Shut-In Trail

HARD 34 reviews
#3 of 14 trails in

Shut-In Trail is a 16.1 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Arden, North Carolina that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

16.1 miles
2286 feet
Point to Point

dog friendly


trail running



Directions from Hot Springs, NC: Travel south on SR 209 to the Bluff community. Take SR 1173 to the right and continue to the parking area at the end of the road. The Appalachian Trail crosses Garenflo Gap here. Shut-In Trail begins on the right side of the road, just below the parking lot. OR travel south on US 25 / 70 to SR 1183 on the left. Follow SR 1183 approximately 3 miles. The trailhead is on the left just before crossing the Jones Branch bridge.

2 months ago

The Shut-In Trail is actually about 17 miles long. It runs from the trail head shown on the map near the Arboretum by Bent Creek to the Mt. Pisgah parking lot. Today we did an out and back starting at the Mt. Pisgah end going about 5 miles before returning. We had over 2,500 feet of elevation change just in this section. It definitely has some steep and rocky parts but is a great hike. There are great views this time of year without the leaves on the trees and not as much traffic as earlier in the year. If you are looking for a heart pumper this is a good choice.

3 months ago

tough hike but a great one..we live here and love going on this hike with our trail hound!

4 months ago

Nice trail. GPS didn't take us to trail head so took some time to find. Only 400 yards away but once we found it the trail was fun.

5 months ago

This is a fine running trail, but definitely does not feature the river. If you're looking, in winter, you can see it far away through the trees. Can be a bit buggy in summer.

7 months ago

Got real thirsty on this one. Passed a group with their leader (who had dreads) and asked for a drink of water or some pop. They had some water, and I was appreciative. Thanks guys, if you are reading this. Other than that, trail was sloppy and ill-kempt.

9 months ago

First mile is tough uphill. Nice trail. Views are not abundant.

10 months ago

Trail run from the back of Bent Creek lot. Its tough!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I love the history of this trail. Only had enough time to cover four miles before I had to turn around. I would rate it as moderate but definitely broke a sweat on a cool day. Not a lot of views because of trees but I want to go back in the spring when the mountain laurel are in full bloom!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I started hiking near the NC Arboretum and hiked for a few hours before returning to the car. The trail followed the road. The first few miles were a test of my conditioning. Very enjoyable half day hike.

Monday, June 06, 2016

I love this place

Friday, November 06, 2015

Hike was somewhat dampened by the weather and company, but definitely a spot worth checking out.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Shut-In trail is actually a much-longer trail than noted in the description. It starts at the entrance to the North Carolina Arboretum and pretty much parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to the Pisgah Inn. That's about 12 or so miles total. There are trail heads pretty much at every overlook on the parkway so you can bite off as much or as little of it as you wish. I completed the entire length in a half-dozen out-and-backs.

Some of the sections are pretty easy...others are strenuous. The most-strenuous sections are right at the beginning and right at the end. In addition, the section that includes Ferrin Knob is a haul. But the trail condition is good-to-excellent throughout. And it's really tough to get lost, because every couple of miles you'll reach another overlook on the Parkway.

My most-favorite section of this trail is from Big Ridge Overlook heading west toward the Pisgah Inn (away from Asheville). Turn back when you reach the parkway...the trail crosses the road and then goes UP Little Pisgah Mountain. That's a killer -- truly a streuous section. But until then, it's absolutely gorgeous and a nice leg-stretcher. And I'm thinking it's probably the number one winter hike in the area -- I'll let you know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Great winter views. Hiked to Sleepy Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway after an unintended extra mile or so of a forest service road/bike trail. Backtracked to the MTS/Shut In trail after realizing my error. On the way back to the Bent Creek area parking, I saw unexpected long range views of Biltmore Estate. Trail is maintained well too. Great local hiking for me and I will hike it again soon.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

We went for about 2.5 miles or so before we decided to turn around.. The dogs loved it. It was snowing so all of our views were pretty obstructed but all on all it's a nice little nature walk. When you enter the trail you are on the arboretums property but after about a half mile you end up on some old logging roads. It's worth the trip.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Steep and muddy on spots, you can hike this for 17 miles if you choose to. Nice rhododendrons, nice views in winter, I bet they would be obscured by leaves in summer!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The name comes from being shut in by Rhododendrum along the trail. Trail paralels the Blue Ridge Parkway and is pretty steep in spots.

4 months ago

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