Lover’s Leap is a popular overlook of the French Broad River and the town of Hot Springs, North Carolina. It’s a fairly short hike up from the parking area just above the Hot Springs bridge.
This is the view about halfway up which also happens to be the Appalachian Trail through here. The rocks themselves are located at a trail junction and are named (supposedly) after a Cherokee legend.
If you’ve been hiking southbound on the A.T. this would be a sudden and dramatic viewpoint. If you’ve come up from Hot Springs though it’s just a slightly clearer view of what you’ve been looking at for the last half hour. From here, we continued on the Applachian Trail which wraps around the ridge to Pump Gap. About a half mile or so from Lovers Leap there are good views up the French Broad River.
Frank Bell’s rapid – the most difficult on the commercially rafted section of the French Broad is visible way off in the distance. At Pump Gap, we followed the pump gap trail back down to the trailhead which is a pleasant hike along a stream. Actually, it’s a particularly steep descent at first and having hiked up it in the past (see the Mill Ridge entry) we can say we much prefer going down it.