Hiking Project Logo

Art Loeb Trail

  4.5 ( 41 ) Favorite


31.1 mile 50.1 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 7,578' 2,310 m
Descent: -6,409' -1,954 m
High: 6,194' 1,888 m
Low: 2,138' 652 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 66% (33°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

One of the longest and more difficult trails in NC; this also ranks as one of the most popular.

Zane Ray

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Commonly Backpacked

Bear canisters are required for all backcountry camping. No campfires in the Shining Rock Wilderness


Taken in its entirely, the 30+ mile Art Loeb Trail traverses many significant peaks in North Carolina, which provides ample places to stop to take in the panoramic views. The trail begins with a long and, at times, steep incline at first, but quickly begins a gently rolling descent to the end point.

Many turn this trail into a multi-day trip, but be aware of other trail users who break the trail into segments for day use.


Although one of the longest and more difficult trails in North Carolina, the 30.1-mile Art Loeb Trail still ranks as one of the more popular routes in the area. And no wonder, traveling mainly along peaks and ridges, the trail offers many outstanding panoramic views along the way.

Along its route the Art Loeb Trail traverses several significant peaks, including Black Balsam Knob (6214 feet), Tennant Mountain (6040 feet) and Pilot Mountain (5072 feet). The trail also skirts the base of Cold Mountain which was made famous by the novel and Hollywood film.

Many hikers use the Art Loeb for extended backpacking trips, while others use shorter sections for day hikes, or use connecting trails to form several outstanding loop hikes. Most of the trail is overlapped by the Mountains-to-the Sea Trail which is blazed with 3-inch white dots.

This trail is commonly divided into four separate sections, and more information about the individual sections can be found here:

Flora & Fauna

Rhododendrons, mountains laurels, oak and maple trees. Many species of wildflowers.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, History & Background


Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In


Dec 27, 2019
James Ratliff
Oct 11, 2019
Jim Hedgepath
Sep 2, 2019
Logan Kolander
Jul 7, 2019
Diego dos Santos
Jul 3, 2019
Todd Burgman
Jul 1, 2019
Andrew Soto
Jun 21, 2019
David Williamson
May 24, 2019
Amanda P
Steep and beautiful just as described. 31.1mi

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 41 votes


in Avery Creek


  4.5 from 41 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Featured Hike Rankings


in Avery Creek


1,324 Views Last Month
32,729 Since Sep 22, 2015



Pilot Mountain on the Art Loeb Trail
Jul 25, 2017 near Brevard, NC
Fall frost atop Black Balsam Knob
Jul 25, 2017 near West Ca…, NC
Get lost on the Art Loeb Trail.
May 19, 2017 near Brevard, NC
Heavy snow bends the boughs across the trail
Aug 19, 2017 near Brevard, NC
Keep heading down to the left as you pass the giant quartz rocks
Jul 5, 2019 near West Ca…, NC
The scenic view from the Art Loeb Trail.
Nov 2, 2016 near West Ca…, NC

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking