Beginning at the Gulpha Gorge trailhead on N. Mountain Drive, the Hot Springs Mountain trail offers a longer, less strenuous outing to the Gulpha Gorge Trail
. One of the longer trails in the park, this trail also has some of the best rewards for visitors. The trail starts with a sometimes moderate descent for the first .3 miles, and the trail is somewhat serpentine as it winds through both pine and hardwood forests.
Once visitors have reached the bottom of their descent, this trail heads right back up again, this time to the summit of Hot Springs Mountain. The route up the mountain is steeper than many adjacent trails, though still moderate. At this point, you'll be at the southwest tip of the trail, and it's just a short jaunt to visit the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
, where it is possible to get above the tree canopy to some stellar views.
Once you've taken in the views, continue on the trail as it bends to the north. Along the way, you'll pass an intersection with the Floral Trail
. There is a picnic area in the vicinity of the trail junction, so if you're enjoying a snack, make sure to continue north to finish the loop.
The trail will end on a short incline, at an intersection with the Upper Dogwood Trail
. From there, it's a short and easy jaunt back to your starting point and vehicle.