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

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This is easily one of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done. Weather was perfect, very low traffic. The hike was smooth until the rock scramble and then I only had to slow down for a few couples who I followed for a bit to get acclimated to it as I had never done that much scrambling. Luckily they noticed I was moving at a fairly quick pace and happily let me pass once I got comfortable with navigating the boulders. A few false summits but the views there were great. I didn’t realize how gorgeous the view from the true summit was but it totally didn’t disappoint. The walk down the fire road was longer than I thought it would be but it wasn’t unbearable by any means just a little less exciting than the actual trail. 10/10 would hike again but definitely only in late fall/early winter.

I'm a local to this area and I have never climbed this mountain until today. My first hard climb.... All I can say is "Simply amazing" like being on top of the world. I wanted to take pictures with snow on and I wasn't disappointed. Road to trail head was clear. The climb to the top wasn't that bad. Steep, but not a bad hike. The trip back down killed me. Awesome hike. Can't wait to go back in the fall and get the fall colors. AllTrails quit on me from the get go but not to many ways to get lost on this trail. Just keep going up....

this is a good hike that is moderately hard. water fall is the best part of this hike.

this is a good hike that is moderately hard. water fall is the best part of this hike.

Very unique hike! The rocks can be pretty slippery in spots so wear good shoes. Saw two other people on today’s winter hike. We completed it just under 3.5 hours with a quick lunch.

Wow! Perfect hike for a fall day. Ranger station said 9.5 miles, app said 8.5 miles, GPS said 9.5 miles. We ran into quite a few hikers, which we didn't mind. I recommend going with someone as some spots were quite difficult. The rock scrambling section was a lot longer and harder than expected. I am 5'9" and I feel like some sections would have been much more difficult if shorter. If you need hiking poles, I don't recommend this hike. You need both hands to help with scrambling and some upper body strength. Wear hiking boots or trail shoes that have good grip, especially if it's wet. Overall great hike, but intense!

nature trips
5 days ago

Such a great hike during the off season. Lots of wonderful wildlife sounds and fresh air. You’ll love it! Not too strenuous. I’ve climbed much more difficult...It’s a great day hike. Enjoy!

I do this to add a couple miles to Stone Mountain loop trail.

very nice climb, though view is boring.

The earliest you start the better. The more people on the trail the longer the bottleneck line is!

Hiked this on a foggy, muddy Sunday morning. Despite the conditions, this was highly worth it and highly recommended. There's a decently large parking area. No restrooms at the trailhead. Very muddy and slippery right now, but all the bridges are in good shape. Hiking poles would have been nice to have. A couple of smaller trees have been blown across the trail, but the bigger trees that fell on the AT portion have been taken care of. We didn't get any views because of the weather, but it was still hauntingly beautiful. Only passed 3 other sets of people (including two rangers). Must not get much traffic on a winter Sunday.

Stats:
7.51 miles
3:09 hours

This is an awesome trail with beautiful mountain views. The rock scrambles were challenging and the trail had many unique features. The hike took us about 5 hrs and 15 minutes to complete. We started at 8 AM. Almost 3000 ft of elevation gain. We had enough energy to do a shorter hike afterwards.

great trail but make sure you are in decent shape. I made it up the mountain but needed a nap and some snacks. beautiful but challenging

Hike this trial yearly. Trail can get really crowded with inexperienced hikers causing long lines at the rock scrambles. I recommend hiking in in the off season or at night to catch the sunrise and to avoid crowds. If you do the sunrise hike it takes about 2-3 hours, depending if your hiking abilities, from the parking lot to the submit. I do not recommend this hike to those that are not physically fit, or able to do some minor rock climbing.

This is definitely a hard trail. Mostly for the rock scrambling part. You can still get to the summit without the rocks if you park at the other parking lot and walk from the Berry Hollow fire trail. The rock scrambling is lots of fun and lots of work for a short woman like me. But totally worth it!

Hiked on Sunday, Nov 25. Only passed 8 others (most on my way down). Thus, plenty of parking when I arrived at 7:15am. No parking lot, no outhouse. Lovely trail. Easy to follow, of course, thanks to the AT's white blazes. My GPS had me at 2.06 miles to the first overlook. The elevation change to the second overlook (Wilburn Valley View; 0.6 miles) is minimal; just do it! View is even better here on a clear day; no industrial plant as in the first view (still pretty!). There are portions that are more strenuous than other local trails, but this is well worth the effort. Highly recommended!

Stats:
5.3 miles (including both overlooks)
2:09 hours

awesome views!!

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.

Our favorite hike of all time!!

Little crowded with hikers but totally worth the hike. Wish I spent more time at the summit relaxing because the view is stunning

1 tree down before parking area. In general the trail was easy to find but overgrown. 360 degree views from the top were wonderful.

hiking
18 days ago

I went on an overnight trip here a few days ago. Definitely a challenge with a 40 pond pack on due to my camping gear. I lost five pounds of fluids due to sweating. I ran out of water halfway up, and was glad I brought a survival straw. pack more water than u think you will need. Trekking poles, wool socks, and sweaters are your friend. The higher portion of the hike is very much colder than the bottom. The fir Forrest at the top is very quiet and peaceful. a neat cave and some beautiful views await. I used this hike as a training aid for Kilimanjaro trek next year and although an eagle scout, managed to learn a few things on this hike. pole pole indeed on this as well.

The view from the top in late afternoon is well worth the strenuous hike

20 days ago

the trail is nice. if you need to exercise hike to the greybeards summit otherwise Walker's knob on the way is a lot better view than the greybeards summit.

i think the review below is pretty accurate.

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

Great spot! As others have said, the trail is primarily used for mountain biking, but just keep a look out for them and you’ll be fine. Overall, the trail is not too steep, and since it’s used for mountain biking, it doesn’t really have logs or rocks you have to climb over, at least on this short part. There are two spots near the top; the first is a shady rock outcropping overlooking Ridgecrest. Keep going and there is a small patch of grass (or in our case leaves) looking out the other way. Would recommend going in the fall/winter for a better view. You can hear the interstate at the top, but it’s not too obtrusive. Not many people when we went, which is a rare find so close to Asheville.

Best trail EVER.

First time hiking Old Rag on Veteran’s Day (Sunday 11/11). Arrived around 8am. Parking lot was pretty empty. My friend and I took the first few miles at a quick pace, passing families and the more leisurely hikers. Rock scrambles were challenging, required arm strength and strategic foot placement. At one point, a line formed at one of the trickier scrambles. Last 3 or so miles of the loop is a flat service road, slightly boring... until you get close enough to the stream near the end. Total time for 4.5 hours for us, even with some waiting in line. Would love to do again!

hiking
21 days ago

Just spending the day at Black Mountain campground hiking all the trails! Magnificent day!

A great hike with a rock scramble (from a crawl to a climb). It has switchbacks up the mountain until the rock scramble, then a nice descent with some hop in it until you get to a flat(er) road that leads back to the parking lot.

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