Take a Day Hike Right Out the Back Door of Tapoco Lodge
At the Tapoco Lodge in Robbinsville, North Carolina, there is an 8 mile Loop trail that makes an excellent moderate day hike. Hikers will experience Bear Creek cascading down the mountain to the Cheoah River and the pleasure of hiking along the mountain ridges surrounded by a variety of broadleaf trees for which the area is famous; Sourwood, Basswood, Oak, Maple, Tulip Poplar, Mountain Magnolia and Sassafras.
Hiking the loop trail counter clock wise is probably the most fun. You start out by walking up the paved road by the cabins and creek to the trailhead for the Tapoco Trail. Remember to take the trail map available at the front desk so that you can review this hike before you head out. Wear good hiking shoes; no sandals or flip flops in these mountains! I always take a hiking staff. The ground is rarely level here and it is easy to lose your footing. A good hiking stick can save your ankles and knees from a quick twist. The Tapoco Trail is a moderate trail that wends its way through a variety of beautiful broadleaf trees and wild flowers to Yellowhammer Gap. You can pause for a quick snack and then turn left onto the Belding Trail. This trail is high and dry so bring plenty of water with you.
For about 4.2 miles the trail twists and turns at about a 2000 foot elevation. If you are lucky, a breeze will be rustling the leaves in the trees. The Belding Trail continues on for many more miles, but to make the loop trail hike you will come to a convergence of trails that we tend to call “the gaggle”, for lack of a better term. Trail signs will indicate that you are to head back down the mountain on the Bear Creek Loop Trail connector. This trail, only .7 miles long, is cool and beautiful. Off to the right hand side is the stunning Bear Creek. It is the epitome of the mountain creek and it tumbles and cascades down the mountain until it reaches the Cheoah River. It is especially nice in the summer, because the cool running water creates an air conditioning effect that feels wonderful. The connector trail dead ends in the Bear Creek Loop Trail. Turn left and head back to the lodge. It should be about another mile and you will arrive at the trailhead for the upper Bear Creek Loop Trail and a paved road. Just walk back down the road, exactly the way you came up earlier in the day and you will be back at the Lodge, ready for a well-earned meal and a drink at SlickRock Riverside Grill.