Lost Cove Wilderness: Lost Cove Trail 

Trek through the proposed Lost Cove Wilderness on the trail through the valley for which it was named. Waterfalls, swim pools, wildlife, and views of Grandfather Mountain are a few of the highlights to enjoy.

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Author: electrotimbo
Date: 4 Apr 2009 9:30:00 AM
Activity: Backpacking
State: North Carolina (NC)
Distance: 8.2 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 2796 ft
Total Loss: 3400 ft
Net Change: -604 ft
Difficulty: 6 / 10
USGS Topo Map: Grandfather Mountain
Tags: Collettsville, Hunt Fish Falls, Linville, Lost Cove, Lost Cove Creek, North Carolina, Roseborough, Wilson Creek
Rating:   2 rating(s) Rate it

 This is essentially a loop trail which utilizes a section of the MST along the way that is usually done as an overnighter.  The trail mostly follows Gragg Prong to its convergence with Lost Cove Creek (Mountains-to-Sea section) where it continues along the creek to the NW passing Hunt Fish Falls and the trail of the same name (USFS#263).  At the junction with FR464A (old gated road) beyond Little Lost Cove Creek and falls, cross creek to NE to campsites. Day 2 continue up switchbacks to Bee Mountain where you'll follow Timber Ridge to the SE.  At the intersection with the Timber Ridge Trail take a left to the N/NE on a mostly decending trail back to the LCT trailhead.

CAUTION: This loop should only be attempted in fair weather as heavy rains will make creek crossings (nearly a dozen fast-moving and normally knee deep) risky if not impossible.  In any case bring extra socks and be prepared to get wet!

FROM NORTH: NC 181 to Blue Ridge Parkway north - Right on NC1511 (Roseborough Rd) 4 miles to junction w/ FS981 - Cross bridge at FS192 (Gragg Prong Rd) & Park on right across from FS192
FROM SOUTH: NC90 west from Mortimer - Left on FS981 to junction w/ FS192 - Park on left across from FS192

Position Format: Datum:

Lost Cove Trail

Distance: 7.57 mi Points: 695
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
7.5 mile Loop, white/blue or pink blaze, FS#262

Hunt-Fish Falls Trail

Distance: 0.63 mi Points: 123
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Descend 0.7 miles from parking area on FR464 for access to this loop from the south. USFS#263

Points of Interest


Location: 36.031471, -81.803062
From Mortimer Rec Area on FR 981, Parking spot will be on left just before bridge and Junction with FR 192.

Trail Start/End

Location: 36.031714, -81.803641
Cross bridge, turn left on short jeep road, pick up MST (white/blue blaze) in downstream corner of meadow. Follow Gragg Prong and expect to cross the creek several (4) times.


Location: 36.020746, -81.793202
@1.2 miles perfect swim holes, sunning rocks, falls

Lost Cove Creek

Location: 36.012733, -81.793277
Trail will turn right and upstream along Lost Cove Creek.

Timber Ridge Trail Junction

Location: 36.012675, -81.793728
@ 2.3 miles junction with Timber Ridge Trail (FS261) to R (N) which is its eastern terminus. Continue straight on LCT/MST along Lost Cove Creek to Hunt Fish Falls.

Popular Campsites

Location: 36.015811, -81.796871
Very nice but popular (overused) campsites along flattest area you may find along the creek. Good swimming opportunities.

Hunt Fish Falls

Location: 36.013838, -81.803834
Photo Op. Nice swim hole in summer.

Hunt Fish Trail Junction (263)

Location: 36.013491, -81.805337
South and uphill from here will lead out to FS464 via Hunt Fish Falls Trail (263). Same trail to the north leads to Timber Ridge Trail.

Creek Crossing - New Blaze

Location: 36.013630, -81.805551
Cross creek above main falls and continue to the left to pick up a PINK blaze (yes pink) which will remain the trail blaze for the remainder of this loop.

Log Bridge

Location: 36.014943, -81.810690
The only bridge on this loop, single log with a hand-rail.

Trail Turn

Location: 36.017512, -81.816280
At a double blazed creek crossing make a left up the creek bed. If you don't turn you are likely to see a log across the trail with a carving which says "Turn Back" beyond which the trail fades away. Turn left instead and look for the pink blaze beyond yet another creek crossing.

Little Lost Cove Creek

Location: 36.022690, -81.826526
Obvious crossing of tributary away from main creek.

FS 464A

Location: 36.027329, -81.831536
Gated fire road ends here after descending approximately 2 miles from FS 464. Cross creek for last time here.


Location: 36.027462, -81.831193
After last creek crossing at very large cairn in creekbed (and the dead-end of FR464A), you'll find several campsites to choose from with easy access to water and deadfall for firewood. Day 2 follow the pink blaze to head up well maintained switchbacks toward Bee Mountain.

Old Trail Junction - Bee Mountain

Location: 36.032373, -81.823930
Forest Service Rd/old trail junction, follow ridge (R) to SE around Bee Mountain. Continuing straight or left would take you onto private land. Don't go there.

Unknown Trail Junction

Location: 36.028116, -81.820207
Yellow Blaze, not specifically shown on local maps. Large campsite here on ridge but no water readily available

TImber Ridge Trail Junction (261)

Location: 36.023098, -81.811087
Turn Left here to return to LCT trailhead. Junction is with the western end of the Timber Ridge Trail. Continuing straight would return to confluence of Gragg Prong and Lost Cove Creek at the eastern end of Timber Ridge Trail.

FR464 Access

Location: 36.007520, -81.801281
Southern Access to Lost Cove Loop via Hunt-Fish Falls Trail (USFS#263)

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