Hot Springs Area


The French Broad River and Appalachian Trail travel right through Hot Springs making the town a  haven for hikers, rafters and other outdoor enthusiasts. The Hot Springs area features 44 miles of trails with 13.4 miles designated for mountain biking.  

At a Glance

Reservations: Hot Springs Area Campgrounds:
  • Harmon Den 
  • Rocky Bluff  
Reservations Only
  • www.recreation.gov
  • 877-444-6777

General Information

General Notes:

Leave No Trace

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Camp away from trails and water.
  • Minimize campfire impacts.
  • Respect wildlife. Don't feed them.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

For more information on Leave No Trace, contact: (800) 322-4100 or visit www.int.org


General Notes:

Activities

Mountain Biking

Recreation areas with activity Mountain Biking:

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Dispersed Camping

Recreation areas with activity Dispersed Camping:

Backcountry/Dispersed/Primitive Camping

If you are seeking to disperse/primitive camp other places, there are no permits nor costs required. This is also referred to as “dispersed” and “primitive”. It is “first come, first serve” basis. The rules and policies are as follows:

  • Hike ¼ mile from trailhead
  • 100 ft from the trail itself
  • 200 ft from a water source
  • ¼ mile away from any developed rec area
  • Keep campfires small, confined, and never unattended. Do not bring in outside wood. Be sure to completely and safely extinguish flames and coals before departure.

Roadside/Dispersed Camping

On the following USFS Roads, you may ONLY park in designated spots – these are denoted by a small brown wooden sign with a white triangle (representing a tent)

  • 148 Cold Springs Creek Road- Hot Springs
  • 74 Big Ivy- Barnardsville (Closed due to Tropical Storm Damage)
  • 2074 Neals Creek- Burnsville
  • 472- South Toe River Road (Black Mountain Campground to Blue Ridge Parkway) – Burnsville (Closed due to storm damage)

 

Roadside camping is allowed along any other FS road as long as:

  • The vehicle is completely off of the road
  • You are not imposing any natural resource or archaeological area
  • You do not stay longer than 14 days
  • You are at least 200 ft from any water source

 

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:

General Info:

Permits & Regulations

Cold mountain streams, rivers and some ponds offer trout fishing. While the US Forest Service manages stream quality, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission regulates fishing seasons and limits. A state license is required for fishing. Every angler should get a copy of the Regulations Digest from the commission by calling (919) 662-4381 or from the website: www.wildlife.state.nc.us, select "regulations".


 


Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Trail Difficulty

Easy: Route is easy to find and follow; trail has a less than 8 percent grade; length is less than 3 miles; trail is mostly flat with few rocks.

Moderate: Route may or may not be blazed; most of the trail has a less than 20 percent grade; length is usually between 2 and 8 miles; trail may be rocky and have stream crossings.

Difficult: Route may require pathfinding skills; most of the trail has a 20 percent or steeper grade; length is usually more than 8 miles; trail is rocky and uneven and may have stream crossings.

General Info:

General Notes

Leave No Trace

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Camp away from trails and water.
  • Minimize campfire impacts.
  • Respect wildlife. Don't feed them.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

For more information on Leave No Trace, contact: (800) 322-4100 or visit www.int.org


Safety Information

Carry Essentials

  • Map & compass (know how to use them)
  • Sharp knife
  • Small flashlight
  • Whistle (outlasts your voice in an emergency)
  • Waterproof matches
  • First aid kit, include sunscreen
  • Water (2-3 quarts per person per day)
  • Space blanket or poncho
  • Nylon cord (for emergency shelter among other uses)
  • Extra food & clothing

Backpacking

Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

Viewing Wildlife

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Wildlife:

Viewing Plants

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Plants:

Viewing Scenery

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery:

Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities