Begin by taking Lover's Leap Trail from Silvermine Trailhead parking area and follow it to the first major switchback. Pump Gap Trail goes straight and Lover's Leap Trail continues to the right. The trail follows a stream and then forks. This is the beginning and ending point of the loop section. So either fork can be taken. The easiest route is to bear right at the fork. The trail climbs to a ridge, crosses the Appalachian Trail, then descends along a creek. (At the trail's low point along this creek, a side trail to the right follows an old road to Big Laurel Creek - about 3/4 mile away.) Pump Gap Loop Trail continues straight and begins to climb. It merges with the Appalachian Trail and follows a short section of a closed gravel road. The trail leaves the road on the left then descends steeply along a stream and comes to the fork where the loop section began. From here, the trail continues to its intersection with Lover's Leap Trail, which returns to the Silvermine trailhead parking area. Pump Gap Loop Trail also provides access to Big Laurel Creek and the Mill Ridge area.
Directions: From Hot Springs, NC, Travel east on US 25 / 70 across the French Broad River bridge. Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn left onto SR 1304. Turn left at the first intersection and follow the signs to the Silvermine trailhead parking area.
Elevation Gain: 1,100 feet
Distance: 4.2 miles
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Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
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