Laurel River TR 310
Laurel River Trail begins on a gravel road through private property. Hikers, bikers, and campers should stay on the trail to ensure the privacy of landowners along the route. After one mile, the trail enters the national forest and continues at a fairly level grade to the French Broad River. The trail is especially scenic in early spring when there are many wildflowers blooming along the path and riverbanks. Bikers will find the Laurel River Trail an easy ride, however, some short sections of the trail are a bit rocky and care should be taken when passing through these areas.
The trail follows Big Laurel Creek on an old railroad bed that used to carry logs to the Runion sawmill that operated in the 1920's. In its heyday, Runion was home to more than 1,000 people. Brick chimneys and crumbling foundations still remain.
Total Length: 3.6 miles
Total Elevation Change: 220 feet
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Beginning Point: U.S. 25/70
Ending Point: French Broad River
Average Hiking Time: 1.5 hours (one way)
Amount of Use: Moderate
Blaze Color: Yellow
Area Trail Map: Harmon Den/Hot Springs Trail Map
USGS Quad Map: Hot Springs
From Burnsville, travel west on NC 19E and merge onto I-26E. Take exit 11 toward Mars Hill/Marshall. Turn left onto NC 213/Carl Eller Road, which leads into Marshall. Take the US 25 Bypass/US 70 ramp, merging onto US 25/US 70 heading toward Hot Springs. Trail parking is located at the intersection of SR 208 and US 25/US 70. The trail begins past the gate at the south end of the parking area.