For a short little jaunt with some spectacular views of the town of Hot Springs, the French Broad River, and the surrounding mountains, Lover’s Leap hike is a perfect option. At 1.6 miles round trip, you’ll even get to say that you hiked on part of the Appalachian Trail. From the Silvermine trailhead parking lot, head up the mountain on the Lover’s Leap Trail until it intersects with the Appalachian Trail. Take a right on the Appalachian Trail to loop back around to the road back to the parking lot. The highlight of the trail is the view from the rock outcroppings at the top of the loop – remember your trail safety so you don’t accidentally take the “Leap”! After the descent, there is also a nice flat section that parallels the river before you complete the loop.
Directions: Take I-26W/US-19N/US-23N to exit 19A for US-25N/US-70W towards Marshall and Hot Springs. Take a left to continue on US-25/US-70 heading toward Hot Springs. Immediately before crossing the bridge over the French Broad River, turn left onto SR 1304. Turn left at first intersection and follow the signs to Silvermine trailhead parking area. (GPS N35 53.356, W82 48.711)
Local Hiking Expert: Mast General Store
15 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC