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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
Known as one of the best backpacking routes within Pisgah National Forest, the Art Loeb Trail traverses from Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp, across Shining Rock Ridge, and into the valley below, where it ends near the popular tourist town of Brevard.
At roughly 30 miles, the route is often taken over a period of two or three days, or one for an experienced ultrarunner.
Multiple lean-to shelters and countless primitive camping areas make it a great route to highlight some of the best Appalachian balds in the region. Beginning at Daniel Boone Camp Ground, at 4 miles in, there is a spur trail that leads to the summit of Cold Mountain, the first peak along the Shining Rock Ridge.
The Black Balsam region of the trail is known for its bald summits and wide panoramic views.
Two-thirds of the way through the hike, the trail skirts the base of Cedar Rock Mountain--a highlight due to a large bald rock face frequented by climbers. The majority of the trail is marked with white blazes or written trail markers.
Within the boundaries of the Shining Rock Wilderness, trail blazes are minimal.
Familiarize yourself with the major intersections to ensure you stay on the trail.
Several adjacent trails lead to other popular landmarks, but could spur several miles off route if not careful.
After passing a paved road that leads to the Black Balsam/Sam's Knob parking area, the Art Loeb merges with the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) for a short stretch.
The trail is denoted with a white blaze and white dot for this stretch.
Near the top of Silvermine Bald, the Art Loeb takes a sharp left and descends towards the Blue Ridge Parkway, where it crosses and continues towards Farlow Gap.
From here, the remainder of the trail is marked very well as it continues through multiple gaps and several smaller mountains.