Bailey Mountain Preserve

4.4 Miles – Moderate

Located in Mars Hill, the summit hike at the Bailey Mountain Preserve is known as the Richard L Hoffman Trail and begins just past the kiosk on the north side of the parking lot. 

Trail Description

The hike begins with a scenic ascent through the Smith Property pasture. This open area is excellent for bird-watchers and is home to a wide range of biodiversity. As the trail enters the forest, hikers are greeted with a swinging bench that looks back at the Smith Property. This is a great spot to catch your breath for a moment before beginning more challenging climbs.

After entering the forest, mile markers can be found on the trail every 1/4 mile and yellow blazes indicate you’re on the right trail. The trail winds upwards, and after the 1/4 mile marker there is a breath-taking clearing and bench to capture one last look at the Heritage Farmstead before continuing deeper into the forest.

The single-track trail gently continues ascending before beginning a series of switchbacks. Benches are available to rest nearly every 1/2 mile. Hikers will encounter sections of the trail carefully fitted with stone steps. Be sure to take caution when treading.

Approximately 2 miles into the hike, the trail turns and begins a steeper climb to the summit. Before long, hikers will reach the summit bench as well as the Bailey Mountain signature book. Be sure to sign your name and leave a note about your adventure at the Bailey Mountain Preserve! 

After reaching the summit with an elevation of 3,554 feet, hikers can turn around and begin the descent back to the parking lot at the Smith Property following the yellow-blazed trail they came up on.

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Spectacular view while hiking the Richard L. Hoffman Trail.

**CONSTRUCTION NOTICE** – To access the trails of Bailey Mountain Preserve while the Smith Farm Park is undergoing improvements, please park in temporary lot at the dip in the road off of Forest Street. Follow the mown path marked BLUE across to the far corner of the field. Cross the temporary bridge over a creek and follow the tree line until the trail turns left into the woods and intersects with the green trail, which connects to the Hoffman Trail marked YELLOW leading to the summit. PLEASE ABIDE BY SIGNAGE AND DO NOT CROSS ANY CONSTRUCTION BARRIERS OR FENCING.

PLEASE NOTE: Respecting nature is an essential responsibility we bear as inhabitants of this planet. By treating nature with reverence and care, we acknowledge its intrinsic value and the profound impact it has on our lives. It involves mindful consumption, minimizing waste, and adopting eco-friendly alternatives. Embracing nature’s beauty and power, we strive to preserve its pristine landscapes, clean air, and pure waters for future generations. Please be mindful when hiking our trails, rafting our rivers and exploring our beautiful mountains. Please leave no trace and respect the nature of Madison County, North Carolina during your visit. Click here to find out more about respecting nature in Madison County, NC.

Smith Property Heritage Farmstead

These fascinating barns are part of the history of rural Appalachia and Madison County, NC. Each of these unique barns was constructed for a specific purpose in order to serve the agricultural needs of the family that owned it. Learn about how these incredible barns were used at the detailed kiosks located at each of the barns.

To find out more information about the Smith Farm Heritage Farmstead or the Appalachian Barn Alliance, visit:


Driving from Asheville: Take I-26 W towards Weaverville for 16 miles. Take exit 11 and turn left towards Mars Hill/Marshall/NC-213. After 1 mile turn right onto N. Main Street, and shortly after turn left onto Bailey Street. In approximately 1/4 mile, turn left onto Hickory Drive. 1/4 mile further, turn right onto Forest Street. The entrance and parking to the Bailey Mountain Preserve and Smith Property will be located on your left after 1 mile. GPS Address – 885 Forest Street, Mars Hill, NC 28754