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hiking
17 hours ago

Such incredible views! Absolutely worth climbing the altitude. It’s pretty quick for a fit hiker but gosh you can spend the entire day at each overlook you pass. Loved it.

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).

Viewed the lower falls and then hiked to the upper falls. The trail to upper was pretty muddy but not at all un-passable. We hiked back to the parking lot by going on the graveyard fields trail to add some variety. Lower falls were very crowded but the hike to upper falls had more solitude and when we arrived at the upper falls we were the only ones there.

Amazing views, first half of the hike was rough for us. Cross the river three times in lower section. If there is heavy rain, expect to get wet.

Beautiful trails and waterfalls!

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.

3 days ago

Good, rocky hike. Some nice resting spots with beautiful views

So cool omg!!!!

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

This is such a unique hike! You get good views of Lake James early on and they don’t stop as you reach the top and beyond. Lots of ledges to look out on and plenty of great camping spots along the way and at the top. Not a big time commitment either - Really loved this hike.

Best view you will see in North Carolina!! Relatively easy hike with a huge payoff. 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

Love this trail probably one of my favorites

Great trail. With all the rain I would definitely have some shoes that handle mud and water really well. A lot of the trail is shaded so it was very wet. I loved it though.

The end of the trail at the peak of the mountain makes the hike completely worth it! It's a gorgeous 360° view.

hiking
7 days ago

Best hiking trail on the parkway with the best views! It is very convenient and it is located right off of the Parkway! This trail is very unique compared to other hiking trails in the area! If you are planning a hiking trip, this is a must do!

hiking
7 days ago

Good hike. The Wolf Rock Trial combined with this one makes a better hike. Great views!

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!

We hiked this after a huge rainstorm. Flat creek was full of water which made Graybeard Falls extra beautiful. This hike was everything we were looking for. The first stretch is a fairly steep climb over rocks and roots with a few creek crossings. It was challenging but we were still able to do it fairly quickly. 10/10 will hike again!

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.

hiking
9 days ago

Great views from a number of rocky outcrops, including views of the Linn Cove Viaduct, and expansive Blue Ridge mountain vistas. Budget at least an hour round trip, more if it had just rained or trail is wet. It gets very muddy after rain and the rocks can get very slippery. Multiple parts with steps, no gravel, mostly dirt/rocks combination mixed with tree roots. Good footwear needed; Once I did it in my running shoes - not a great idea. Moderate to hard in places.
Avoid, if possible, during weekends, or after 10am, as it gets uber-crowded. Children over 6 should be able to do it, as well as older adults in reasonably good shape/health.
Overall: great short hiking opportunity;

Note to BRP maintenance crews: trail is overgrown with shrubbery in places, no gravel left either, it's literally begging for some maintenance TLC.

Take this trail which connects with the John Rock loop trail for some spectacular views! Much less crowded than the Looking Glass Rock trail and still with beautiful scenery. Park at the Pisgah Wildlife Education center and pick up a trail map- very well marked and maintained.

Great workout. Not a scenic “hike”.

hiking
10 days ago

Challenging enough but very doable (my 8 and 5 year olds were fine). Views are amazing and worth the hike.

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

Currently pretty wet, so some added difficulty there. Hiked solo to the summit and back with a couple of side adventures for a total of about 10 miles in just under 4 hours. The view from Walkers Knob overlook is incredible. Prepare to sweat!! I slipped a few times coming down the steeper sections, and the stream crossings are fairly well under water right now, so make sure you have good tread on your shoes! Advise doing this with trekking poles if you are headed to the summit!

backpacking
12 days ago

The access road *is* accessible in a sedan. I managed to get a Charger up it, in the rain, with minimal fuss. Just be mindful of the blind corners, as most of the road is only wide enough for one vehicle.

PLENTY of water available from top to bottom this week. Just listen for water (and/or use your topo!) and you’ll find’em.

This is definitely a difficult hike when fully kitted out. I noticed the majority of people were carrying small day packs. Once you hit the switchbacks, you’re committed. The trail is well marked and clear, but definitely sketchy in a few areas and rather strenuous on the way up (and down!). Summer heat/humidity plus thunderstorms made for an interesting (and tedious) ascent.

Definitely doing this one again. I set up camp in a clearing just past the Gully Pipe, my hammock just a few feet from a cliff overlooking the Gorge. Absolutely stunning views at sunset, the sounds of the river almost 1,000 feet below and a gentle breeze made for an incredible site.

All said, an amazing trail and definitely worth doing. Just remember to do your part and LNT while visiting.

Great trail, beautiful waterfall, stairs were a little tough, only downside really was the amount of people—a LOT

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