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A tough but enjoyable trail. A lot of steep steps. Trail is well maintained.

hiking
1 day ago

There are two ways to get to Big Butt: a stiff steep hike from NC 197 at Cane Gap or a longer ridge and multi peak climb from the Walker Knob Overlook on the BRP about 5 miles south of the Mount Mitchell State park entrance (NC 128). I took the latter route which longer, but ultimately more rewarding as you climb Brush Fence Ridge, and up and over Point Misery and Little Butt before arriving at the side trail to the summit of Big Butt.

These peaks form the western rim of the Black Mountain and lie thousands of feet above the Cane River Gorge that can be head roaring below when you get to Little Butt. The forest resembles the Mount Mitchell Trail flora and fauna, event though the elevations do not exceed 6000 feet. The trail is well maintained by the the NC High Peaks Trail Association and included hundreds of wooden step that make the climbs much easier to maneuver. The best views lie on the ridge between Little Butt and Big Butt. Unfortunately clouds rolled in when I hiked this track and so was only able to catch short glimpses of the valley to the east (and not the Black Mountain Crest). Hiking this route in early spring or late fall should give you a better chance of good weather and less foliage blocking vistas.

From the Walker Knob Overlook, take the trailhead to the SOUTH. **Be careful here as an old forest road and the Mountains to Sea also converge in the field behind the overlook parking lot. You will descend over a hundred feet before gently ascending to the top of Brush Fence Ridge and finally to the summit of Point Misery (the name was not indicative of this side of the mountain - the return trip up the backside will give you an appreciation of why it is appropriately named). The HP is just off the trail and there is a Geodetic Marker as well as several marked bearing trees nearby.

From there, descend steeply over 300 feet to a grassy gap and then ascend up a series of stairs around giant rocks to the inauspicious peak of Little Butt Mountain. The trail continues a very narrow ridge reminiscent of the Amphibuolite Mountains. Look for rock outcrops to the right and left of the trail for some tremendous views of the Black Mountains (east) and the Craggy Mountains (west).

Continue along the ridge ascending gently to a well marked side trail to the left that will take you via an interesting semi-open trail to the summit of Big Butt. No ascertainable views here, but I accidentally surprised a nide of about 30 pheasants. The tremendous fluttering and so much wing flapping and feathers flying gave a feeling of both being on the the set of THE BIRDS and of marveling at the sight of these beautiful creatures. Then the rain started. It continued off and on on the hike back and was so intense at times that I felt more like this was the Amazon rain forest, not western NC. And yet, once I got wet, it was pleasant. Only real obstacle was the relentless climb back up to Point Misery.

Of course once I got back to the car, the rain stopped and the sun came out! For completists, cross the road and hike to the crest of Walker Knob on the M-to-S trail (see separate entry for more detail on this peak and others described above).

on Pinnacle Park

2 days ago

This is a VERY rocky trail to the point of being not enjoyable.

hiking
2 days ago

Challenging but rewarding hike!

Easy for first time hikers as well as experienced. just make sure you have water prior as water is quarter mile away if you dont want to walk. but worth it!!!

Love love loved it! Last hike we did before we leave for home. Glad we waited to do it last. Was not difficult at all.

This should not be rated hard. Sure there are rocks and some roots on the trail but it’s not a sidewalk. I consider a hard trail one that requires all fours to go up and over, or at least some scrambles and that’s what I was expecting from these reviews. Didn’t happen. This was a moderate trail with a lot of switch backs that make it long but at no point was it a hard trail. I made it up and back in exactly 4.5 hours and that included all stops and my big 15 minutes at the summit to take in the views. I’ve never done a 10+ mile trail rated hard in that time. Anyway, fun hike with a lot of terrain changes (clay, dirt, sand) the switchbacks were annoying but you could see why they were needed. There was just no other way up the mountain. Tower at the top is kind of cool.

If you are looking for an easy trail that gives great 360 views- this is one of the best in that regard

hiking
5 days ago

Well worth the effort. Only a few other people on the trail and had the falls all to myself.

Awesome trail, little traffic and awesome views at the top.

Amazing views, multiple peaks, and an easy to follow trail. Highly recommended.

I did this hike today and it was very nice. The view is so beautiful at the end! The hike isn’t too strenuous and I would rate it moderate to hard at the very end. Be careful with yellow jackets (there was a nest), I got stung and ended up with a severe allergic reaction and a rescue team had to come get me. So if you’re allergic, take your pen/meds with you!

hiking
6 days ago

Absolutely fabulous hike! Not really difficult, but can be a little muddy and slippery at parts. I highly suggest going all the way to the turtleback waterfall. Also, try going on the rocks (dry ones) that are a little bit off-path to get really good shots. We were warned about copperheads, but did not encounter any.

hiking
6 days ago

My wife and I hiked with our 5, 10, 12 year olds. A little muddy will all the rain we had lately, but Perfect distance for the little legs and the view was stunning! $3 to park. So enjoyed the peacefulness and seeing God’s amazing creation!

First thing to note is that this is a different trail than looking glass falls which several people seemed confused about. The only water fall is a very small one near the start. The trail is not steep but the 3 miles out is entirely uphill. The view at the top is definitely worth it though!

This was a nice hike! Overall, it wasn't as hard as we thought it would be, but it was definitely challenging. It had rained a lot the night before we hiked and the trail was extremely muddy and wet, with water running down the trail in a stream at some points. I think we could have done it a bit faster if not for that. The trail surface is definitely rocky and rooty, and I would highly highly advise hiking boots. We started at 6:45am, summited at 10:30am, left the top at 11am, and finished around 2pm. It was cloudy at the top with pretty much no views, oh well. More about the journey for this one. We were the first hikers of the day to summit and encountered about 30 people on the way back down, about half of which were backpacking and half of which were day hiking. Other notes: it's definitely longer than 10.4 miles if you start at the parking lot and end at the top of the observation tower. By our estimates/GPSes, over 11 miles. Also, there are a few switchbacks on the trail that you could miss if you weren't paying attention. We encountered a group of people who were lost on a false trail and we almost went down the wrong one once.

Awesome trail. Trails aren’t marked but easy to navigate and all trails was spot on. Did this hike after a few days of heavy rain. Art Loeb was wet but easy to avoid dunking your feet. Investor Gap was a creek as others reviewed. Felt longer than 3.9 miles, but maybe due to the extra steps over the rain runoff. A great variety of terrain and views were amazing; will do this again for sure.

Lovely views, lovely hike. The climb is never steep, just steady and moderate. We hiked up for sunset and soaked in our first Eastern sights of the Milky Way along with a hand-full of meteors from the Perseid shower. Other than a few passers-by, we had the place to ourselves.

Fun hike! Went after a rain storm so the trail was super muddy but not very crowded. Under the rainy/muddy conditions, the trail was more of a moderate hike. Lots of rocks at the end just before the gorgeous falls!

It is pretty! We went on a Saturday so crowded and it rained, so really muddy! More on the moderate side than easy. Had toddler with us that couldn’t be carried up the last steep rocky portion to the falls. Had view though!

Gravel and rock trail that is, for the most part, and easy walk. Not a lot to see along the trail except for the wildflowers and butterflies, which my girlfriend's daughter found quite attractive. The view from the tower is great, even on a cloudy day. The tower platform is still locked but you can ascend to the landing just below, which offers grand views. I wouldn't call this a destination trail. But if you're in the area it's worth a little time.

Great workout. Not a scenic “hike”.

Hiked this with family in November 2017. It remains my favorite hike. The views at the top are amazing. So clear views for a long ways away. Great photo ops. Can’t wait to return.

Loved the scenic trail and the destination is breathtaking! Hike is very strenuous but worth it in the end!

hiking
12 days ago

Paved trail to the summit. Slightly steep but well worth the trek up for the 360 degree views.

on Craggy Pinnacle Trail

hiking
12 days ago

Great short hike to the summit from the parking area. You ascend around 400ft over 3/4 mile so not to bad. The trail is dirt and rocks. Great views at the top.

loved the views. Truly worth the drive. Would like to go in fall and even start over night.

hiking
13 days ago

Made an over night loop of this trail and a few others. The Mount Mitchell trail is fine, plenty of water sources, really gradual pace to the top and well traveled. The summit was crowed but pretty much what you would expect if you've seen mountains before. The rest of the trails are where this place shines. Every thousand feet the surrounding radically changed from mossy woods, to pine forests and dense brush. The Pisgah is always rewarding.

Went after a heavy rain and waterfalls was amazing!!

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