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Richland Balsam Nature Loop Trail

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Blue Ridge Parkway

Richland Balsam Nature Loop Trail is a 1.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Tuckasegee, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 1.4 mi Elevation gain 383 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Kid friendly Hiking Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife
Description
Waypoints (0)

Short loop trail to the top of Richland Balsam. No views from the top, but there is a large rock with the USGS survey marker.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (147)
Photos (153)
Recordings (121)
Completed (276)
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Maggie Smith
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HikingGreat!

We went up the return side and was happy we did that. It’s a longer way up, but less of a rocky mess on the way down. There were two pretty outlooks on the return side.

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Adrienne Swisher
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Hiking
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Jenny Bennett
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Hiking
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Bradford Powell
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Hiking

Nice trail but a bit deceptive in that it starts really smooth and has sections of rock “steps” that will get slick with any rain. If your knees are getting worn or you are a bit older a hiking staff or poles are worth taking along. Took us under an hour with the dog in tow. I recommend this hike.

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Shruthi Cyriac
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Hiking
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Donna Hubbard
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Hiking

a few views if you ho left ar the fork. mostly in the trees. not bad.

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Kimmy Meyers
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Hiking

I thought it would have a view at the top but it’s just a small loop. Was still kind of pretty mostly because it smelled like Christmas trees most of the way. It’s a nice little 30 min stretch your legs and get your heart rate up hike.

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Sasha Voznyi
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Hiking
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Jason Reiling
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Hiking

Incredible walk through high altitude balsam fir grove. The smells are amazing. Fresh. Pine. Not really any views but a great trail

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AMNON FRIED
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Hiking
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Joe Melliere
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Hiking
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Tyler Burkett
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Hiking

This trail is very deceiving in terms of elevation. Shortly after beginning, the trail forks for the summit loop. I would highly recommend keeping to the right as this is leg rugged and less of an incline verses going left (the descent if you start by going right). There is absolutely no view at the summit; however there is the sign signifying that you made it to the summit. Once you begin the descent back down, the trail is quite rugged, lots of rocks and roots and is far less enjoyable than the ascend. However, the only real view is towards the end of the loop on the descent, so if you really want a view, my recommendation is to go left at the fork and stop for the view then turnaround. Trail is overall nicely forested, the pine aroma is simply astounding.

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Sara MacDougall
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Hiking

The trail is much steeper than anticipated. I would definitely rate it as moderate, and with a 1 year old in a backpack carrier, it was a bit much. There are a couple pretty views along the descent, but the summit at 6400 feet has virtually no view. There are plenty of benches along the way. It’s a unique hike for the area in that it is predominantly a pine forest that you are hiking through, with much less undergrowth and ground cover at these elevations. It is a good 15 - 20 degrees cooler up there. I would say it is a pretty heavily trafficked trail on the weekends. Not anything like some of the super touristy places, but we encountered 10+ different groups of people on the trail. Overall, a beautiful hike through the pines. You’ll definitely get your heart rate up!

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Peter Gravely
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Hiking
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Wilfred King
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Hiking

Smells like a Christmas tree

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Brandon Jones
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Hiking
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Erin Snyder
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Hiking

This is a shaded walk through a forest. Great for bird watching - saw warblers and a yellow breasted chat. It looks like someone has recently done some trail maintenance- the path is not overgrown. It is a moderately challenging walk to the summit of Richland Balsam Mountain. No view, but a lovely quiet forest. Benches strategically placed for brief rests. The elevation is 6000+ feet so even in mid July it was 67 degrees.

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Chris M
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HikingBlowdownOver grownRockyScramble

This is always a nice little hike to see which species of fungi are out.

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Brian Propst
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HikingBlowdown
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RYAN GUEST
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HikingRocky

Great short hike with nice flora. No view at the summit but there are a couple spots with good views. Lots of dead fall.

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Katie-lynn McDonald
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Hiking

Easily one of my favorite trails on the BRP. Great black Balsam forest at the top that makes you feel like you’re in a moss-covered fairy land. Very fragrant. Moderate climb to the summit and nice walk down. Lots of interesting wildflowers and mushrooms.

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Samantha Coffin
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HikingBlowdown

Great hike! Totally kid and dog friendly! Not too many views but the ones you get are awesome! Lots of perfectly placed benches for relaxing. There were some down trees but nothing you can’t get around.

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Erin Bowers
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Hiking

A favorite for many reasons.

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Andrew Mochrie
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Hiking

Great hike with a little one. Had the trail all to ourselves on a Monday morning.

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Jessica Epley
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HikingBlowdown

One of my favorite easy trails on the parkway! Would rate more as easy than moderate. The moss covering the trees and rocks throughout the trail are eye catching, and there’s a sweet little spot with an opening in the trees and a bench near the end of the trail. There’s a bit of blown down trees across the trail, mostly small sticks and limbs but some larger tree trunks you have to climb over or under.

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Amanda Rich
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HikingRockyScramble

Beautiful trail. Magical with all the moss. Had to climb over fallen trees and up and down rocks. We all had fun - kids, adults, and dog.

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Showing results 1 - 26 of 147