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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.

Length 7.0 mi Elevation gain 767 ft Route type Out & Back
Dog friendly Kid friendly Hiking Nature trips Paddle sports Walking Bird watching Running Forest River Views Wild flowers
Description
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Getting There

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.

Appalachian/French Broad Ranger District. 828-622-3202

The trail Head for the Laurel River Trail is at the intersection of Hwy 25/70 and Hwy 208. There is a gravel parking area about 100 yards south of the intersection and a brown Forest Service sign denoting the trail.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (281)
Photos (252)
Recordings (196)
Completed (488)
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Debra Heeter
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Hiking
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Kevin Craythorne
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Hiking
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krisztina Fazio
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Hiking
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Kenneth Johnson
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HikingBlowdown
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Laura RM
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 2, 2020
HikingRocky

Rocky, rooty, muddy, and overgrown various spots. But, it was a beautiful trail along the river. Flat. Ruins were overgrown, so couldn’t see much. Enjoyed the trail overall.

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Joseph Welsh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 22, 2020
HikingGreat!Over grownPrivate propertyRocky

Great for a hot day so you can swim, a delight rarely enjoyed on other hikes in east TN/WNC. Pretty generic river trail with only ~200 feet elevation gain, not the 700+ listed on the page. Astonishingly crowded on weekends though. Overgrown past the premier views through the steepest bit of the gorge about 2.5 miles down

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Rebecca Short
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 21, 2020
HikingGreat!Over grownRocky

The Laurel River trail is one of my favorite trails in the area! It's a roughly 7 mile out and back trail (3.5 miles in/3.5 miles out)that follows along, from what I've read, an old rail bed along the Laurel River that takes you to the old abandoned logging town of Runnion. The trail itself is flat, but is quite rocky and rooty in lots of places with a couple of areas where you have to calculate your steps through wash-outs or downed trees. The views of the Laurel River along the trail are absolutely stunning with lots of places where you can access the river to swim or picnic if you wish. We just were on the trail this past weekend on August 21, 2020. When we parked at the trailhead, there was only one other vehicle there. We ended up passing by one person at about 3 miles in on the trail, but that was the only person we saw. The trail had several downed trees along the way that hadn't been cut out/removed yet and once you got closer to the abandoned logging town area, the weeds and growth were at least 4feet tall in most places. The marker I use to indicate that we are in the area where the remnants of the old logging town are is a tree that leans out over onto the trail that has a fork in it. Once you see that tree, you can look to your left and see the remnants of a wall and foundation up on the hill. Follow the trail along and you'll see other remnants as well. The trail splits off- if you stay to the right, it will take you past more ruins and follow along the river. Once you get past all the overgrowth, and look to your left, you will see where it looks like a road once was, as well as hand placed rock walls, pieces of clay brick, old clay culvert pipes and whats left of old metal buckets laying around. If you look down at the gravel on the trail, you can find old cinders from where the track once was. Keep following the trail and it will put you at the railroad tracks. **THESE TRACKS ARE LIVE SO BE CAUTIOUS CROSSING** Cross over the railroad tracks to the French Broad river and there is a nice spot to picnic, hang a hammock and go swimming if you wish to. I was excited to show my husband the remnants of the old logging town, but our recent trip was a bit underwhelming in that regard. I believe that there hasn't been a whole lot of traffic through there lately which has caused everything to grow up as it has. Aside from that, this trail is worth taking!!

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Albert Koch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2020
Hiking

This was a fantastic hike. The return hike was even more enjoyable as you see the cascading river even better.

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Barry Shoor
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Hiking

Awesome next time bring swimming suits

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Debbie Jelks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail. Dogs loved it!

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Maegan White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 3, 2020
Hiking

Did not do but an two miles as I was strolling after a more strenuous hike. Highly recommend lounging on a river rock and resting.

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Manny Oropesa
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Walking

Peaceful and easy trail. Good workout because of the length. Went with 4 kids and my GSD... everyone had a blast and a nice nap on the way back home.

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Christopher Arehart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 22, 2020
HikingPrivate propertyRocky

This is an excellent trail. You start off on private property with access granted - just respect the owners and stay off the river in those areas. Basically flat with some sections with enough ankle turning rocks that you need to keep an eye on your feet. We left early and arrived at the trailhead at 830 before it got hot, and were rewarded for the effort. No other hikers were in sight for virtually the entire time out to the end. At the end (not 3/4 of the way as the description reads) you hit the ghost “town”’of Runion. An old logging town, there is virtually nothing left but the cement bank vault. Near the water’s edge there are some fire rings built by hikers using old bricks from the town which is now gone more than 100 years. You spend virtually the entire hike in shade which is excellent, especially given the heat kicks up around here early. My 9 year old did it no problem - mileage is accurate. 7 miles total.

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Andre Beaudry
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HikingRocky

Nice busy trail that follows the river. Good for families. You go down very gently and come back up. Very easy trail for all

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Tony Grimes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
Private propertyRocky

Light descent from parking past Riverbend Cottages. Private property until second driveway on left. Trail becomes narrow and rocky with walls of moss covered rock on left and Laurel River on right. Many accesses to river. Trail continues in this manner; rocky, rooty, narrow. Found rusty railroad spike at 3.5 miles. Will see ruins of Runion on left. Continue straight to active railroad tracks. Took a break at bottom of trestle, sliding down gravel. Found railroad detritus; spikes, bolts, rail plates, rails. Follow tracks east for .3 mile, cut left on visible trail to complete loop through Runion, once a thriving metropolis.

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Tony Grimes
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HikingPrivate propertyRocky
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Kirstin Voelkel
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Despite being one of my favorite river spots I often get frustrated because I didn't wear better shoes or the crowds of people at every stop. Beautiful high rock cliffs and creek boulders, as you get further down towards the junction of the French Broad, the sides of the creek become gorgeous, white, water carved walls of stone, with deep pools and rapids. Would recommend going early

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Traveling Okra
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Hiking

Easy flat hike and several great swimming spots. Very rocky about 2 miles in, so be aware for toddler age children.

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Chris M
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HikingMuddy

Such a great spot for the summer if you’re trying to swim, cliff jump or just chill on the river.

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Marcia Bleck
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HikingRocky
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Tom Burre
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Hiking

Fantastic hike! Especially great for kids!

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Nick Saldivar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 16, 2020
Hiking

Nice views of the river, very flat path, The trail gets pretty rocky and makes it hard to enjoy the nice view.

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Showing results 1 - 22 of 281