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blue Thompson Loop

  4.5 ( 4 ) Favorite


7.3 mile 11.7 kilometer loop


Ascent: 642' 196 m
Descent: -641' -195 m
High: 2,089' 637 m
Low: 1,729' 527 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 13% (8°)


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Trail shared by Vanessa McKnight

Heavily wooded mountain trail with creek crossings and a lake view.

Vanessa McKnight

Features Lake · River/Creek · Wildlife


The trail snakes along the coast of a lake through a portion of the Nantahala National Forest then turns and gradually climbs the mountain permitting some views of mountain valley.


The trailhead allows access to two separate trails, Mouse Branch and Thompson Loop. The trail is old forest road until it splits into the Thompson Loop about a half mile from the trailhead. The trail winds through the forest towards the lake which you'll be able to see beneath you about two miles into the trail, you'll have lake views between the trees until about three and a half to four miles into the trail. There are many creek crossings for the first four miles of trail.

Once you reach the point, between mile marker 3.5 and 4 the trail turns and becomes significantly steeper as the trail climbs the mountain. There is a good area to rest before you begin the steeper portion of the trail.

The trail is less shaded and has areas without any tree cover between miles four and six, in some areas you can see the wooded valley between the mountains. After mile five the singletrack widens to old forest road that twists and winds its way back into a singletrack around mile six.

The remaining mile and half is the most enjoyable section as it is a fast downhill through the forest.

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Mar 23, 2019
Marcela St. Onge
Oct 9, 2018
Kimberly Balogh
with dogs 7.3mi
Sep 29, 2018
Rebecca Rhone Harrison
Sep 4, 2018
Karen Adams
Saw a young buck and got hit by a rainstorm. This my first hike alone and using my pack. 7.8mi
May 21, 2018
Danny Landry
Moderate rolling trail.Terrain changes over the trail from deep forest,bordering lake at times.Great prep in full pack for my PCT hike start in 3weeks 7.3mi — 2h 45m
Dec 6, 2017
Chris Mulligan
Mostly old forestry road mixed in with some mountain bike trails. Went during the first week in December and there was not another soul on the trail. 7.5mi

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 4 votes


  4.5 from 4 votes
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