Explore Asheville Nov 2018 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Asheville Nov 2018 Map
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I completed this route counter clockwise. All the leaves were off the trees so once you got about 1.5 miles in, the views were wonderful nearly the entire time. It was a quiet mid-week hike. I only saw a couple of other souls...trail runners all.

As others have said, I recommend the short additional hike up to Walkers Knob. They have a sign up that says 10 minutes up, but it was half of that. The views from there are well worth it.

The trail was a little tough to follow at points, particularly the last 1/4 mile before you turn up to the summit to Graybeard.

Coming back down the backside is no joke. With leaves on the ground, it was extremely slick and lots of spots where you have no choice but climb down rocks. The views on that ridge though are worth it. A great look at the Black Mountains the entire time. Be Careful!

Towards the 8 mile is where I think the person saying it was over 12 miles may have deviated. I'm guessing that person took the full West Ridge Trail and did not break off on Big Piney Ridge. That would add another 2.5 miles or so.

Note that at about 3,300ft on Big Piney Ridge, the keepers of this trail have restructured it to drop down to Little Piney. The remaining route shown on AllTrails is still there, but they have clearly tried to block it off. I went down the old way and can tell you that it is not maintained and I do not suggest it. It is steeper and I found myself surfing down leaves at times. The last mile of this hike is through a neighborhood on a gravel road.

hiking
9 days ago

I live just a mile from the trailhead on Old CCC. Hike this trail year round. Makes for a fun out and back day hike. Part of the trail near the end gets very overgrown with brush during the summer but keep pushing past that part to reach the summit. My favorite time to hike this trail is in the winter because it offers better views.

Steep with a rewarding view. Make sure you follow the green arrows on the ground after you come to what you might think is the end. That's where the view is.

hiking
10 days ago

Overall, great hike! I would say superior to craggy gardens because it is a bit more challenging, longer, less trafficked, and has some excellent moments of exposed rock. Follows the ridge line with a continuous rise and fall of elevation. Trail is well marked with yellow indicators. I am confused why some reviews say it “goes nowhere”. Maybe they didn’t hike far enough?

Pretty easy hike without super steep slopes and views of the blue ridge mountains the whole way in the winter. You can see the valley and little houses. The lodge isn’t there anymore—burned down in 1926, but there’s a placard with a description of the lodge so you know you’ve made it.

hiking
14 days ago

Took the Lodge Trail around and picked up Mountains to Sea up to Wolf Den. Was raining and slick so skipped the last leg to Pinnacle Peak, which I did a few weeks ago. Trail in good shape with decent views along the way.

Was apprehensive but the most fun and rewRding trail. Beautiful views. Very technical. Must be comfortable with heights and climbing ladders

Well kept trail with many nice vistas.

This trail is so much fun. We didn't investigate it before taking it on with our 4 kids. Probably would not have taken them on this until they were older. Dangerous for younger kids. I definitely recommend it for older kids and active adults. Exhilarating.

Graybeard was a great hike but I am glad we completed the Big Piney Loop instead of the out and back to Graybeard. I recommend a visit to Walkers Knob for a nice vista view since we had already made the trek towards the top. We completed the loop in 5.5 hours and that included a lunch break. Our party consisted of a 9 and 10 year old plus our dog (on leash). The Seven Sisters trail was remote and challenging. No issues with navigating the trails all day. If you are up for the hike to Graybeard, then I recommend the adventure of completing the Loop.

Absolutely amazing. Some parts are hard especially if caught in the rain. But well worth the view.

i think the review below is pretty accurate.

https://www.hikewnc.info/besthikes/montreat/graybeard-mountain

scenic driving
26 days ago

My favorite trail in the mountains!

hiking
1 month ago

I've hiked this trail twice now and it's probably my favorite on the east coast. It's definitely not for the inexperienced or out of shape, but the grueling path is more than worth it. The MacRae Peak path features stunning view after stunning view. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to take them all in and enjoy the fantastic vistas in all directions. The ladder climbs and rock scrambles can be nerve-racking but are a lot of fun at the same time. I took the Underwood Trail on the way back down which is a bit less strenuous and having gravity on your side makes the going a bit easier. It's easy to see pictures and hear from others about the sights along the way, but one thing you have to experience firsthand is the smells on the trail. You're hiking in a mostly alpine environment and the conifers give a refreshing piney scent for almost the whole way; it's like walking through a christmas tree farm.

Great hike -nice mix of several rock overlooks, small waterfall and rugged hiking in the backhalf. BUT THIS HIKE IS A FAIR AMOUNT LONGER. My Strava said 12.5 miles. Also, backhalf (big piney ridge trail) is not for novice hikers as trail is not as well worn, although probably partly due to fact was fall with plenty of leaves down camouflaging trail.

Awesome trail. We loved the terrain. Beautiful views.

An exciting hike! We went in November and the path was so icy we almost turned around a few times. The views were worth it! We took grandfather trail up and Underwood back down, made for a great loop!

hiking
1 month ago

Very good for endurance training

absolutely beautiful trail. overnight tent camping at the top. make sure you wear good hiking shoes or boots the trail can get slippery. HIKE THIS TRAIL you won't regret it.

Hands down the most fun trail I have ever hiked! Extremely strenuous, so be careful. My only problem is I hate that you have to pay so much to get to the main trailhead. You can access it from the parkway, but it becomes a pretty long day hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Short hike (1.5 hrs round trip to the rock and back) with gorgeous views from Hawkbill Rock, and far fewer hikers than on nearby trails. Can't believe I've lived in Asheville for 12 years and just did this hike for the first time!

We did this trail counterclockwise. We found the trail easy to follow and pretty well marked (the exception being coming off Little Piney). The uphill was challenging but enjoyable, while the downhill coming off of Little Piney wasn't so fun, somewhat painful actually. Very steep and slippery. You definitely want trekking poles for this hike.
Warning 1: a couple places along the ridge trail from Big Piney to Little Piney some trees had fallen across the trail. It almost appears that the trail disappears. You have to look carefully to see where the trail picks up again after the downed trees.
Warning 2: We came across signs for "Lower" Piney. Not paying close attention, I mistook it for "Little" Piney and followed it right to another trailhead/parking area on Suwanee Drive. If my GPS were accurate, I don't think I would have made that mistake.

Lots of fun. Very well marked and the ladders are a blast. The view from the top of McRae is fabulous. We went up the Grandfather trail and back down Underwood. Underwood is much more in the woods and bit more rocky/rooty. You get much better vistas from Grandfather trail, though it was fun doing both of them. The trail past McRae peak is a less travelled, as many seem to turn around at McCrae.

hiking
1 month ago

Straight up for just under 4 miles but was very worth it. Loved the view from the top!

We started out from somewhere on Harmony Lane. Map sucks, as we ended up walking up the street to what appeared to be a circular water tower. No trail here. Walked back down to a gate with a blue trail marker and a gravel road. Pulled up the All Trails map and is said we were on the correct trail? Great first part of the hike, following blue blazes and I think it was called Little Piney. Enjoyable hike, came to a nice rock overlook outcropping looking out over Montreat/Black Mountain after about 20 minutes. Trail starts to climb from here and eventually you get your choice of blue or orange blazes. Orange was Big Piney trail, which again kept us on the All Trails map. Some steep, rocky climbs, amd trail well marked. After another hour or so of climbing with some stops we came to Rattlesnake overlook. Beautiful. Up we went from there, another 30 minutes to trail intersection. We too Grey blazes back down the trail, hoping to end up back around where we started, but this is where the trail just ended. 10 minutes into the Grey blaze section the trail just ended, no blazes, no discernible trail. I bushwacked my around for a bit a d though seeing trees with orange spray paint there was no trail?? WTF. This is not a safe practice for a trail, maintain the trail or close this portion at the cutoff. We ended up trekking back the way we came, pissed off our trail was not marked properly. Thus the 3 rating.

A wonderful short trail - should take around two hours depending on if you stop to admire the old lodge. Parking is very limited with about 4-5 spots right by the trailhead and then limited roadside parking a short walk away. That said, I’ve never had an issue finding space if I’m determined to hike the trail.

Most of the trail is actually part of the Mountains to Sea Trail and is blazed white. The trail is fairly straightforward until you reach Rattlesnake Lodge. You’ll find lots of little side trails - most lead to smaller ruins or backpacking campgrounds.

If you stay the course on the white trail through the first part of the lodge, you’ll find additional ruins. A blue blazed path will be to your right going downhill right before these ruins. If you continue straight you’ll see two additional parts of the lodge. Running between them is another blue blazed path on the left going uphill and a white blazed path on the right.

If you take either of these paths you’ll complete the loop as it is on the map. I usually take the blue path first as it’s quite steep and harder to climb down than up, then make sure to go right when it meets the white trail. I highly recommend doing the loop as there are more ruins and lovely streams.

Overall the old lodge is fascinating to see and the hike is short & sweet. The trails are very well marked and maintained. A great way to spend a morning or afternoon.

This is my favorite trail. It is a bit treacherous, especially for an old guy like me. I don’t go on it after heavy rain as it is slippery and mistakes could be costly. But it is beautiful and dramatic and fun.

Hiked this on 10/21 with my husband. It was definitely a challenge for both of us, but the views at the top made it absolutely worth it. There was a lot of temperature change on the way up and down so packing layers is a must. Give yourself at least 6 hours for this hike. The trail itself is straightforward and easy to follow on the way up, but on the way down it is easy to take the wrong trail when passing by campsites as there are sometimes multiple trails leading off. I’m surprised this trail isn’t more popular because it was definitely one of my favorites, but no complaints because we had the summit to ourselves for over a half hour!

Fun, beautiful and moderately challenging trail. Highly suggest this one! Add a little length and go to Calloway Peak! One of my favorites.

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