Summary: This is a 3.5 mile somewhat strenuous hike. From the trail head, hike east while following the orange blazes.There is a camp ground (Silvermine) on your right as you begin the hike. The first mile is a gradual up hill. The 2nd mile is almost straight up hill until Pump Gap intersects the Appalachian Trail This is an elevation gain of 1,000 ft. At the AT, turn right or hike west. This is a nice, relatively flat one mile section that follows a ridgeline. depending on the time of year, you can hear and see the French Broad River to your left. Just before heading downhill on the AT, there is a very nice over look above Hot Springs. From this over look stay on the AT until it intersects Lovers Leap Trail. Take this last 1/2 mile straight down hill until it intersects with the Silver mine service road. Turn left on Silver mine back to the cars.
Trailhead: From Asheville, NC, take Hwy25/70 North. Right before the bridge outside of Hot Springs, take a right then go left back under the bridge. Drive about a 1/4 of mile and turn left on the Silvermine service road. There is parking on the left.Right across from the parking lot is a trail map/sign. (Lat:35.53 Lon:-82.48)
Trail Guides for Pump Gap Loop Trail:
Hiking Trails in the Hot Springs Area
by Appalachian Ranger District (Appalachian Ranger District)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Appalachian/French Broad Ranger District. 828-622-3202
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Tom Duchac, who has posted 23 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Viewer on 6/2/2015
Strenuous hike, trail not maintained. Had to climb over/under many downed trees. As above I got off trail until I saw a blue blaze and the trail became unpassable, after backtracking saw a switchback that wasn't marked and easy to miss. I'm not a novice hiker and glad I took a map.
Reviewed by Viewer on 2/16/2015
The description is very accurate, although the first two miles are uphill, it is a relatively moderate 4 hour hike. For those of you who missed access to the trailhead: when you come from Hot Springs, as soon as you cross the bridge, you'll see on your left a sign "Paint Rock", take a left, then at the curve, take sharp left towards the bridge. There's a dirt parking lot to the right with the sign pointing to Silvermine trailhead. Follow the road, park in the designated area. The trailhead is on the right, just few feet away from the post board. The trail is narrow, mostly up hill, till you get to the Pump Gap. Great hike, recommend it!
Reviewed by BS on 12/29/2014
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Reviewed by BS on 12/29/2014
Did this hike in reverse order from the description. The climb on Lover's Leap trail up to the AT is steep, but not very long. Pump Gap Trail has one very steep section coming down from Pump Gap. Also, if you are coming the way I did, the trail sort of turns into a road and then comes into the Silvermine group campground. The actual trail turns left and up a set of stone stairs just after you enter the campground and before you reach the restroom building. I missed the turn and ended up wandering around the campground until I backtracked and found the turn.
Reviewed by CH on 6/1/2014
Agree with DH - I put the latitude and longitude into google maps and it gave me an address. Drove out there, happened to be private property. I tried looking around for a trail head when a man in a car came up. I asked him if he knew where the trail head was and he told me I was trespassing and that he'd call the sheriff on me! I drove away as fast as I could and will likely never try this trail again.
Reviewed by sc on 9/10/2013
Nice hike, but never finished. We got lost and ended up off the trail down by the French Broad River. Long story but what we did hike was beautiful. Would not classify as a moderate hike which is the rating so many sites give it. This is a strenuous difficult hike.
Reviewed by DH on 5/16/2009
I'm sure the hike is awesome but we never got there....please specify for future users what "bridge" you are talking about(ie an exit number...or maybe a few street names). Also are the GPS coordinates to your house or did you just make them up. plugged into our gps we ended up on some private road with no outlet. Thanks for the two hours of my life that I will never get back!
Reviewed by Roger on 11/9/2008
We started off looking for the Lover's Leap trail, and messed up the trailhead, and ended up doing the Pump Gap Trail. It is challenging, and very vertical for amateur hikers, but the reward is worth the effort. We were sore, but have a GREAT story now
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