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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.

Distance: 1.4 miles Elevation Gain: 383 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

hiking
blowdown
15 days ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
blowdown
1 month ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

A favorite for many reasons.

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

hiking
blowdown
3 months ago

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.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

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.

nice little trail, I'm not a Fan of the partially paved beginning, but one you're off it, it's decent. there are a couple loose steps here and there. on the long side of the loop are some nice views on a clear day.

This is one of the most beautiful trails I’ve been on. It was early in the morning and very foggy - the trail goes into the forest and has so many shades of green.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Fun trail! Not too long, it took my boyfriend and I less than an hour to complete. Some pretty views through the trees too! It can get pretty steep at times though, but it’s worth it. Super rocky near the end though!

hiking
8 months ago

It was a very unique area and I really enjoyed seeing all the fur and spruce trees. However, the hike was very short, but I would go back.

hiking
9 months ago

Beutiful quiet hike

hiking
9 months ago

Old Balsam forest, like walking in a Tolkien novel. 6000 ft elevation sneaks up on you. A hidden gem with very little traffic. A perfect getaway.

Trail at the highest point on the blue ridge pkwy makes a loop bear to the right u will be rewarded on your way back down with beautiful views of the mountains

hiking
blowdown
muddy
10 months ago

hiking
muddy
11 months ago

hiking
Sun May 19 2019

Great trail for a nature hike with the kids. Shaded woods trail all the way to the summit and back with a few views. Kids (5 & 8) had a blast with the nature guide but we had to find the guide online. Hopefully the following link will work for you! It was great!!! http://www.brptrails.com/brp4310t.htm

hiking
Sat Apr 27 2019

We happened upon this trail and thought that it was total serendipity. Serene, peaceful, calming with the abundant fir scents. Also a feast for the eyes with lichens, rocks, moss and rich earth tones. Well maintained trail with slight elevation gain and a few long range views visible through the trees. Totally worth the time and a break from BRP drive.

hiking
Sun Apr 21 2019

One of my favorites. A nice, quiet loop through the woods, and toward the end of the loop, you get an incredible view. Can be a bit slick in places if there is snow on the ground, but a nice moderate loop overall. Great for a quick afternoon hike.

hiking
Thu Apr 18 2019

No view, but I’ll take the privacy and quiet over a view any day. The trail is beautiful and reminded me of the nature trail around Mount Mitchell. Bright green lichen and thick forest with plenty of elevation change to make it a good exercise loop. Sucks that it’s kind of out of the way, but if you’re in the area I highly recommend it.

hiking
Sun Mar 31 2019

Very pretty. Socked in on the day I did it but had a few glimpses of the view. But just the canopy and the lichen covering the logs was beautiful...even a little dusting of snow. Nice break in the drive for sure.

hiking
Sat Mar 16 2019

We enjoyed this hike in late March with the kids and dogs. Great views from the parking lot, and again on the way down the loop (go up to the right and follow the numbered markers). The forest was serene and the trail was cushy with pine needles on the way up, then got rocky and we basically followed a little creek on the way down. It was doable for our group, short enough to be kid-friendly but interesting enough to delight the couple of avid bikers among us. Recommend.

hiking
Thu Feb 14 2019

Nice short hike with good views on the way down. Icy in spots while descending. Worth it, plus excellent view from parking/picnic table.

hiking
Tue Sep 11 2018

Great hike, not lengthy or excessively strenuous, however, you’ll want to be sure footed and not contemplating a knee replacement. Because likely, you’ll be scheduling it shortly afterwards. The views are at the start of the hike so enjoy them at the beginning and the end. Although this is an up-and-back hike, because of the loop, you’ll have a variety of trail scenery. It’s fresh and clean flora and fauna. And if there are any trail guides in the little kiosk at the start of the hike, you’ll be able to do a self guided tour following the posts along the way. Or like us, since there were none left, we made up our own guesses as to what was being singled out as unusual and educational. We went early/mid September, over cast but still worth the drive and hike from Sapphire.

hiking
Sun Aug 26 2018

A nice little loop trail that climbs through the balsam forest. The trail is pretty and smells like Christmas. It's a great walk for the dogs but can be steep in spot going up and looping around. The view from the BRP overview is amazing- a great place to setup for a picnic.

hiking
Mon Jul 16 2018

Steep but nice loop through balsam forest. No real views but beautiful canopy of trees and moss covered rocks. Parts of the trail are quite overgrown but push on through because it’s worth it!

hiking
Sat Jun 30 2018

I love this little trail! It’s a great leg-stretcher for those driving the BRP. While there are only a couple of spots with mountain views, the forest setting is serene and lovely.

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