The Transylvania Times -

By Derek McKissock
News Editor 

Enjoy A Variety of Hiking Trails in Transylvania


Last updated 8/4/2016 at 8:49pm


For those who like to hike, Transylvania County has hundreds of miles of trails to choose from, and more are being built every year.

Some six miles of new trails will be open this summer starting on the city of Brevard’s Bracken Mountain property, which looks over downtown adjacent to the Brevard Music Center. One trail will be a 4-mile loop around the mountain. The 5-foot-wide trail will include three bridges to cross streams and access to two small cascades.

The two-mile trail will connect the mountain trail with Forest Road 475C. This will allow hikers and mountain bikers to travel on to the Pisgah Wildlife

Education Center in Pisgah National Forest.

The City of Brevard also has 5.7 miles of multi-use paths, which can take a walker from downtown into the national forest.

The national forest itself has more than 400 miles of trails. Popular trails in the Pisgah Ranger District include several around the Davidson River area to the Black Balsam area off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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The hikes range from family-friendly jaunts to strenuous overnight treks. The 30-mile Art Loeb trail also has its beginnings near the Davidson River Campground.

For more information, stop by the ranger station, which is located a mile from the forest entrance on U.S. 276, or call (828) 877-3265.

Gorges State Park, located on N.C. 281 South off U.S. 64, has several trails

Among the area’s trails are the Auger Hole trail, a 7.25 -mile trip (one-way) through the center of the park that ends at the Foothills Trail; and the Cane Brake trail, a 5-mile trip along the eastern boundary of the park, which also connects to the Foothills Trail at the top of Lake Jocassee, where the Toxaway River and Toxaway Creek meet.

Visitors wishing to hike to the Horse Pasture River area, which is owned and operated by the U.S. Forest Service, should follow signs in the park leading to the new Grassy Ridge Trailhead parking.

Rainbow Falls offers a dramatic 80-foot drop along the Horsepasture River that creates a mist as it splashes into a pool at the bottom, resulting in a rainbow when the sun strikes it just right. Then, just upstream is Turtleback Falls, a popular spot for sliding into a pool below.

The Frozen Creek Access, located near Rosman on Frozen Creek Road, includes Hiking access.

Inexperienced hikers are not recommended to try and tackle the more remote trails in Gorges.

For more information about Gorges, visit its web page at, call (828) 966-9099, or e-mail

There are 82 miles of forest roads and trails open to Hiking in DuPont State Forest.

Some hikes are easy: Hooker Falls is a quarter-of-a-mile walk from the Hooker Falls access area on Staton Road.

The most popular forest destinations are Triple Falls and High Falls on the Little River. A 2.25 mile hike from the High Falls access area takes visitors by both waterfalls. Bridal Veil Falls is a 2.5 mile hike from the High Falls access area, or 2.25 miles from the Fawn Lake access area on Reasonover Road.

There is a covered bridge on Buck Forest Road just above High Falls that is a 0.6 mile walk from the Buck Forest parking lot.

Lake Julia, the largest lake in the forest at 99 acres, can be reached from either the Fawn Lake or Buck Forest access areas.

Dense Lake is a short side trip off Conservation Road when going in from the Buck Forest parking lot. Fawn Lake is on the way to Lake Julia if one takes Fawn Lake Road to Conservation Road.

A more strenuous walk is the trail to the top of Cedar Rock and a trail to the top of Stone Mountain, elevation 3,640 feet. Visitors that are up to the challenge will be rewarded by panoramic views from either location.

The DuPont State Forest office may be reached at (828) 877-6527.

In the Western part of the county, Panthertown Valley is another popular destination. Schoolhouse Falls is probably the most popular hike, offering a beautiful waterfall and an excellent spot for a picnic or a swim.

Other Hiking options include the Shut-In Trails of the Blue Ridge Parkway from milepost 393.6 to milepost 405.5. These trails range from moderate to difficult.

There are also many trails to discover at Graveyard Fields at milepost 418.

The Graveyard Fields Loop trail begins at the overlook. Other trails will take you to waterfalls.

The Graveyard Ridge trail ascends and then travels along Graveyard Ridge itself before ending at the intersection with the Ivestor Gap and Mountains to Sea Trails.


For more general information about Hiking, stop by Looking Glass Outfitters (828 884-5854) or Backcountry Outdoors (828 884-4262), both located near the intersection of U.S. 276 and U.S. 64.


Tony Austin conducts hikes in Transylvania County.

“I’ve always had trouble motivating myself to pack a gym bag and drive to a fitness center to sweat on a machine; but throwing on some boots and heading to the woods is easy. And it’s available no matter where you are. And who can deny that soaking in the sounds and smells of the forest is anything but soul-soothing.

“I’ve hiked all my life — Switzerland, France,

Morocco and England. In the U.S., I’ve backpacked in Yosemite and Montana, but the Hiking in Transylvania County is some of the best in the world.

“Here you’ll find level (what we call ‘mountain level’) or steep and challenging hikes...even

boulder scrambling.

“I’ve been leading hikes of every description for 10 years in this area, and the most important

aspect to me is that there is some kind of payoff at the end — a waterfall, a breathtaking view. In our part of the world, there seems to be no shortage of those. ”

For more possible hikes in the Lake Toxaway area, go to


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