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I completed this loop yesterday going down Mt. Mitchell trail and up Big Tom. The BHT section was a muddy mess from all the recent rain. Took me just under 4 hours to complete while taking my time. It was definitely tough and I thoroughly enjoyed it and the views were great! I'm not sure if me or my dog enjoyed it more.

Great hike. Was challenging at points but nothing crazy, was able to hike the whole thing going up without stopping. Very narrow at points so you will have to move to the side if someone is coming. Parking gets tight but you can park on the street. The only place to go to the bathroom is at the visitors lodge fyi which is at the start of the park.

hiking
2 days ago

this Trail is listed as hard but I imagine it's because there's a gradual incline most of the hike. Periodically there are sharper climbs with quicker elevation and some Slippery Rock When Wet. this hike is it should be listed as heavy moderate. when you do reach the summit and you step out onto the looking rock it'll make every one of your steps worthwhile. The view is absolutely Majestic.

Gorgeous views from the top! Worth the climb.

trail running
6 days ago

Very fun hill with a scramble at the end. Well maintained and easy to follow. Took my daughter when she was 9 and she loved it (we did this and the 7 sisters loop.) Love running down.

Can combine with other Montreat trails to make a loop and make it longer.

7 days ago

great trail! steep but great view and well marked trail.

Beautiful and tranquil. We only passed a couple of other hikers. Trail is well-marked and pretty well-maintained, though narrow. Quite steep both ways - great exercise going up but lots of slippery spots coming down... It felt like there should be more switchbacks. At the peak of Big Piney there is no viewpoint, which felt anti-climactic, though there are some other points to snag views along the way.

Tough but manageable 3-mile upward climb with an awesome view at the top. We are 51 and 62 in average shape and had no difficulty, but it did wear us out! It took about two hours to get to the top, where we stayed about 30 minutes, then another 90 minutes or so to get back down. Take lots of water. Don’t wear sandals as there are lots of tree roots and rocks to trip over. Hiking poles were useful.

Amazing!!! One of the best trails we done!

No one is kidding about the view, it's absolutely breath-taking. My fiancee and I chose this hike after seeing it across the valley from Black Balsam Knob. The hike itself starts out slow and gradually gets more difficult, after the gradual switchbacks it starts getting really rocky and the path becomes a tangle of roots, it's gets maybe a little more than a 30° incline at this point but right before you hit the top it suddenly has a downward slope. We went on a Saturday and it was pretty busy, there were lots of dogs including ours and dogs of various sizes. There were people of every age on the trail, it's not too difficult but can be a little hard on the knees. Watch out for the tree roots, they tripped me on the way down. Bring lots of water!

Just a heads up, someone had a Lost Dog notice posted on October 6, 2018. A Brittany Spaniel went missing, by the name of Jake. The number to call if you see him is 303.717.0291.

Just wanted to pass this on!

This was a great hike. Moderate to Hard as it says. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top, with a few stops to drink water and let our 7 yr dog have a break. It was about an hour and half back down. The hike up doesn’t have any views (maybe later in Fall or Winter), but the view at the top is spectacular. Would be an excellent place to bring some food for a picnic.

My only warning would be to watch what time you start this hike. The first time I did it, we started to late, and ended up hiking in pitch darkness. Watching people start the hike at 4pm in Autumn, made me think they would end up hiking in the dark as well. If you start late, just make sure to bring a flashlight or two.

hiking
15 days ago

It’s a tough climb.

Did this up and back trail in reverse starting from the BRP . Nice trail especially pretty at the top under the pines. Nice workout on the way back up. May have some views once the leaves fall. A creek with small waterfall is at the bottom.

Enjoyable hike. Previous comments about slipperiness were not exaggerated. If I do this hike again, I will go up Stompin Knob trail instead of down. I think the footing was better for going down the Big Piney trail. Either way is a good workout. Lots of mushrooms and there are still wildflowers.

hiking
19 days ago

The walk up primarily is a set of switchbacks that gradually rise across the face of the same forested slope: pretty and green, but the view doesn’t change for quite a while. When the view does change, though, it is simply breathtaking. I sat on a rock just on the outside of the main exit from the forest to have lunch and to hear people’s reactions as they emerged. Just as I had done, even having read the reviews, truly 100% vocalized some instant, quiet, and genuine, nearly spiritual, version of, “Oh, wow .”

hiking
25 days ago

The views awaiting you at the top are spectacular!!

Great hike. Gradual incline due to multitude of switchbacks. Moderately strenuous for a weekend hiker. Incredible panoramic view. Make sure to pack a lunch and plan to stay a while to enjoy the view.

Nice climb. My first goal-oriented hike. Consistent elevation rise.

on Looking Glass Rock Trail

hiking
1 month ago

As other reviewers have mentioned, the main highlight is reaching the top and getting the spectacular view of the mountains! I found it to be worth it for a day hike. There are tons of switchbacks but nothing too difficult. The trail was nice and well-maintained. Lots of shade as you are in tree cover 99% of the hike. Even though I did see what looked like a few places to camp not far from the top, I am not sure I would want to overnight camp there. Only saw a handful of people either way. Its a hike worth doing to see it for yourself!

Very clean trail, I love the hike going up. The summit is one of the the best I have seen.

Lots of up and down over a short distance. Good for cardio training. Stop for a snack on the rocky overlook at the top of Little Butt (right side as you hike away from the parking lot).

A good butt kicker...still feeling it almost 2 days later....Straight up and straight back down...
I brought my 2 dogs.. make sure your dogs are athletic

backpacking
1 month ago

It was magnificent!! An all day adventure for sure and the views are amazing. We started out early on a February morning, the air temperature was 26 degrees, no clouds in the sky, and we picked the perfect day. 200 yards into our hike we were already taking off our jackets and trying to cool off, the trail is nearly straight up. Take lots of water and snacks and enjoy this one, it’s an experience you’ll never forgot... we loved it!!

This is a steep climb to a nice view of the southern Smokies! Did it Labor Day weekend when trees were green, but I bet the view is even better in the fall. I also bet it's an easier climb in the cooler weather. Could be worth packing a lunch to eat at the top!

I underestimated how steep this trail would be. You can also access this trail at the head at the campground on S Toe Rd. The hard rating is true, but I loved the challenging hike. The tower at the top was a highlight. Would love to come back to this trail again!

hiking
1 month ago

The trail is definitely on the moderate to hard end of the spectrum. There were people of all ages on the trail. My husband and I are in our late 20s but I saw children, as well as elderly making the trek to the top. The steady incline gets your heart pumping and sweat dripping but the view at the top is well worth it! I can’t wait to go back in the fall. I didn’t see anyone in the reviews comment on this, but don’t miss the little crystal pebbles/stones along the trail! I didn’t catch them until our way back down.

Absolutely wonderful. This trail will challenge your muscle endurance because it is quite steep. The view at the top was worth it.

backpacking
1 month ago

It’s a tough one but has my favorite secret camp spot! I’ve done it twice and was able to camp there both times and only saw one little group of day hikers over there. Aside from that, the end of the trail is awesome but sketchy- no rails between you and the steep edge of the rock! Don’t set your water bottle down! It can get crowded though, because there’s not much room on the edge.

This hike isn’t too difficult and the view at the top is 100% worth it. Switchbacks I considered to be slightly gradual. Did see a good sized snake on the trail on the way back. Well maintained trails though- went early in the morning and it started to get pretty busy on our way down.

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