Explore Valentine's Trip 2017 - 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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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).

I disagree with a few of the comments here. This hike is very easy, but enjoyable if you want to get a quick workout in while visiting Hot Springs. It took me about an hour to complete with my dog. The only challenge with this hike is the unmarked trails. The part of Lover’s Leap on the AT is clearly marked with white blazes, but the rest of the trail is not marked. Bring a map and a compass and you’ll be fine.

Easy for first time hikers as well as experienced. just make sure you have water prior as water is quarter mile away if you dont want to walk. but worth it!!!

If you are looking for an easy trail that gives great 360 views- this is one of the best in that regard

on Craggy Pinnacle Trail

hiking
11 days ago

Great short hike to the summit from the parking area. You ascend around 400ft over 3/4 mile so not to bad. The trail is dirt and rocks. Great views at the top.

loved the views. Truly worth the drive. Would like to go in fall and even start over night.

GREAT views, and a real workout once you start to climb!

Views are beautiful and it’s very peaceful at the top. Like others have said, it’s not much of a “hike” it’s more of a walk to the top, take in the scenery and head back to the bottom. All and all tho, it’s definitely beautiful up there.

This is not a hike it’s short and beyond easy. The 8 mile drive up the mountain is more eventful than the “hike”.

There is are fantastic views at the summit and great sunsets, but good luck enjoying them. Due to the simplicity of the “hike” there will be tons of people at the summit to provide you with a relaxing atmosphere of pizza, loud music, and obnoxiously loud laughing and screaming. If you’re looking for relaxation and a peaceful evening then skip this one

As others have said, you have to cross under hwy 26 and follow the markers up the hill toward the cemetery, the trail is on the left hand side of the road as you walk up. About 3/4 of the way into the trail there is a sign that says “high rock” - this is the only look out/view available on this hike.

hiking
20 days ago

For a shorter hike the views were amazing...

I was told how fantastic that place was, and drove about 2hours for it. I will admit I was a bit dissappointed. If you are around, sure do it! But otherwise...

(kids pov) Really liked the trail, would do it again, "this trail rocked, haha" (lots of rocks).
(mom) This was a really cool trail, but I'm not going to lie - the hike up from the picnic area was rough. Constant climb and lots of rocks. From the pavilion up is easier and gorgeous. So green, informational placards, and a lovely natural spring on the side of the path. Pretty wildflowers! Blueberries weren't ripe yet. Best dog drinking fountain ever! Would do it again.

Great short loop. Beware if you have seasonal allergies, they will flare up!

Nice short hike, it took maybe 10 minutes to get to the viewpoint. If you’re able to get up there on a less cloudy evening for sunset, it’s an incredible view!

Max Patch is one of my absolute favorite hikes! The views are incredible any time of the year. My favorite time to visit if for the sunset/sunrise! It is a fairly easy hike, suitable for all ages!

NOT ticks! Don't worry! They're weevils.

Great short hike with spectacular 360o view! Only 0.4 miles up (the trail sign said 0.7 miles, but my GPS only measured 0.4mi). Wildflowers on trail. I went on a Tuesday late afternoon, and it was only lightly trafficked.

Short hike. A little steep but a great 360 degree view.

Ok so if you’re going to do this trail start at the picnic area and head up from there. I made the mistake of starting at the visitors center and heading down, only to find some picnic tables overlooking a parking lot! Kids were not pleased. The grassy knoll was nice, saw some people hanging out up there in some nice spots. That’s easily accessible from the visitors center if you just want a nice easy spot to be....never found the waterfall either

Such a short hike with such a big payoff! I know one reviewer said that they had been swarmed by ticks the other day, but I was just up there today and the little black bugs that were up there were NOT ticks, they were weevils!! It’s gorgeous, best around sunset if you can!

trail running
1 month ago

I only did 6 miles (RT). I started at the Walker Knob overlook, off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take path to the Left that points in the direction of Big Butt. You will be on Big Butt Trail. In 6 miles (RT), you can ascend and descend Pt. Misery (no view), and climb to Little Butt Overlook. There is a rock outcropping with a view here. I kept going pass Little Butt overlook for another half-mile. The trail is a bit less well-maintained after Little Butt, but still very obvious for the additional half-mile that I took. When I got to 3 miles, I turned around and returned to parking lot. Nice trail. Enjoyed the hike. Ran for much of it. Do this is you want a great walk in the woods. Trail has lots of steps--see photos.

I'm not getting it, but I totally didn't see a waterfall. There was a juncture, off this path, that leads to Douglas Falls in 3.6 miles. But, I didn't see a waterfall on this 1.9 mi (RT) trail. Trail was well-maintained. Start at the picnic area parking lot. When you get to the "Visitors Center," which is a pavilion, go thru/under the shelter to continue straight. If you take the path to the right, it leads to a dead-end about a quarter mile up with a below-average overlook. The straight path will lead you to the juncture already mentioned or to the start of Craggy Garden Trails from the overlook. This is a nice path for a walk in the woods after a picnic. I did this as my last hike of the day, so I didn't have enough in me to take the Douglas Falls path for what I assumed would be a 7 mi RT. I only did it because I thought I could get a waterfall in under 2 mi RT.

Did this hike the other day and it was spectacular! The hike itself is really short and easy - there were a few families up there with some little kids. The 360-degree views were stunning and you could see for miles! It was about an hour’s drive to get there, but it was absolutely worth it!

Heads up: the map here actually shows the trail that goes from Sam’s knob to big bald. To hike to hogback Ridge shelter you actually go under I 26 and then up a big hill to the left following the white marked signs. I did not do it correctly and took the uphill portion toward big bald. I was not disappointed however as you come out along a long ridge with awesome views. The hike to get there was completely shaded on a well-maintained trail. Beautiful day!

The drive was long, but so worth it. We loved the scenic drive. The hike was great and easy enough for our young children to hike. The view from the top was amazing!!!! Words can’t even describe the magnificent view!!! God surely showed out when He made this part of the world!! I recommend this hike if you want an easy day hike for family!!

It's a rough and bumpy drive to get to the parking area (~30 min off the main road). We went at 5:30 AM on July 4th and there were still 15-20 other groups there. We did the short hike from the parking area to the bald for the sunrise and then took the longer way on the AT back to our car. Highly recommend the AT portion of the hike; it's much quieter and fairly easy, but I would suggest wearing pants and closed-toe shoes for that trail, as the grass is tall in some spots.

Beautiful trail but when we got to the top we were swarmed by ticks. Not just a few. Each of us were covered with 20 to 30. What was weird was that it was at the rocky part at the top. People were running down screaming. Weirdest thing ever.

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous 360° views. You can get the most amazing panoramic shots. Very mild and brief hike.

Watch out for ticks! Went up July 4th around 7 PM.

Must do, must see, just go.

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