Access Special Backpacker.com Features, Register Now!

Asheville, NC: Cedar Rock Loop

Climbing granite slickrock to a highpoint above DuPont State Forest, this 4.4-mile loop jogs back down into a dense forest toward a trailside swimming hole.

Rating

At just 4.4 miles, this loop through DuPont State Forest samples a bit of everything this lesser-used North Carolina trail system has to offer. You’ll find sustained sections of granite slabs, a white pine and hemlock forest with a diverse floral population, and solitary riverside swimming holes.   Start heading east (past the junction with Longside Trail) and pick up the Big Rock Trail, heading north along cobblestone singletrack crowded by rhododendron. The trail soon opens up into a broad cairn-finding quest up exposed slabs of granite slickrock (dotted with moss and lichen). Just 0.8 mile in, the trail tops out at a granite clearing on Cedar Rock, where high-summer hikers can enjoy fresh blueberries and views of neighboring ridgelines. Dropping back down into a diverse deciduous forest, the hike wanders along the Little River before detouring south down to the Corn Mill Shoals, an idyllic swimming hole (complete with water slide) just down stream from DuPont’s popular falls. Soak it all in (and soak in it) before hiking 1.1 miles back to the trailhead. -Mapped by Tim Johnson

To Trailhead

From Asheville, take I-26 E to exit 40 and turn right on NC 280 toward Brevard. In 16.0 miles, turn left (east) onto US 64. In roughly 3.7 miles, turn right onto Crab Creek Rd. Continue approximately 2.4 miles, and turn right onto Cascade Lake Rd. Go 6.9 miles to the Corn Mills Shoals Access Area on the right.

Leave a Reply