Friday, February 27, 2009

Fastpacking the Art Loeb Trail

The 34 miles and approximately 10,000 ft of elevation gain on the Art Loeb trail makes it a popular backpacking trail located in Pisgah National Forest. Typically hikers take 2-3 days to backpack the length of the trail, while taking in its stunning views from Tennet Mountain, Black Balsam Knob, and Pilot Mountain. The trail begins at Daniel Boone Campground and ends at the Davidson River Campground both located in Pigah National Forest. Traditionally backpacker’s camp at sites such as Ivestor Gap, Deep Gap Shelter, and Butter Gap Shelter as these are some of the only water sources directly on the trail. Over the years more and more people are beginning to tackle the Art Loeb and its 34 miles and approx. 10,000 ft of elevation in a day. It is a formidable challenge but can be done by any individual with a high level of fitness, experience, and planning. Depending on your fitness level the trek takes between 8-14 hours, so an early morning start is recommended. If you are ready to challenge yourself with this adventure here are a few tips:

Make sure you let someone know of your plans

Provide yourself with a bailout option if you begin to have trouble

Research the trail and what you can expect in regards to water sources and navigation choices.

A minimum of these ten essentials should be carried during this adventure

Lightweight day pack
MSR dromedary bladder
Lightweight headlamp
Emergency blanket/ first aid
Comfortable socks and sturdy Trail running shoes
Food of your choice
Lightweight but effective rain gear
Middle layer
Winter hat
Pisgah Ranger District Map and Compass

Article written by Joe Moerschbaecher of Pura Vida Adventures, Pura Vida Adventures offers Art Loeb Trail Shuttles, Guided day hikes of the Art Loeb trail, and multi day backpacking and slackpacking trips of the Art Loeb Trail. Please contact us at 772-579-0005 or

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