Art Loeb Details
- Trail Running
Riding AreaPisgah Ranger District
Brevard, North Carolina
Hiking SAC ScaleT3 Demanding Mountain Hiking
Trail VisibilitySometimes hard to follow
SeasonYear-Round, Best During Fall & Early Winter
Ride in RainYes
Local Popularity5 in Hiking [+]
- 5 in Trail Running
The Art Loeb is a cornerstone hiking trail in the Pisgah Ranger District. Roughly 50k in length, it's northern terminus is Camp Daniel Boone near Waynesville/Canton - it's southern terminus is at the Davidson River Campground near Brevard. Backpackers often divide the trail into a 2-3 day trip, while ambitions trail runners frequently attempt a single-day traverse. Fall and early winter provide the best chance for favorable weather, vehicle access, and dependable drinking water. That said, the trail is open year-round and there are undoubtedly backpackers and runners on the trail every weekend of the year.
North to south, the trail begins with a steady climb into Shining Rock Wilderness and is easy to follow for the first few miles. The trail levels out in a clearing, where the Cold Mountain Summit Trail spurs to the left. The Art Loeb continues to the right. "The Narrow" lie ahead, arguably one of the most challenging section and one that can be hard to follow at times. There are no trail blazes or markings as the trail follows the narrow ridgeline. Check your map frequently to make sure you're on track. In most of wilderness areas in NC, trails are neither signed or blazed, and should you become injured, the only way out is on foot. Cell reception is also extremely limited through much of the route. Verizon tends to offer better service than AT&T, the best chances coming from the higher elevations and mountain peaks.
After departing from Shining Rock Wilderness, the trail crosses over the summits of Tennent Mountain and Black Balsam Knob, both popular day hiking destinations thanks to the 360-degree views from their summit. After crossing Black Balsam Knob, the trail dips down to a paved forest service road that is only accessible via the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the winter months, check road conditions since the parkway frequently closes.
For the next couple of miles, the trail co-aligns with the Mountains to Sea Trail, passing through dark forests, through open meadows, and along exposed rock formations. A well-marked intersection denotes the trail leads to the left, while the Mountains to Sea Trail continues straight. After a steep descent, you'll cross the BRP and continue along a long ridgeline to Farlow Gap.
Pilot Mountain lies ahead, a demanding climb from either direction. A small vista at the top awards views of the Great Balsam Mountains. Gloucester Gap comes next after a long descent off the back of the mountain. This is the only other opportunity for vehicle access if you need it.
The final ~13 miles of the Art Loeb are monotonous as the trail crosses over ever possible knob, high point, and mountain before ending at the Davidson River Campground. Since this section is closer to town, there are countless campsites and opportunities for shorter day hikes. Pay close attention to trail markings in this section as well, as several trails and unused logging roads intersect the trail along the final leg.
Dependable water can be found on the climb to Cold Mountain junction, after leaving Shining Rock Wilderness, near Farlow Gap, and a couple of miles after Gloucester Gap near the shelter. The water near Farlow Gap can be difficult to locate, but make sure you do since it's the last opportunity for a while. Many hikers make the mistake of skipping over the spring, expecting plenty more ahead.
Seasonal water is available all across Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain, and a piped spring is available near the Sam Knob Trailhead on Ivester Gap if you really need some. Water is also available on Butter Gap Trail, maybe .5-miles from the junction with the Art Loeb.
Camp Daniel Boone and Davidson River Campground can both be found with a Google Search. Black Balsam Knob is the same, though the point where the trail crosses the road can be confusing since it's not well marked. Look for the parallel parking spots, less than .5-miles up. There are usually an abundance of cars.
A 2-car pull-off is also available where the trail crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway, but again - be mindful of closures during the winter.
Gloucester Gap is the last access point along the trail and ~15 minutes from the NC State Fish Hatchery. At the gap, there are 3 accessible roads, and one permanately gated road. There is parking for 5 - 10 vehicles if you get creative. There is no set closure date for this road, but it can sometimes be closed during the winter as well.
No bikes are allowed on any section of the Art Loeb. Please report any violators to the Pisgah Ranger Station - 828-877-3265.
More Stats for Art Loeb hike trail trail
Altitude change-1,058 ft
Altitude min2,195 ft
Altitude start3,253 ft
Altitude end2,195 ft
Distance climb14 miles
Distance down14 miles
Distance flat4,859 ft
- view trail stats
- Snow Groomed
- Snow Packed
- Snow Covered
- Freeze/thaw Cycle
- Prevalent Mud
- Very Dry
The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
- > 96%
- > 90%
- > 80%
- > 70%
- > 50%
- < 50%
- bi-directional trail
- no data
- < 2 days
- < 1 week
- < 2 weeks
- < 1 month
- < 6 months
- > 6 months
- Downhill Only
- Downhill Primary
- Both Directions
- Uphill Primary
- Uphill Only
- One Direction
- Description & Photos
- most popular
- less popular
- not popular
- mountain biking recent
- mountain biking (>6 month)
- hiking (1 year)
- moto (1 year)
- Downhill Ski
- Backcountry Ski
- Nordic Ski
Art Loeb Trail Reports
Oct 5, 2020 @ 10:20amOct 5, 2020
|Small trees down across trail, can navigate over or around. Water source non existent at Balck Balsom knob area in-between Deep Gap Shelter and...|
Jul 13, 2020 @ 7:16amJul 13, 2020
Apr 16, 2020 @ 3:45pmApr 16, 2020
Nov 27, 2019 @ 8:52amNov 27, 2019
|reporter The wildfire on Cold Mountain is now contained and the Art Loeb through Shining Rock Wilderness is open again.|
Nov 21, 2019 @ 4:48pmNov 21, 2019
|reporter The Art Loeb is closed through Shining Rock Wilderness due to a forest fire on Cold Mountain.|
- 0 rides
- 0 rides
- 0 rides