view. It is a connnector trail that links with the crest trail. It does have two view points close together after mile 2 heading up. This is the reason I didn't give it a higher rating. 2. The trail is well blazed with yellow diamonds. 3. The trail is well maintained but it is a narrow trail for the most part. If you have someone hiking with you, it will not be wide enough in most places to hike side-by-side. 4. The trail will mostly go uphill but it does give you a few breaks along the way and you need these flat areas. 5. The last half mile is rough. The trail changes to lots of boulders and steps and it begins to ascend more rapidly than before this point. 6. The trailhead is easy to find and the trail starts to the right of the sign. 7. The trail is not heavily travelled. I saw one person the whole time. 8. There are several areas that have wet rocks and this makes it very easy to slip especially coming down. Hiking boots would be recommended. My Merrells did their jobs and caught a few slips coming down. Overall, it is a good trail for a good workout.

paul macgregor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 5, 2017
Hiking

Jerry, My lime green shirt is greener than yours :)

Jerry Ellsworth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 22, 2016
Hiking

Did this as an out and back to Winter Star in late October. Enjoyable trail, well maintained, with a very nice set of overlooks about 2 miles in before the trail gets tougher. The piled loose leaves did make it a little slick, and the last 1/2 mile of CRT is a little dicey, but not bad if you take your time. Much colder than I expected today, with light snow at the top and major winds the whole way.

Brian Blake
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 17, 2016
Backpacking

I gave this 4 stars because there isn't much to look at on the way up. Used it to get to the Black Mountain Crest and this joker was tough with a loaded pack. Constant drive upwards. I was so glad when we got to Deep Gap. If I do it again, I will plan for a shorter trip or learn the ways of an ultralighter.

Zack Mcmahan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 30, 2015

Great I would definitely do it again

Lenny Chew
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2014
Hiking

5 stars for physical challenge. I took this trail down from Deep Gap as part of an overnight loop using Buncome, Big Tom, BMCT, and Colbert Ridge. At this time, the trail was well maintained, trees cleared, and very well blazed, perhaps even over blazed. Rain and mist made the rocks a little treacherous but I got down with just a bruise or two.... Saw a sign that this trail maintained by NC HighPeak. (August 1, 2014) Trail sign at Deep Gap says "Most Difficult" Trail sign at other end on SR1158 says "More Difficult" That might be accurate for the first couple miles starting from SR 1158 but this trail is a bruiser from either direction if taken end to end.

Jose Victoria
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 19, 2014
Hiking

I took this trail to go up to the Black Mountain Crest Trail. Views-wise it doesn't offer much views but the challenge is great. After 2.5 miles into the trail the trail is took a turn for the worse. It was steep and did not offered much of a break. Grueling 1.5 miles but for the hikers that appreciate a challenge it's awesome! But the trip is worth it. The day was cloudy so it took away from great pictures but still the views were spectacular. I recommended for anybody that's up for a challenge.

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