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The Best Hikes of Pisgah National Forest

C. Franklin Goldsmith III, Shannon E.G. Hamrick, H. James Hamrick Jr.

John F. Blair, Publisher
$16.95 paperback
5 x 7  
164 pages
black-and-white photos and maps throughout
Published in 2000

From Linville Gorge to the Davidson River Valley, the land comprising Pisgah National Forest has been a source of pleasure to hikers for generations. This guide details almost 100 of the forest's finest trails, selected for their views, the waterfalls they visit, and the diversity of plant and animal life present.

The authors hiked all the trails using a hand-held GPS unit. Each trail entry includes distance, elevation gained, GPS coordinates at various points, and a detailed description of the terrain and landscape. The guide also includes maps, as well as sidebars on first aid and items of historic and botanical interest. Black-and-white photos are scattered throughout. Appendixes provide lists of loop trails, hikes for children and the elderly, half-day and full-day hikes, and trails accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway.


“This guide describes 112 national forest trails ranging from a flat, easy 0.5 mile loop to a rugged 12-mile hike one-way through Linville Gorge. The guide is organized around the major hiking areas in the national forest including Black Balsam Knob, Max Patch, Mt. Mitchell, Davidson River Valley, Linville Gorge, and Avery Creek. Each area features an excellent, detailed map copied from a USGS Topo map, driving directions (including landmarks) to the trailheads, and a detailed description of the trail. Additionally, the authors of this guide give GPS coordinates to designate trailheads, major intersections, and points of interest. With the increased popularity and availability of GPS navigation systems on the trail, the GPS coordinates add a nice touch that most guides still do not offer. This feature places this guide on the cutting edge of all hiking guides. 

Perhaps the strongest point of this guide is its versatility. In addition to the GPS feature mentioned above, this guide describes both individual trails and possible routes for loop hikes. These day loop hikes are given in addition to descriptions of the longer backpack trails in the forest, namely the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Art Loeb Trail. Hikes located near the Blue Ridge Parkway are listed separately along with a list of hikes suitable for children and a list of easier trails suitable for the elderly. All of these features and the pocket-small size of the book add up to a guide that can be used by everyone no matter what kind of hike you desire in the Pisgah National Forest.” —Amazon.com reviewer