Explore the most popular River trails near Burnsville with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great trail, you get to see lots of nice natural communities as you go up in elevation. I did a relaxed 3 day sleeping at the Higgens bald site night one and on the western most Chestnut Knob the second night. No water near the Chestnut Knob site but otherwise nice. The last few miles of the trail are on a gravel road (if you go counter clockwise on the loop). But it was closed as of 05/10/19 so it wasn't too bad. The parking area was also closed as of the above date, So you parked 0.5 miles from the parking area on this map. I went mid week and only saw a few people, most up near the state park/summit. Overall a very nice few days.

This trail was more difficult than I had anticipated it to be. There was a point within the trail when it came to a campground but I could not locate the trail on the other side to continue. Fortunately, after much wandering around I was able to find it. It was difficult to hike because the trails was comprised of rock and therefore was hard on the footing. Aside from all this, I enjoyed the hike overall and would recommend others to take it. There was a bit of snow and ice which was anticipated due to the time of year and elevation of the mountain.

Beautiful trail to hike. There is a restaurant near the top and it's pretty good as well.

Loved it! A bit of a challenge with the leaves on the ground and the past rains make the trail a bit slippery!

We did this hike over Easter in a day. It was tough and we got super lucky with the weather. The night before was a blizzard and others did not get so lucky. The trail has a LOT of tree roots and very steep, pretty much the entire way. Super rewarding trip but the summit is crowded with people who can drive to the top so it does take away from the experience of hiking. Bring fuel and a lunch, you will need it for this long hike! It took us 8 hours but we had to stop a bit for the dogs. We saw a lot of people hurting on the way up so make sure you’re ready, get an early start, and have the proper gear if you attempt this strenuous hike.

I only took this trail once and that was after a lot of heavy rainfall for a couple of weeks but this made the waterfall so nice I bushwhacked to the base. I did hike to it once and the waterfall was nothing to get excited over because it takes a lot of rainfall to make it worth the hike unless you plan to see Higgins Bald.

walking
Friday, June 22, 2018

My wife and I took our two small dogs along this trail around noon in the summer of 2018. The trail offered a lot of shade in most spots and takes you along the river for the majority of the trail. We saw some small wildlife and some sign of other larger animals. Some parts of the trail had some loose ground, so be cautious in some areas with your footing. We had one small crossing where some backwater had made a mud hole, so if you have kids or small pets, be ready for toweling off at the car. There are fantastic views of the river from the two bridges and there are some small areas where you can wade out into the shallower sections if you can handle the cold water. During the spring and summer be on the lookout for ticks, and most of the trail is tightly bordered with ferns and small dense foliage. Overall it was brisk and relaxing walk with excellent scenery. In my opinion, I would definitely do this walk again in a different season to get some great photos.

hiking
Tuesday, April 03, 2018

We go in the summertime. Love the campground so much.. it is next to a beautiful stream. The showers are nice to have since we hike too. Loved the hike to Mt. Mitchell!!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Great trail. Round trip is actually around 4 miles. Still nice walk and a great hike. This is on our list to revisit.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

ive hiked this trail alot. its very enjoyable!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Great trail

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Just an average hike, in my opinion. There was a nice little stream near the top, but other than that it was just another walk in the woods (typical Eastern hike) but without any great overlooks. It is well marked and probably better in the winter when there are no leaves. We did detour initially to a waterfall near the campground and that was pretty cool.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Will definitely come back. Beautiful spot. Be very careful the trail signs and markings are NOT clear

hiking
Friday, June 02, 2017

A gorgeous late spring hike! Mountain laurel in bloom and Reishi Mushroom Wonderland! The dogs had lots of opportunities for cool dips in the river. just the right amount of challenge for a journey-oriented hike.

Amazing

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

GREAT TRAIL! I want to do it again, but start earlier so I can do the entire loop. Only a 3+ mile trail, but you definitely need full daylight. The drive in includes abut 6 miles of gravel road and 2 single lane bridges. I missed any signage indicating where the trail started, and eventually was told by a hunter to go back to the campground (1/2 football field sized area on the right as your driving on the gravel). Trail is unmarked but can be found at the back of this field. Two choices: Quite a steep entry, or to the left are switchbacks. I'd recommend the switchbacks. BEAUTIFUL, and well worth the effort.

hiking
Sunday, October 23, 2016

This is a very enjoyable, well maintained and pretty 3.5 mile loop. The first half includes a climb and then a descent back to the river. There are good views of the river from above and Mt. Mitchell from directly below. After crossing the bridge, the trail then returns mostly at river level. Don't miss the short spur to Setrock Falls just before making it back. You also pass the trailhead for the strenuous Mt. Mitchell trail near the Black Mountain Campground. I will hopefully be back for that one day.

hiking
Saturday, October 22, 2016

Nice trail. Very secluded.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Start was uphill... However, trail was magnificent.

hiking
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nice easy trail for families. Starts at parking area and climbs up moderately then follows above the Toe River. Well kept trail, no technical parts, well marked. Trail comes to bridge where you cross the Toe River. Then later you cross two small streams. It took about 2 hours for our family (a 3 year old and 10 year old) to walk it. It ends in the campground. You literally walk by Setrock Creek Falls on your way back to parking area so you should make a detour, see this pretty fall and cool off.

hiking
Friday, May 18, 2012

This is a very enjoyable loop trail. Not too much vertical, nice river views, close to Blue Ridge Parkway and approximately 3.5 miles in length. Park at trailhead near Black Mountain Campground. Several other hiking options from this trailhead.

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