Length: 7.2 miles Rating: Strenuous
From Gloucester Gap the trail climbs to Pilot Mountain, a former fire tower site with a 360-degree view. In mid-May the north side of Pilot Mountain is abloom with pinkshell azalea. There is a shelter and spring at Deep Gap. The trail then climbs to the Blue Ridge Parkway, winding through a mature upland hardwood forest. From the Parkway it is a steep climb to Silvermine Bald where there is a transition from a hardwood forest to a spruce-fir forest. Grass balds and an abundance of catawba rhododendron make this a good spot to hike in late June when these showy shrubs bloom. Near Silvermine Bald the Mountains-to-Sea Trail splits to the west while the Art Loeb Trail follows the ridge northeast to FS Road 816.
Directions: Start from Gloucester Gap, which is 4.5 miles west of the State Fish Hatchery on FS Road 475. (It is not recommended to leave cars overnight here.)