While the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail is loaded with fabulous peaks and views, this short section, from Gloucester Gap to Pilot Mountain in Transylvania County, offers some of the finest of both. Loeb, a WNC hiking pioneer who passed away in 1968, played a major role in exploring new places, maintaining trails, and promoting his favorite pastime. Among his lasting legacies was this trail.
Experience Loeb’s delight in trekking with a winter ascent of Pilot Mountain. From Gloucester Gap, follow the Art Loeb Trail and begin a heart-pounding two-mile climb up switchbacks along a well-defined ridge covered in oak, hickory, and poplar. The trail gets steeper and the switchbacks more frequent as the path approaches the flat, compact summit over 5,000 feet above sea level. Though the walk is steep, the payoff is worth it: From the apex are brilliant views in all directions including the south side of Looking Glass Rock and rows of ridgelines, remote valleys, and the high peaks of the forest’s crest. Enjoy the lookout and return the way you came.
Navigate: From the junction of NC 280, US 276, and US 64 in Pisgah Forest, go north on US 276 entering Pisgah National Forest. From the entrance, travel roughly 5.2 miles and go left on Fish Hatchery Road (FS Road 475). Travel for approximately 6 miles and park at the intersection of Gloucester Gap.