The Green River Game Lands contains a network of nine marked trails, including the Green River Cove Trail. This 6.5 mile out-and-back hike is moderately difficult with 350 feet of change in elevation. This trek offers multiple breathtaking views of the glistening Green River, along with lush plant life and views of the mountains across the river. The game lands are also home to various rare plant and animal species, as well as one of the highest densities of nesting birds in North Carolina.

Conserving Carolina has helped to expand the Green River Game Lands, so there’s more public land for you to enjoy. This includes a 600-acre addition at Little White Oak Mountain in 2019 and a potential addition of 78 more acres in Saluda. By expanding this protected forest, we are helping to protect the abundant biodiversity of the Game Lands.

This hike is part of Conserving Carolina’s and WPA’s White Squirrel Hiking Challenge 6, which takes you to 8 amazing hikes on protected land. Take the challenge to discover some great places! 

Length: 6.5 mile out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderate

Great for: Hiking, Bird Watching, Wildflowers, Views, Wildlife

How to Get to the Green River Cove Trailhead

The address for this trailhead is 3851 Green River Cove Rd, Saluda, NC 28773.

Parking and Finding the Trail

The Green River Cove Trail does not have a designated parking lot, but you can park at a pull-off along Green River Cove Road or along the side of the road. The trail starts on the north side of the road just past the bridge. Look for a gravel driveway directly across Green River Cove Road from the pull-off. Walk a short distance down this gravel drive until you see a trail to your left. There is no kiosk or trail signage, but it will be an obvious trail to your left, less than 50 feet down the gravel road. Please do not trespass on private property by continuing down the gravel drive.

Map of the Green River Cove Hike

This map of the Green River Cove Hike comes from All Trails. You can see more information from All Trails here or by clicking on this map.

What to Look for on the Green River Cove Hike

  • Multiple outlook trails offering picturesque views of the river rapids
  • Views of the mountains across from the Green River
  • Abundant wildlife, including salamanders, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and bobcats
  • Rare plant and animal species
  • Ideal birdwatching conditions, as the game lands contain one of the highest densities of nesting birds in North Carolina

Hiking the Green River Cove Trail

This trail is part of the 14,000+ acre Green River Game Lands, which is state-owned public land managed by North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

The Green River Cove Trail is a moderate 6.5 mile out-and-back hike. The trek takes you alongside a flowing river and through a secluded forest with a moderate 350 foot change in elevation. This trail offers multiple outlook trails branching off of the main trail, offering clear landscape views of the Green River.

Be prepared. Bring plenty of food and water, and wear layers.

Once you arrive at the parking area, cross the road to reach the trailhead. As you begin your hike, be ready for a steep incline up a bank with steps and a handrail to assist your climb. About 2.75 miles into the trail, you will reach an intersection with Pulliam Creek Trail. Continue left and follow the blue blazes to reach the end of the Green River Cove Trail and to catch a rewarding view of the narrows of Green River.

Green River Game Lands Trail Ethics

  • Dogs must be leashed at all times
  • Remove any and all waste
  • No collecting of flora, fauna, or any other natural items
  • Stay on the trail at all times
  • Horseback riding is prohibited
  • Hunting rules may vary based on season (learn more here)

Complete the White Squirrel Hiking Challenge 6

This hike is part of Conserving Carolina’s and WPA’s White Squirrel Hiking Challenge 6. This challenge takes you to 8 amazing places that Conserving Carolina helped protect, enhance, or open to the public. They are there for you to enjoy so get out and explore them! The challenge takes you to the highest waterfall in the eastern U.S., new trails in the Hickory Nut Gorge, and much more. Check out all eight hikes! 

The challenge is sponsored by Witherspoon Platt and Associates, a conservation focused real estate firm. We are grateful for their strong support of conservation!

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