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super hike with tremendous views of the east side of greybeard mountain and the "Pinnacle" the highest point in McDowell county

backpacking
6 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.

Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge are phenomenal!

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.

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

Really beautiful hike with scenic views, unique landscapes, and history along the way (stop to read the Overmountain Trail info — and read about the Revolutionary War battle of Kings Mountain before you go).

Good camping at Doll Flats and the Overmountain Shelter is a good stop along the way.

Be ready for some elevation!

This was a fantastic trail and definitely plan on going again! One of my favorite parts was the rail road tracks. However, this was definitely not a trail for the faint at heart as it is all up hill.

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.

Just completed this section this week as my first foray onto the AT. Spectacular views from the balds. Last 6-7 miles to 19e were difficult and challenging. Spent night in Overmountain shelter. Great spot. Plenty of water available on the trail. I agree with other posters that the distance is more the 13.6 miles posted. Absolutely worthwhile trip

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!

Beautiful trail! Well blazed and a great hike!

Just did this hike Oct 17-18. Took a shuttle from Mountain Harbour B and B to the top of Carvers Gap and hiked back to our car. From the beginning this hike is excellent!! There was a lot of wind so be ready! Great views on several balds to start! We hiked past Overmountain Shelter and over little hump and camped just past little hump in the woods where there were several sites and fire pits! Water sources close by as well. It did get into the upper 20s at night so we were a little chilly! Got up early and headed up Hump Mountain and the 360 degree views were amazing!!! The worst part of the hike was the 5 or so miles after hump back to 19e. Fairly gradual but it was pretty tiring! Would highly recommend this hike!

Tough hike, but gorgeous views make it worth it. The AT isn't marked that great at the spilt with it and grassy knoll. For a first timer it's easy to miss.

trail running
3 months ago

One of my favorite trails by far. Orange blazed. High Peaks maintains it very well— good signs and trail isn’t overgrown. There are cables and ropes on some of the more slippery rocky sections— helpful when it snows.

There are a few ways to get to the trail— from the far end of the trail at the Bowlen’s Creek parking area (you have to Ford the little creek, the bridge is sketchy). Here you will go up an old fire road for about 4 miles until you reach the ridge line. You can also park at the other end in Mount Mitchell State Park. There are also ways of accessing from side trails— if you don’t want to do the whole thing— for example, use the Woody Ridge Trail (park on White Oak) or Colbert Ridge Trail (park on Colbert Creek Road).

The trail has a lot of rocks and summits many 6000’ peaks— Mt Craig, Tom, Balsam Cone, Potato Hill, Winter Star, Mount Gibbs, Horse Rock, and Celo Knob (via a .20 mile overgrown spur trail.) the crest has amazing 360 views for a lot of it, also spruce- fir forests and stone staircases.

There is very little water on the trail, so bring some with. There is a spring on the Colbert Ridge side trail and a creek toward the Bowlen’s Creek end.

Wow. Best views around. Be warned, it is longer than 13 miles, and having a heavy pack takes a toll.

Definitely NOT for novices!!! Beautiful views but difficult especially down hill which last six miles are.

Hiked with three young children from Mt Mitchell to Mt Craig and back. There are challenging parts, but our clan took it in stride. Beautiful walk and outstanding views.

I did this trail in September of 2015. Difficult but rewarding, bring water and a change of socks is a must due to always muddy conditions on the trail. Even in early September the temperature can be in the low 40’s -mid upper 60’s Make sure you also have some warm clothing because when the sun goes down it drops 15-20 degrees at 6,000 ft.

Great hike. Weather can be varied from 70-80 to the Teens during the fall. So be prepared!

backpacking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike! Little hump and Big hump were tough but not impossible. Springs were easily marked at Overmountain Shelter, between little hump and big hump, and at Doll Flats (11ish mi).

We had intended to do the raiders camp portion but decided to stay on harpers creek to connect with yellow buck mainly because of the amount of creek crossings. Harpers creek has 8+ significant creek crossings. Not a hop and a skip. More like “time to break the water shoes...again...” I love playing in the water and a major crossing here and there is fine, but hiking a quarter mile and changing shoes again and again gets old fast. Yellow buck kicked our butts! Granted everything was still in a state of disarray due to hurricane Florence the week prior, the trail had been cut into deeply by the water from the storm. Taking 2-3’ high steps on an already intense incline was simply not enjoyable. Personally I’d stick with hiking around harpers creek. Plenty of views and TONS of great camping sites.

Just hiked this section this weekend and absolutely loved it! Instead of staying the night at Overmountain shelter I hiked the extra ~2 miles on day 1 to stay on top of Little Hump and it was well worth it! There are a few grassy areas that are perfect for pitching a tent and you wake up with the most breathtaking views. Also, as a female solo traveler I felt like this trail was very safe and easy to navigate since you don't have to jump from trail to trail. This part of the AT is very well maintained and blazed and I never felt worried about getting lost or in an unsafe situation. The downhill slopes after Doll Flats are tough though and I was very glad I brought my trekking pole for some extra support! Overall amazing section with some incredible views!

It was my first hike but I was with experienced guys and it now has me hooked on hiking. It was difficult but well worth it.

We did the whole thing in one day with backpacks. We had camped Friday night near the trailhead/near standing bear hostel (great place, very friendly) and got an early start Saturday morning. Our plan was to make it to Max Patch Saturday, catch the sunset and sunrise, camp for the night, and hike back to the car on Sunday. Hahaha.
We made it to Max Patch but by the time we got there we were exhausted. It stormed on us for the last mile and the radar called for more, so we bailed.
Northbound is not for amateur backpackers or the faint of heart. It is up, up, up. Southbound is probably much easier.
We’re glad we did it and plan to come back and overnight from Max Patch to Hot Springs.
Notes:
Can camp near standing bear and cut out an extra mile of trail where there’s not much to see.
Water at trail head and 2 miles up, 5 miles up, and then allegedly near Max Patch but we didn’t find it.
Lots of neat camping spots along the trail. We should have started earlier on Friday and gotten further in on the trail instead of trying to do 13 in one day.
Not a lot of views on the trail, just at Snowbird and Max Patch.
Hiking would be a lot easier than backpacking.

hiking
4 months ago

Gentle incline, but was beat by the end of it still. Some great views along the way. Had to step off a few time for mountain bikers coming down. Think we stepped in a yellow jacket nest about ten minutes up from the split from Star gap. Two people and two dogs all received multiple stings.

Outrageously beautiful on a mostly clear day in Sept. It is as hard as you would think, and so it is that rewarding to complete. If the weather is nice, give yourself time to enjoy the amazing views.

Scenic all along the trail. As a hiker who backpacks approximately twice a year, it was difficult but the views were 100% worth it.

great views , Spruce Pines, Awesome hike

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