Laurel River Trail

Posted By on October 20, 2020

Laurel River Trail

9.73 miles; 7 feet ascent; Marshall, NC

Oh, wow, what a beautiful trail! And considering it’s in the mountains of Western North Carolina, it’s a remarkably flat trail, too, with only 7 total feet of ascent. It follows the Laurel River out to its confluence with the French Broad River. Again, though, AllTrails said it was 7 miles out and back, and uh, no… More like almost 10.

Old Train Cars

Right off the bat on this trail you look right and up to see a red train caboose and a black rail car. The sign declares them to be the “Hager Family Trains.” Several whole minutes of searching on the intertubes turned up absolutely nothing about them. I thought they might be a cute little VRBO or AirBNB, but like I said, nothing turned up.

Glorious Asters

There are still tons of flowering asters out, and some Snakeroot, and Self-Heal… Amazing the amount of stuff there is to see flowering this late in the year.

Laurel River

The river this trail follows is beautiful. Lots of whitewater sections. Apparently this trail used to be a rail line (which explains its flatness!) which brought logs to a sawmill that used to exist down near the French Broad River.

Rail Line and French Broad River

You can just see the far bank of the French Broad River from here. This is basically where the Laurel Trail, and the Laurel River, end.


On the way back I noticed this HUUUUGGEE mushroom. The biggest was was seriously the diameter of my car’s steering wheel, no lie. I didn’t come up with an definite ID, but I thought it looked like an old Dryad’s Saddle. If that’s what it is, I had no idea they got so big.

You can find out more about the Laurel River Trail from this Romantic Asheville page. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track. NOTE: the linked track is for one-way. I recorded the return trip separately.


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