Joyce Kilmer Loop Trail

Robbinsville , North Carolina 28771

Joyce Kilmer Loop Trail

Joyce Kilmer Loop Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This trail is comprised of two loops resembling a figure eight. The lower loop leads to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial, embedded in a large rock where the loops meet in the middle.

The upper loop then continues on, leading past even taller trees, towering overhead as you hike through Poplar Cove. The dogs enjoy several creek and tributary crossings, while you appreciate the sheer size of these massive trees."

More Joyce Kilmer Loop Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is a 3,800-acre tract now combined with the Slickrock Wilderness to form a wild and wildly popular area in the extreme southwestern mountains of North Carolina not far from the Tennessee state line. An easy figure-eight circuit comprises two trails through the mightily impressive forest of poplar, hemlock, oak, and beech, substantial portions of which are virgin."
"In most forests, you may see an old-growth tree every once in a while that causes you to stop in your tracks, crane your neck, and let loose an exclamatory, “Wow!” In the storied Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, by contrast, you may see a tree every once in a while that isn’t old growth. Odds are, though, you won’t even notice those little guys because you’ll be so overwhelmed by all the big ones. Mammoth yellow poplars standing ram-rod straight and disappearing into the sky like Jack’s beanstalk—a beanstalk 20 feet around at the base and with tree limbs 50 feet high that are bigger than the trunks on most trees back home."
Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina (The Mountaineers Books)
Karen Chavez
View more trails from this guide book
"Most hikers walk through the lush, figure-eight trail looking upward, much like tourists gawking at skyscrapers in big cities. Here, some of the old-growth eastern hemlocks and tulip poplars are more than 400 years old. They reach more than 100 feet tall and have girths up to 20 feet in diameter, making you want to wrap your arms around these gentle giants. The softly rolling trail that crosses streams and has hard-packed earth for mostly easy footing is great for dogs. Game lands surround the forest, though, so during the September through March hunting season people and dogs should wear something blaze orange or consider hiking on Sunday, when hunting is prohibited in the state."

Joyce Kilmer Loop Trail Trip Reports

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3/18/2009
Great short day hike for family. Easy trail with plenty of things to look at. The "GIANT" trees are a must see. Last place in the Appalachains to see old growth still standing from before the logging of the region.
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7/27/2007
I did this trail with my two teenagers as a break during a 9 hour drive to visit relatives. A very easy quick hike, but it's a very humid area so expect to get sweaty even though it's a quick easy hike. One of my teenagers commented that it had an ancient tropical feel to it. The easy short hike is well worth the amazing trees, I've posted a few photos from the hike at
http://gejr0405.phanfare.com/album/369620#imageID=23078929
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5/17/2004
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10/16/2003
These trees are truly amazing. The loop itself is well maintained and can easily be done by the whole family. The setting is peaceful, and you feel like you are in dense forest while only having to go 2 miles total.
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7/17/2003

This is a spectacular tho short day hike, great with the kids. The huge trees in this virgin forest are awe-inspiring. What must it have been like to have the entire eastern portion of the continent covered with giants like this 200 years ago? The trees are beyond belief for an eastern forest. They very much remind me of some of the virgin stands in the Olympic peninsula in Washington, with 15 foot diameters on many trees. It is a "must-hike" for me every time I go to western NC.
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6/14/1998
A well maitained trail and a very easy hike for outdoor lovers of all abilities and ages in the only virgin hardwood forest on the east coast. Being in the midst of those huge, ancient trees is a wonderfull experience.
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Joyce Kilmer Loop Trail Photos

Trail Information

Robbinsville
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
2
Distance
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
1 hour
Duration
Year-round
Season
2,161 feet
Trailhead Elevation
2,543 feet
Top Elevation
(828) 479-6431; www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/null/ recarea/?recid=48920&actid=70
Local Contacts
DeLorme: North Carolina Atlas & Gazetteer, page 50, B2. National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map #784 Fontana & Hiawassee Lakes, J8, Trail #43.
Local Maps