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With little elevation change, this well-marked loop is one of the best hikes in Pisgah National Forest.
Pack a lunch and bring your dog along on this beautiful hike through the historic Pink Beds Valley.
Despite the name, the Forest Service says the name is "more historical than descriptive," though expect plenty of mountain laurel and rhododendron along the way. To begin the loop, park at the Pink Beds Picnic Area off of US-276, just a short drive from Brevard or the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Follow the trail marker to the first intersection.
From here, you could hike the loop in either direction, though most typically choose clockwise. The northern side of the loop follows an old road and is quite wide, as the trail passes through several small wildlife fields.
These clearings give way to some views of the surrounding mountains. At the intersection with Barnett Branch Trail, continue straight to complete the 5-mile loop.
Should you wish for a shorter loop, take the right turn and return to the trailhead along the southern portion of the loop. Continuing through the intersection, follow the orange blazes as the trail narrows and turns to singletrack.
Enjoy the beautiful rhododendron that lines the way as the trail takes a right and begins to parallel the South Fork of Mills River. Along the south side of this loop, the trail crosses the river several times via a series of bridges.
After a rain, expect that you may still get your feet wet as low spots tend to hold water.
Approaching a long boardwalk, enjoy the views of the surrounding bog as the loop makes its way back to the trailhead, rounding out the hike. Sources: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recarea/?recid=48238