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Sycamore Cove Loop


A short, quiet trail running loop near town.

Trail Running Moderate

5.9 km
191 m
191 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
653 m
High Point
835 m
Sycamore Cove Loop Map

Whether you're camping at the Davidson River Campground, or a local looking to break up a monotonous afternoon, this is an excellent short run less than a 5-minute drive from the entrance of Pisgah National Forest. Bring the entire family along, including the dog, and enjoy the lush, serene flora that blanket the mountainside. Though close to town, Johnson Mountain separates the cove from town and this loop has a much more remote feel than you would imagine.


The run can be characterized into two portions. When run clockwise, you begin with a steady climb that follows Starnes Branch upward into the cove. The trail crosses it multiple times, but most can be tackled without getting your feet wet. Beautiful mountain laurel and rhododendron line the path as well and are particularly spectacular in the spring and summer. Large hemlock trees are also prevalent along this stretch.

Keep right at the junction with Grassy Road Trail. The return portion of the run hugs the contours of the mountain and offers some seasonal views of nearby peaks - including Pilot Mountain. Enjoy the vast selection of flora and fauna that blanket the trail, especially near the top of the ridge. Much of the area was logged in the early 1900's and now defined by a new growth hardwood forest.

Sources: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recreation/recarea/?recid=48338&actid=50 https://www.hikewnc.info/trails/davidson-river/sycamore-cove



Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area