Art Loeb Trail
The Art Loeb Trail follows mostly ridgelines on its vertiginous route through the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina, traversing three mountain peaks over 5,000 feet in elevation. Thanks to its proximity to Asheville, and access to Cold Mountain — made famous by Charles Frazier’s novel and subsequent film — the trail sees a good amount of hikers. But its popularity is well deserved: The unique geology here is more akin with what you see out West, and it’s hard to top the panoramic views from the Appalachian balds.
“These are 30 of the most scenic miles in Western North Carolina,” says Davis. “The trail goes from slopes of Cold Mountain over a gorgeous, exposed ridgeline with 360-views and then descends down to the Davidson River — which has great fishing if you want to fly fish when you’re done.”
Time to Complete: 3-4 days
Terrain: Moderately difficult due to elevation changes.
Best Segment You Can Do In a Day: Black Balsam to Shining Rock (9-mile loop), a local favorite for hikers and trail runners, follows a ridgeline that serves up panoramic views of the Appalachian Mountains and the Shining Rock Wilderness.
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