Laurel River Trail

The Laurel River Trail is one of the flattest hikes around Madison County. It’s 3.6 miles from the parking lot out to the intersection of the Big Laurel and the French Broad River. The walk is not strenuous, but you will have to watch where you put your feet as the trail is rocky in places. There are some nice pools to take a dip or soak your feet along the way.


If you walk the full 7.2 miles round trip, you reach the former town of Runion. There is still evidence of the old town. In fact, the trail you will walk on is the old railroad bed that went to Runion.

I am interested in plants and there is some wonderful plant life along the Big Laurel Creek. (I do not know why the Laurel RIVER Trail runs along the Big Laurel CREEK instead of the nearby Laurel River.)

Look at this shaggy moss. Don’t you want to roll around in that? You could, but someone might call the police – maybe just run your hands through it instead.


This trail has pretty views everywhere you look. I have heard folks say they’ve seen black bears at the river’s edge, but I have not been so lucky! Yet.


If you’d like to experience this hike, take 25/70 from I-26 in Weaverville toward Hot Springs. Go past Marshall and when you’re nearing the intersection of Highway 208 you’ll see a parking lot on the left. The trail head is on the left (south) end of the parking lot. Take the lower path, as the upper is residential private property. Enjoy your walk.