Laurel River Trail is a 7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Marshall, North Carolina that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.0 miles Elevation Gain: 767 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

paddle sports

walking

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

Nice hike along a very scenic whitewater rive, ruins and swimming This is a very nice hike along the Big Laurel River. You start the trail by heading south and will shortly come to a private residence that is posted "Private" Continue walking on the trail until you resume your hike in the forest. The trail is flat and for the most part, tree covered. You will notice numerous trees in the process of being "felled" by area Beavers. There are quite a few rapids and trout pools along most of the route. There are also some excellent camping spots and swimming holes along the way. About 3/4 of the way in there are some foundational ruins from the old town of Runion. After the ruins stay on the trail until you intersect the rail road tracks and hike back out.

nature trips
flooded
private property
5 days ago

The Trail was one of my favorite places to getaway and reconnect with nature. Now the trail has become an interstate of human traffic. I also caution passing through the privately owned cabin near the trail head. I brought my children with me a few days ago and the owner of the cabin who was up from Florida had the trail blocked with his cars and he was yelling at me and my children to get off “his trail”. I hate to say it but I believe that the locals are being pushed out by all the tourists. I counted 34 cars last Saturday parked at the trail head. The trail itself is an amazing hike with lots of interesting wildlife and old remnants of a town long ago destroyed to investigate. The other down point is that there is no privacy or places where I can relax with my dog and not hear a hiker or dog passing by you by every few minutes.

hiking
private property
rocky
9 days ago

1 month ago

Currently closed for COVID 19 pandemic as of 4/25

hiking
2 months ago

nice, mostly flat.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
washed out
3 months ago

Lovely hike yesterday with two dogs (mine, who hikes most weekends, and my friend's 18mo silver lab who's only been out a couple times with me (I actually bought her a harnes a couple months ago so she could!). I usually pick easier trails when I know I'll be juggling two leashes, but after the recent rain this was a bit more challenging than I expected! The river is definitely still raging, trail fairly muddy/wet (and icy in shadier spots), places somewhat washed out and giant piles of debris (sticks, whole trees, railroad ties, trash) covering the trail in a few spots where floodwaters seem to have dropped them. But we made it out unscathed after enjoying a lovely, chilly few hours!

hiking
4 months ago

Pretty river trail. Great winter hike and I’m sure great in the warmer weather

4 months ago

Pretty trek along the Laurel River. The out and back trail is flat the entire way. some building ruins followed by a good picnic spot where the confluence is. Rocky river scenery and kayakers along the way.

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

One of my favorite trails growing up. It’s a hot spot for finding snakes, mostly non-venomous but there’s usually a timber rattler around in the early summer. It gets pretty crowded now that it’s advertised but it’s still worth it. Tourists tend to crowd the trail during the nice months because it’s an easy trail. Also a good mountain bike trail but keep in mind no one keeps their dog on a leash (ugh.) The end of the trail reaches the ruins of Runion, an old mining and logging town. Also, stay off the effing tracks.

hiking
7 months ago

Easy trail overall, with some rocky but mostly flat terrain. It’s a rare find to be able to hike 3.5 miles of a river in WNC. Wish the trail was cared for a bit better. Overall, a good hike, and saw a nice variety of birds along with 3 larger (3ft) black snakes. Not sure what they were but not venomous as our dog had a run in with two tag teaming him. He initiated, not them. Another note, once you get to the swimming hole, the one with graffiti on the rocks, that’s a good time to turn back. The next .5-.75 is not so nice .

hiking
7 months ago

This hike features views of a beautiful river from a relatively flat trail, which is hard to find in the mountains. The farther you go, the more you find rocks and roots and a few blow downs on and across the trail. Also, the trail gets smaller and more overgrown towards the end as you approach the ruins and intersection with the French Broad River. We spotted a lot of wildlife when we went on a Saturday morning. We saw three snakes within two feet of the trail plus another one going into the water, the biggest spider I have ever seen (seriously, the size of a coffee cup), two deer and a box turtle. It was like Jurassic Park! I may have been looking at the flora and fauna and checking out the water along the way, but my map recording said this was more than 8.5 miles round trip.

hiking
8 months ago

Fantastic and easy hike. Hiking the whole trail out-and-back is 7 miles and there's some neat stuff the further you go. Pretty great for fishing as well. You can get more info here: https://www.madisoncountyoutdoors.com/hiking_1/laurel-river-trail

hiking
8 months ago

Dog friendly trail. Flat, easy to maneuver, with lots of access to water.

hiking
over grown
8 months ago

very beautiful hike along the river. the only downside is that it’s a bit overgrown towards the end but the first 2.5 miles or so are good

hiking
9 months ago

beautiful river trail

walking
muddy
rocky
9 months ago

Hiked this last year. There were quite a lot of people there late morning on a weekday. You do walk along a gravel driveway for a bit until you get back to the main trail as there are a few private properties back there. Mostly flat, easy hike. Lots of nice spots to swim. Saw a ton of snakes but none venomous from what I could tell. One reared up at one of our dogs as we passed it on the trail, but no harm done.

hiking
9 months ago

Very beautiful, super easy hike.

hiking
10 months ago

I am a frequent hiker on this trail during the warm months and have always enjoyed it. Unfortunately in the last month or so it has been totally trashed and just an all around nasty feeling. Always busy in the summer with @out of towners” and their kids. A lot of people choose to let their dog off leash.

hiking
10 months ago

Really enjoyed the first half of the hike. The last mile or so isn’t worth it in my opinion; it’s very overgrown and you can’t see the river. I actually prefer this hike in the early spring, before the leaves come in. That way, you get all the pretty views of the river!

hiking
blowdown
10 months ago

Great trail with the first mile and a half or so wide flat gravel suitable for everyone. Once the gravel ended the trail was still fairly level and quite passable. Turned around at about the 2 1/2 mile mark. Had some low hanging blowdown on the trail but nothing major. Great hike. Will push to end next time. Went on a Sat morning around 8am and crowds were very light.

hiking
10 months ago

Very nice trail. We went all the way to the end. The foundations from the town of Runion were cool to see. The trail gets a little overgrown towards the end. Not much room for others to pass. Train tracks at the end were cool too!

hiking
11 months ago

We hiked early on a Sunday morning, a bit muddy from the rain the day prior but very beautiful views of the river. We hiked only about a mile and a half down because we have a 5 and 3 year old - they loved it and we were able to find several places to take off their shoes and let them get their feet wet. It was very secluded, didn’t run into anyone else on the trail. Would definitely recommend this to others.

11 months ago

small trail, very crowded on weekends in June, so it was difficult to find a spot to ourselves. our dogs enjoyed it and it was an incredibly easy trail (we took our old English bulldog and he was fine), but I'd recommend another place,or go during the week, if you want some peace and quiet

hiking
Mon May 27 2019

What a fantastic place that is truly “fun for everyone.” It can be hard to find hikes in this area easy enough to bring the family, from very young to not-so-mobile. The very easy gravel trail/gravel driveway is on private lands for the first mile allowing auto access for the owners, but public is allow to walk the path which stays directly along the water. Lots of people bring their lawn chairs and coolers to hang out in the water on a hot summer day. Plenty of areas to wade, fish, swim... you can walk about 7 miles before it dumps into the French broad river. Walk further down or go during the week to get away from the crowds. Oh, and watch out for naked hippies...I’ve seen all sorts of wildlife on my hikes but never ran into naturists before... somewhere around mile 2 it got a little weird!

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