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Buncombe Horse Trail



17.7 mile 28.4 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 3,283' 1,001 m
Descent: -2,599' -792 m
High: 5,850' 1,783 m
Low: 2,849' 868 m


Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 32% (18°)


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Trail shared by Brandon Thrower

The Buncombe Horse Trail is an underused trail that is perfect for hiking with a good mix of terrain and excellent views

Brandon Thrower

Features Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


The Buncombe Horse Trail is the most diverse trail in the Black Mountains. The trail begins down in the Toe River Valley and gradually climbs through dense hardwood forest as it slowly changes to a balsam forest as you gain elevation. It then joins the MST for a very gentle section of about 5 miles with great views of the valley bellow. Then you pop out onto Maple Camp Bald, with massive 270-degree views of the Black Mountains and the Blue Ridge as it falls into the Piedmont. It is one of the best views in the Blacks. Afterward, you'll descend on some serious switchbacks before hitting old logging roads at the end. Good loops can be made by using sections of this trail. Don't overlook it.

Trail blazes are few and far between, if not non-existent through much of the trail. Where they do exist is near the bottom and the color is white. The trail is also a horse trail, although I've never run into a horse out there. There is evidence of them along the trail, especially in the low sections.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna


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Jan 1, 2019
Seth Dent
Aug 16, 2017
Mollie Gentry
Still super muddy, but great variation in environment. 17.7mi
Aug 8, 2017
Jessica Hoffstetter

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 5 votes


  3.8 from 5 votes
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in North Carolina


26 Views Last Month
1,229 Since Dec 9, 2016



Zeke the wonder mule @ Maple Camp Bald, our lunch spot
Jul 1, 2018 near Burnsville, NC
Intersection of the MTS and BHT. Behind us is a little trail that leads to a TINY parking area, could accommodate maybe two horse trailers.
Jul 1, 2018 near Black M…, NC
Riding the BHT up near the Mt Mitchell intersection
Jul 1, 2018 near Burnsville, NC
enjoying the trail on BHT
Jul 1, 2018 near Burnsville, NC
Backcountry Campsite Commissary Hill at intersection of Mt Mitchell Trail #190 and Horse trail
Jan 12, 2020 near Black M…, NC

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