Asheville: Little Lost Cove Cliffs Loop - Backpacker

Asheville: Little Lost Cove Cliffs Loop

This 4.6-mile loop gets two thumbs up for its rushing cascades, sweet campsites, and two fine viewpoints overlooking Pisgah National Forest.

Mapped by Tim Johnson

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.4


Campsites below the falls

Location: 36.0032844543457, -81.8399047851562

©Tim Johnson

Above the drop

Location: 36.0044555664062, -81.8406753540039

©Tim Johnson

North Harper Creek Falls

Location: 36.0040512084961, -81.8402252197266

©Tim Johnson

Top of Falls

Location: 36.0048713684082, -81.841423034668

©Tim Johnson

Middle of falls

Location: 36.0047187805176, -81.8411102294922

©Tim Johnson

Second stream crossing

Location: 36.0071144104004, -81.8418273925781

©Tim Johnson

Stream Crossing

Location: 36.0071601867676, -81.8479080200195

©Tim Johnson


Location: 36.0116920471191, -81.8499984741211

©Tim Johnson

View looking west

Location: 36.0113563537598, -81.8356094360352

©Tim Johnson

View looking north

Location: 36.0114250183106, -81.8352279663086

Grandmother and Grandfather Mtns. in the distance. ©Tim Johnson

View looking east

Location: 36.0117568969727, -81.8323669433594

©Tim Johnson

Approaching the overlook

Location: 36.0111122131348, -81.8355865478516

©Tim Johnson

Old Apple Orchard

Location: 36.0119590759277, -81.829719543457

©Tim Johnson

Trail Sign

Location: 36.0104484558106, -81.8258361816406

©Tim Johnson

Old Homesite

Location: 36.0102920532227, -81.8269424438476

©Tim Johnson

Open Woods

Location: 36.0092277526856, -81.8293838500976

©Tim Johnson


Location: 36.006950378418, -81.8511276245117

Descend E on steps, following winding trail along USFS boundary (marked with red paint) into bed of North Harper Creek. Wear waterproof shoes; four crossings ahead


Location: 36.0071792602539, -81.8480224609375

Rock-hop across creek and continue along steep, slick hillside. Scan tree trunks for horizontal rows of small holes made by yellow-bellied sapsucker, a winter visitor


Location: 36.0071105957031, -81.8418731689453

Second crossing over clear, rushing creek; next ford in .1 mi. among black birches (jagged, spearmint-flavored leaves)


Location: 36.0051193237305, -81.8413619995117

Stick with blue-blazed N. Harper Creek Trail (266) as it heads L away from river. On R, short side trail leads to opening @ top of 200-ft. falls sliding over a sloping rock face


Location: 36.0045890808106, -81.8392333984375

Go R @ 3-way downhill; follow double-blazed trail


Location: 36.0032806396484, -81.8395462036133

Turn R on unmarked trail through a tunnel of rhododendron


Location: 36.0041732788086, -81.8403091430664

N. Harper Creek Falls spills 25 ft. into pool. Return to WPT 5 and go R; in 1 mi., pass chimney of old homestead. Overnighters: Good campsite near falls


Location: 36.0104103088379, -81.825813293457

L @ 3-way onto Little Lost Cove Cliffs Trail (271A); traverse crest of Long Ridge. Near top of Little Lost Cove Cliffs is old orchard filled with sassafras


Location: 36.0114517211914, -81.8324432373047

Side trail to overlook; Grandmother, Grandfather Mtns. in distance


Location: 36.0111999511719, -81.8354034423828

Spur on R leads to granite knob for hike's best views over Big Lost Cove Ridge, Sassafras Knob, rolling Blue Ridge to N


Location: 36.0119094848633, -81.8438262939453

L @ T on gravel FR 464


Location: 36.009880065918, -81.8527069091797

L @ Y onto FR 58 near picnic/camping area. Cross bridge over tributary; return .3 mi. to trailhead