Distance: 6.5 miles round-trip
Winding through the Green River Gorge in Polk County, this relatively low-elevation hike makes for an ideal winter outing. The footpath overlooks the Green River and fords several small streams, meanders over low ridges, and cuts through a mixed hardwood and floodplain forest rich with biodiversity. Birdwatchers will enjoy this public game land that’s home to among the highest density of nesting birds in North Carolina, including quail, ruffed grouse, and many species of songbirds.
From the trailhead, the path soon feels secluded. The route features a few short spur trails that reach picturesque river views, the best of which occurs where the trail terminates after a short but steep descent to a dazzling scene. Exit the rim of the forest and rock hop to a bend along the river just downstream from an isolated section of the waterway known as the Narrows. For safety, be aware of current hunting rules and seasons. Retrace your steps to the trailhead to complete the 6.5-mile out-and-back hike.
Navigate: From I-26 near Saluda, take exit 59 and turn left onto Holbert Cove Road. In 0.1 mile, turn left on Green River Cove Road. In 3.8 miles, park in the turnoff on the right just beyond the bridge. The trailhead is across the road.