The Shut-In Trail is an historic route that dates back to the late 19th century when it was created by George Vanderbilt as a connector trail to two of his estates. With its close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, this roughly 16-mile trail has many access points and is frequented by day hikers and trail runners. These numerous access points come in quite handy because few people complete the entire route in one day, as it's quite strenuous. Not only is it rather long, but there's a lot of elevation gain and loss.
It's name comes from the somewhat enclosed, "shut-in" nature of some of the mountain laurel and rhododendron tunnels. Along this route, there are some long stretches of thick green tunnel that make for a really serene and scenic hiking/running experience.
There are also many spots along the route that offer great views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, so in terms of accessibility, scenery, and popularity, this trail is a must-do. It's no wonder then that every November, trail runners enjoy the 18-mile Shut-in Ridge Run, which is a local favorite among Ashevillian athletes.