Bluff Mountain Loop Trail

At A Glance

More Difficult

3.3 mi one-way

Difficulty Rating: 5.35
Steepness: Climbs Moderately
Tread Condition: Some Obstacles
Lowest Elevation: 2640 ft
Highest Elevation: 3620 ft
Climb Total: 980 ft
Blaze Color: Yellow


Following an old logging road, Bluff Mountain Loop trail winds its way up the West Fork Shut-In Creek drainage to an elevation of just over 3600 ft. It passes through a forest of mainly mixed hardwoods, including Tuliptree, Read and White Oak, Black Cherry, Red Maple and Sugar Maple. This lush north slope of Bluff Mountain sports dozens of big, round boulders capped with moss and ferns. There are (true-to-name) bluffs and boulder fields around just about every turn. The trail crosses the West Fork Shut-In Creek and several of its tributaries in an area of pretty cascades, and it the sound of running water is never far away. Abundant with wildflowers in Spring, this trail offers something for all seasons.


From the junction of NC 209 and US 70 in Hot Springs, NC, take US 70 West for 3 miles to Upper Shut In Rd. Turn left and follow Upper Shut In Rd. for 4.1 miles - this portion is paved. Turn left onto the gravel road at the National Forest sign for the Betty Place Trail. The parking area is just a few yards up the gravel road.

Note: the gravel road may be a little too rough for some passenger cars with very low clearance, but most vehicles should make it OK if you take it slowly.

Intersecting Trails

  • Betty Place
  • This trail is located in the Hot Springs area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Hot Springs trails list page.

    All Photos from the Trail

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    GPS Map

    Map Information

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    Data Formats

    KML (Google Earth)

    KML is the main file type used by Google Earth. If you have Google Earth installed, clicking the KML link should open the trail or point directly in Google Earth for viewing. This is the native file format used by Google Earth, but many other map applications can use and understand KML as well, so if you're not sure which one to download, KML is a good bet.


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    GeoJSON is a newer, lightweight data exchange format which can be used to quickly share map data and may have a smaller size than KML or GPX. Many professional mapping and GIS applications support the GeoJSON format.

    About the Map


    Base Layers

    Base layers provided by OpenStreetMap, the US Geological Survey, the US Forest Service, and NC OneMap. Base layer images are subject to the respective copyright policies of their owners. Base layers may not be available at all times due to system maintenance or outages.

    WNCOutdoors Base Layer

    The WNCOutdoors Base layer is provided by It is licensed by Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

    Trail and Marker Overlays

    Trail layers and downloadable data are all original works created by WNCOutdoors with guidance from a variety of sources, including ensembles of our own GPS tracks, user contributed GPS tracks, official maps and GIS data from government agencies, and field observations. WNCOutdoors data is made freely available under the Open Database License - you are free to copy and use it for any purpose under the terms of that license (summary).


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    Trail Segments

    Trails are often made up of several connecting paths which may have different characteristics, allowed uses, and seasons. This trail is divided into multiple segments as follows:

    Bluff Mountain Loop - East Leg

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 1.66 mi

    Bluff Mountain Loop - West Leg

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 1.18 mi

    Bluff Mountain Loop - Betty Place - Parking to Split

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 85 ft

    Bluff Mountain Loop - Betty Place - West Leg

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 0.43 mi

    Total Calculated Length: 3.29 mi

    This value is derived from our underlying map data, and it may not match officially published information.



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