Lovers Leap

Hot Springs, North Carolina 28743

Lovers Leap

Lovers Leap Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This hike leaves the trail town of Hot Springs and makes a loop, passing cliffs above the French Broad River, where you can soak in an historic view from Lovers Leap.

First, trek along a narrow mountain stream where spring flowers abound. Meet the famed AT, then join Lovers Leap Ridge. Trace the AT atop this narrow spine as the brawny French Broad flows hundreds of feet below."

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Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best of the Appalachian Trail Day Hikes (Menasha Ridge Press)
Leonard M. Adkins & Victoria and Frank Logue
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"This short, sometimes steep hike leads to Lovers Leap, which provides outstanding views of the French Broad River and the town of Hot Springs, North Carolina. There is a 500-foot drop from Lovers Leap to the river below. The rock’s name is said to date back to a Native American maiden who threw herself from the cliff after learning her lover had been killed by a jealous beau. The hike begins in the town of Hot Springs, where the A.T. passes through town on a sidewalk alongside the main street. There is a 1,000-foot change in elevation from the town to the overlook, making this a difficult, though short, hike."
Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina (The Mountaineers Books)
Karen Chavez
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"The whole loop is a treat to hike with different features offered at every turn, but this first section might be the most enjoyable for dogs. Lined in shady maples, oaks, river birches, sourwoods, and tulip poplars, the trail runs right along the French Broad River. The view of the river is so pretty you might forget to watch your footing, but the trail is rocky and uneven in places. The walking gets more difficult and strenuous, so be sure your dog is a nimble, energetic hiker before starting out."
Best Hikes of the Appalachian Trail South (Menasha Ridge Press)
Johnny Molloy
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"Enjoy a hike to a cliff top and a river view, starting at the trail town of Hot Springs, an officially designated Appalachian Trail Community. First, hike up a small mountain stream to a gap and the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Trace the A.T. along Lovers Leap Ridge above the French Broad River."
Five-Star Trails-Asheville-2nd Edition (Menasha Ridge Press)
Jennifer Pharr Davis
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"Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and beside the French Broad River, the quaint town of Hot Springs anchors the Lover’s Leap hike. Th e route follows the renowned Appalachian Trail (AT) beside the river and then presents a strenuous climb to Lover’s Leap overlook. This rocky outcropping provides views of Hot Springs, the serpentine French Broad, and the distant ridgeline of the North Carolina–Tennessee border. Past Lover’s Leap, the trail travels along the ridgeline before intersecting Pump Gap Trail. Th e route then follows Pump Gap Trail and weaves through the remnants of an old silver mining operation on its way back to the trailhead."

Lovers Leap Trip Reports

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Lovers Leap Photos

Trail Information

Hot Springs
Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
2.5 hours
Views, Wildflowers
Pisgah National Forest, Appalachian Ranger District, 632 Manor Rd., Mars Hill, NC 28754, (828) 689-9694,
Local Contacts
National Geographic #782 French Broad & Nolichucky Rivers, Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests; USGS Hot Springs
Local Maps

Trail Log