“One of the longest and more difficult trails in NC; this also ranks as one of the most popular.”
— Zane Ray
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: