Summary: This is a very nice hike along the Big Laurel River. This is an In-out route that will take about 3.5 hours and cover 7 miles. You start the trail by heading south and will shortly come to a private residence that is posted "Private" Continue walking on the trail until you resume your hike in the forest. The trail is flat and for the most part, tree covered. You will notice numerous trees in the process of being "felled" by area Beavers. There are quite a few rapids and trout pools along most of the route. There are also some excellent camping spots and swimming holes along the way. About 3/4 of the way in there are some foundational ruins from the old town of Runion. After the ruins stay on the trail until you intersect the rail road tracks and hike back out.
Trailhead: The trail Head for the Laurel River Trail is at the intersection of Hwy 25/70 and Hwy 208. There is a gravel parking area about 100 yards south of the intersection and a brown Forest Service sign denoting the trail. (Lat:35.54 Lon:-82.45)
Trail Guides for Laurel River Trail:
North Carolina Hiking Trails
by Allen de Hart (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes,
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 RGC on 6/24/2012
Beautiful area, plan to use it quite a bit :) Lots of "pull-offs" for reflecting on a rock, very family oriented. Loved it!
Reviewed by Becky on 5/1/2011
Hiked this trail today May 1st, 2011. Very beautiful scenery with the river running along side the trail. There was no sign at the trail head so we had a little trouble finding it but so glad we did! Will definitely go again!
Reviewed by Bigger Dog 007 on 11/13/2010
The start of the trail is at the south end of the parking area. Really nice hike without having to hike up and down hills. And the river is always right next to you with great river views. Plan on 3-4 hours roundtrip to get all the way down to the French Broad River and return. Also found that Verizon has pretty good cell phone coverage along most of the trail.
Reviewed by Stewart on 11/15/2009
Hiked this trail for the first time in November 2009. It was a very easy trail to walk for a family. All ages in a family with several things to see alone the way. The Laurel River has several breath taken water falls which are nice just to watch. Seen several different types of wildlife. Will do again with my fishing pole in hand. Cant wait lets go walk.
Reviewed by Elizabeth on 11/14/2009
Very enjoyable hike. Sign was not posted at beginning of trail, so we missed it our first time driving by. Went in 11/09 and saw no one else until very end when almost back to parking lot. Definitely bring a camera!
Reviewed by Sylvia on 11/15/2008
25 hikers from the Jefferson County Hiking Club in Tennessee hiked this trail on Nov.11,2008. We thought the colors were beautiful and liked the fact that it was level. Big rocks and water was pleasant. Saw where beavers had done their damage. I would recommend this hike but the rocks on the trail were working their way to the top which made the trail a little rough.
Reviewed by JCB on 1/3/2008
The Laurel River Trail is an excellent (rare) level ground hike in the Southern Appalachians.Beautiful scenery,a wild river and a distinct endpoint on the French Broad River. Old logging ruins, beaver signs and lots of "wildness" characterize thie 4 hour walk.Best hiked in fall or winter. One of the best hikes around Hot Springs NC
Reviewed by Brian on 12/19/2007
Hiked this trail in Feb. '05 and it was a very pleasent. Recommended hike for a family or inexpereinced hikes due to its easy grade and easy to follow trail.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: North Carolina Hiking, North Carolina Trails, North Carolina Hikes, Madison County Hiking, Madison County Trails, Madison County Hikes