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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.

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.

trail running
1 month ago

This trail is well blazed (yellow), very easy to follow, and not overgrown. There are a few amazing overlooks where one can view the Black Mountains. After the last overlook, one enters a spruce- fir forest— one of the only in the SE, it was a remnant of the last ice age.

It’s a good workout, especially on the up. The last mile is prone to getting icy on the winter, and is pretty rocky.

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.

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.

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

hiking
3 months ago

A childhood favorite. The firewatch tower and hikers cabin were torn down years ago. At the top, there's another trail, that's overgrown quite a bit now, that heads down to the cliffs. THAT'S where the best views are hidden. Adventurous hikers can scale down the cliffs to an alternate trail below. Don't go alone and watch your footing!

Back at the main site under the cell tower area, there used to be a little field. Small enough for a picnic and kite flying (they don't call it High Windy for nothing). Of course, you probably shouldn't fly kites up the now due to the heavy transmitting equipment.

Tough for beginners, but worth the hike if you go all the way. Make sure you head out well before sundown, as even the moon can't penetrate the canopy at night. If you go too far, you'll hit the failed Tiger Woods development. It's a long walk out to Swannanoa from there (appr 12+ miles more) and you'll technically be trespassing.

Overall, a great hike for a lazy afternoon. Watch for bears and dear, but mostly be on the lookout for a mystery animal that can only be described as "White thang".

hiking
3 months ago

It’s goes up and then up some more! Then up more!

hiking
3 months ago

6 miles even and extremely lightly trafficked. Didn’t encounter any other hikers for the duration. First 1.75 miles is a climb and the view is overgrown. Wasn’t a loop trail either, and parking was difficult. If using the directions feature on AllTrails expect to park and walk the nature trail .25 miles to the trailhead. Blueberries at the top were a great surprise!

It’s a great hike if you like a challenge. The trail was wet which made it pretty hard, harder than when it’s dry. It’s quite a steep climb and the descent is challenging. I would have rated it 5 stars probably if it was dry. Lots of wild life.

hiking
4 months ago

Trail is well worn but POORLY marked. (So minus 1 star) Was difficult to find the trail head and not a lot of eye candy. (Minus another star) over all a decent hike. I would not rate it a hard hike for anyone who is in decent health as it was accomplished by two 5 yr olds without any issues. However, there are some steady inclines to accomplish. I plan to do this trail again when the leaves have fallen to see if the views improve.

Non stop push, and then there is more if you want to keep going on along the crest. Amazing viewpoint about halfway up. A few small campsites before you reach deep gap. Signs up of recent bear activity at deep gap, I didn't see any. Rocks make it pretty technical toward the top of the ridge. Water source around midway was flowing but cant guarantee in dry conditions. Rhododendrons in bloom, moist conditions had the newts and salamanders active. Got hammered by a heavy downpour about 2.5 miles up, trail was still manageable. Don't expect much better time than about 2 miles an hour at best. Past 5500' you can feel the temps drop. This climb will keep your eyes straight down and heart rate up. Not a beginner trail so come ready.

hiking
5 months ago

Tough and view was good but not great. But I would do it again just for the workout!

Good hike with manageable incline and decline. With intermittent rest stops we completed loop in 2 hours.

backpacking
7 months ago

This trail is pretty brutal but it serves its purpose to get you to the crest. It's relentlessly uphill and steep with few breaks. I would not recommend this trail unless you're attempting to get to the crest to either do a loop around and come back down Buncomb Horse Trail or doing a point to point. Doing an out and back of this trail would be pretty boring since there are only 2-3 overlooks that aren't as good as other trails. If you're carrying backpacks, this trail will make you question your life choices and make you wish you splurged for lighter gear.

Good steep incline starting NW from trail info box on Harmony Lane (that leg actually called Stomping Knob Trail), then along the ridge has nice views especially with winter and foliage down. Rattlesnake Rock looks back across valley to Black Mountain. Easy access for a short day hike.

Well marked. Reviews were very helpful - if you start on blue trail marks, and follow big piney, then take the southbound ridge to complete the loop. Steady up hill to big piney and then past that to the ridge intersection. We thought the trail was more moderate but probably depends on how much you hike. Overall very enjoyable even though we went when It was foggy and a bit rainy. Great for a 3 hour little burner

Slippery leaves on the way down. But good, steep hike which tops two hills. About 1:40 if you do not stop along the way.

hiking
11 months ago

Quite a climb up!! Nice views, great for working some turkey off right after TG.
Dogs had a good time too

hiking
11 months ago

This trail for me is hard . It has good views, I hiked up Colbert’s creek to deep gap on the crest then off the cattail creek side . Great hike .

Steep climb, but worth every drop of sweat. The view is breathtaking.

Friday, November 17, 2017

This trail is very rugged. Taking Black Mountain Crest Trail up to Deep Gap and down Colbert’s Ridge will take approximately 9 hours. Expect to walk 1 mile per hour.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Difficult but rewarding both for the exercise and view at the top. You’ll definitely earn a burger or a beer after this one!

hiking
Friday, October 20, 2017

This trail was a great workout. With multiple overlook stops, a picnic, and a tree climb we completed the hike in 3 1/2 hrs. Loved it

hiking
Sunday, October 15, 2017

This is a solid hike with steep ascents and descents, a good workout. My wife, myself, and our two leashed dogs stopped off to hike this trail on our way to Asheville with the intent of killing some time until our cabin was available. It was harder than expected, but overall we enjoyed it.

We hiked up to Big Piney, then down the west ridge trail, southbound. Make sure you hike down west ridge southbound to complete this loop (not northbound). Little Piney is marked with a blue diamond blaze and West Ridge trail with a yellow diamond blaze. I'm glad I brought my trek poles for the west ridge southbound descent trail. It is October and the leaves can create a slippery surface.

Overall a great day hike. I would estimate that most experienced hikers could complete within 3-4 hours.

Had a bit of fun with these trails. Pulling in to find the Lower Piney trailhead (demarcated by blue diamond-shaped trail markers) can be a little tricky. There's a gravel driveway just up past St Andrews on the right that you walk into and you'll see where the trail begins. The climb starts off almost right away on a narrow, two-foot wide trail. The march up to the first rocky outcrop is the just the first introduction of the awesome views to come along Big Piney (indicated by orange markers along the way) toward the summit at Rattlesnake Rock. The descent back down West Ridge (indicated by yellow) can give the knees a beating but much more ground is covered in less time. Took the dog and I think he'd give the trail 5 paws if he could. Great hike!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rocky trail mostly on the way up. Cool view of the town and beautiful flowers.

hiking
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I gave this hike a one star because the trail isn't marked. We ended up going 2 miles off course and even with gps on, we still couldn't find the loop. When you come to Big Ivy at the end of Walker Creek, there is no sign pointing you in a direction. We ended up getting on Big Ivy Road, turning right, following that awhile and hooked up on stair creek trail for the decent down. On the decent down, there were a couple of trails off Stair Creek, but again they weren't marked and it's anyone's guess where those go.
As far as difficulty and technicality, the trail definitely had
some good climbs up without switchbacks. The decent down on Stair Creek was straight down, no switchbacks and rocky, so it was technical. Also, this is a horse trail as well, so there's plenty of manure on the trail. There wasn't a good view or waterfall to make this trail worth the trouble. Pass this one up and continue on to Brevard.

hiking
Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Definitely underestimated the difficulty of this hike. Four and a half miles does not seem like much, but much of this is uphill and at a pretty significant incline. The last mile (or maybe even less) is downhill, but very, very steep. I had to turn around and climb down on all fours at least twice, and managed to fall once. Part of the trail was obscured and blocked off by a makeshift barricade--it looked like a natural pile of limbs at first and caused us (my wife and I) to make a wrong turn. Once we found where we'd erred we just went around the barricade. In retrospect, I suspect it to have been the work of pranksters, as it was near a part of the trail that is quite easily accessible from surrounding neighborhoods and we found nothing wrong with the trail behind it. As for the views, they are probably better in the winter. Rattlesnake Rock is nice, but you can find better and not have to work near as hard for it. The abandoned moonshine still site on the decline is kind of neat also. I don't recommend this hike unless you're simply looking for a challenge.

hiking
Saturday, June 03, 2017

Definitely not a walk in the park. Very secluded saw only two people. Loved the sound of the falls while hiking.

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