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hiking
21 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.

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

This is one of my favorite trails in WNC. Like everyone else says, the left is the best way to go. Follow the stream, the waterfall itself is kind of disappointing. There's a waterfall a little ways down the trail on the stream anyways that's better. And the camping is amazing, there's tons of spots right next to the stream. I've been out there at least 6 times in the last year and a half, and had a great time every time.

hiking
3 days ago

If you start going to the left, then your reward is the tall, lightly flowing falls at the end of the trip. You follow a creek on one half of the loop and go through a changing forest on the other half. The trail is has a canopy keeping the direct sun out of most of the trip.

5 days ago

Really enjoyed this hike. I was glad I read the reviews before we hiked it because going left was the best way to go. The uphill that direction is better versus if you start this hike on the right because there is a steeper climb going that direction. I will say if you go left first the best part of the hike is the first half because of the waterfalls and foliage. If you prefer a harder uphill go right first then the last half of your hike is the best.

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

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

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!

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!

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.

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!

Hard work but the view makes it worth it! Lots of water on the trail causing frequent mud puddles.

15 days ago

A great hike with amazing views. A walking stick is helpful at times.

hiking
15 days ago

Hiked this fun trail today with my parents in their 50s and my youngest sister who is 12. Not at all difficult for me but a little slippery on the way down. Beautiful views to the South and a very pretty waterfall at the trailhead. Strongly recommend!

15 days ago

One of our family favorites. Strenuous, but not impossible.

This trail is fantastic. Easy walk up with a few points of interest and the view at the end is breathtaking. No wonder the trailhead is ALWAYS packed.

The only downside was the rapid influx of obscuring clouds once we reached the top....after a few minutes, the Parker my lot was not visible, along with everything else. But what a view we had before the clouds engulfed us! Loved this!

Great hike with fantastic views at the top. A very popular trail so expect lots of company and to be parking on the side of the road since the parking lot will most likely be full. The trail is very well maintained. I would describe it as a moderate hike since all of the switchbacks make the ascent very managable.

Very nice trail for a great view at the top.
Would say it’s more of a moderate trail than hard.
Would recommend proper hiking shoes due to exposed roots, noticed some people having footing issues with running/gym shoes. I would do the trail again .

This is an amazing little hike. Great for dogs and hikers, even bikers. I didn’t bring anything with me. Besides a dog leash. Some might want to bring a little snack, water etc. The end is beautiful. Great swimming spots scattered around. The end is worth it! There are a few different paths you can take. So read up on where you want to go. BE IN SHAPE. Know your body. This isn’t a trail for people who are new to physical activity. Or people who have never seen a real “mountain trail”.

Enjoy it! It’s mind clearing and a great workout.

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