Explore Hard Long Hikes - 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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Our first hike in the Smokies which was also during our honeymoon and it was an amazing site to behold. We completed this hike 2 days ago, arrived to the trail head at 8:15 and were the first people in the lot. The first mike or so was a gradual incline along a wide gravel trail. We encountered several downed trees along this route. Also, we encountered here so amazing views of the river below. Due to the government shut down there were no rangers on duty during the time we did this hike. Nonetheless, Ramsey cascades trail was a very well manicured trail.

After the first mile, this is where things start to get interesting. Deeper and higher into the mountain side, coming across some HUGE trees, crossing back and forth over MULTIPLE streams and river bridges.

The last mile was very difficult, but making it to the waterfall at the end was a once in a lifetime experience. Covered in ice and snow at the top, Ramsey cascades was the perfect backdrop for or lunch.

After eating and re-fueling, we headed back down for what I thought would be an easy trip back. The rocky trail proved difficult to go down, and by the time we made it back to the car, both me and my wife were absolutely exhausted. I would recommend this trail to everyone! It was absolutely breathtaking.

hiking
3 days ago

Should be rated easy to moderate. No rocks or roots to scramble over. Very smooth path. Gradual incline with generous amounts of downhill. Took 54 minutes to get up to Ramsey Cascades. Just gorgeous. Easily doable in flip flops or tennis shoes and no need for cold weather gear. Zero stream crossings.

good day hike. remember to pack enough clothes with elevation change from bottom to the top the temperature and weather can change pretty quickly.

Fun hike and is a great length for those looking for a long hike. Absolutely gorgeous and lots of plant life to examine.

backpacking
7 days ago

Superb uphill hike from Bowlens Creek. Beautiful waterfall scenery at the begining of the hike, midway up you're greeted by a neat flooded mine on the right of the trail, as you ascend the scenery changes from massive trees to smaller evergreens. We hiked in the snow a week ago and it wasn't too hard to navigate. You come out to a spectacular overlook at Celo Knob and continue on the crestoine towards Mt Mitchell from there. The trail is much more narrow on the crest with some rock scrambling here and there (it was very slick and covered in ice when we went) compared to many trails around the area but i personally prefer that on hikes. The winds were blasting over us around 40-50 mph and the Lee side parts of the trail were a relief. This hike is honestly my favorite thus far in the Smokies. Challenging and unique.

Spectacular views with just enough challenging sections! Great for either a day hike or an overnighter.

Great day to do the hike, especially since the state park was closed so not may tourists around. Total mileage was 12.2.

Went on a hike with a friend in first week of January and had a great time! We did not hike the whole thing due to slower pace and the time we had. We made it to the waterfall then turned back, so didn’t make it to Walker’s Knob or the summit. We left a little before 1:30pm and got back maybe around 5:47pm.
It was not as cold as you would expect, but definitely muddy from all the rain these past days. We were wearing the right shoes, but in some places it would be easy to get your feet wet. There are 3 beautiful water crossings in order to get to the other side of parts of the trail. Definitely a moderate hike because of creek crossings and incline in the first part of the trail, but it evens out in the second half. Before reaching the waterfall there is a beautiful lookout called Walden’s Rock.
The waterfall was cute and maybe medium sized. Not huge though.
We hiked a total of maybe 6.5-7 miles. Out and back.
We felt safe and passed a solo female hiker with her dog, a couple, a solo male hiker, and a group of college aged students hiking.
Overall very nice experience!

Nice trail that is not difficult. 4 miles from bottom if you walk the road to the left at the parking area. It gets a little menotanous due to lack of views and things along the trail. Not bad if you drive to the parking area and hike the trail up from there.

hiking
22 days ago

This trail has become my favorite hike in all of Asheville. The first half is along a strong creek, adding a lovely sound of running water as background noise. I highly recommend making it to the Walker's Knob Shelter and taking the lookout trail from there...it was incredible!
This trail was a bit strenuous but well worth the effort. I'll be back for this trail, and to explore the trails leading off it.

Hiked on 12/29.

Terrain: Trail was rockier than expected. Combined with the trail conditions, this made for a technical hike. Elevation gain per mile is much milder than similar hikes, so it probably balances out.

Conditions: Wet. You cross creeks that feel like rivers (including a quite treacherous crossing at 1.9 miles) and there are several sections where the trail becomes a creek. After we made the final right turn to get on the ridge, we saw a significant amount of snow/ice. We didn't have microspikes and were fine, but it did make for slightly slow walking.

Views: Once you get on the ridge, there are amazing views.

Parking: Drive through the Boy Scout camp. There is designated parking for hikers at the far end of the camp. It feels like you are going to get on a government list somewhere, but if you keep going through the camp you will end up in the right spot.

Very amazing trail enjoyed every thing about it not
To hard to get to the top

Enjoyed every step. It was a physical challenge. Although trail is 8.2 miles, FitBit clocked it at about 11.5, and it felt it. Rained 2 days before, and the Falls were amazing. There was a lot to see on the trail, not just the Falls.

hiking
25 days ago

Beautiful day. Great views. Recommend micro-spikes for winter ascents. Ice covered sections of the trail near the top. I also have to question that 10.4 mile out and back rating. It's more like 13 to 14 miles. Definitely on the difficult side but well worth the effort.

Did a portion of this trail before the rain set in. Looking forward to returning and completing the trail! Beautiful wildlife and views.

hiking
27 days ago

Posted distances vary. From the Montreat trailhead to Walkers Knob we recorded 5.25 miles on my son's Fitbit. Total round trip 10.5 miles. The description , though, was accurate. Initial ascend is moderate to strenuous. Then, is traverses upward at a moderate but enjoyable climb. Our hike was on the aggressive side, 4.5 hours up and back. View from Walker's Knob were enjoyable.

The taller mountains were snowed in, so this was a great alternative! Lower elevation had great winter weather, and the views were still exactly what I was hoping for when we were planning this trip.

So beautiful! The beginning is definitely steep, but so worth it for the views! I did it with my 14 month old on my back and was a great workout! Would love to come back and camp here.

Great trail to visit after a few rainy days. Beautiful waterfall but the hike is difficult particularly toward the end.

nature trips
1 month 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!

very nice climb, though view is boring.

trail running
1 month ago

Just completed a trail run here for the first time and will definitely be back. Even on a cloudy/rainy day the views were incredible. Plus it links up with the Mountains to Sea trail so you can go as long or short as you like.

The first mile is the most difficult - rocky elevation gain - but then you get to traipse along the ridge line for a while and it’s a breeze.

Awesome hike. Straight up to 6100 ft with just a few flat areas to recover. Late fall conditions- mud at the trailhead, leaves over trial to about 4800 ft, inch of snow rest of way up, with heavy ice around 5700 ft up. Started snowing for a few minutes, but clear at the top. Best trail ive done in the area. Had to turn back at Celo Knob due to conditions, but cant wait to finish the trail to Mt Mitchell.

Awesome. Start at wolf pit go as far as you like. Great sunset

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

I’m not this fittest guy in the world but for most of this trail I was thinking it was more moderate than hard. Then I reached the last section (the rock scramble) and oh boy, it’s definitely a calf burner and a knee killer on the way down. But overall I really enjoyed this trail! Fantastic waterfall at the end. It took just over 5 hours to complete.

hiking
2 months 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.

backpacking
2 months ago

Late November was ideal for staying good hiking temperature. It was a crisp 60F with orange leaves on the ground and great visibility through the trees. During the 8 mile round trip on a Monday we passed approximately 8 groups. 1.7 mph pace counting the stops at the falls. Toward the last 0.8mi terrain and steps get steeper. Climbed at fallen tree to get up the steps of the water fall and found out there is a somewhat unchartered trail to the right of the falls with a bear cave. Don’t start this hike past 1PM this time of year as darkness sets in quickly (low in Valley). Started at 12:30 came back to car at sunset 5:30 PM. Waited in the car for a couple who didn’t bring flashlights. 4 deaths on falls from kids climbing across slippery rocks in areas not marked for trail; sign says control your kids. Trail ends at great view (pictured) with no charted trail to top.

2 months 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.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is tough! Granted, I am not a particularly fast hiker, but we started at noon and we didn’t get back to the car until about 8 pm. Definitely get started early! The falls are absolutely spectacular though! And the trail is just beautiful all the way up.

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