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    David Penland completed Pink Beds Trail

    about 1 month ago

    David Penland reviewed Balsam Range Little Sam Knob Loop Trail

    3 months ago

    This is a fun trail with diverse scenery. I agree with the moderate difficulty rating, but for people who are a little out of shape like me, I would suggest following the loop in the opposite direction by starting off on the MST segment and finishing on the Flat Laurel Creek trail for two reasons. The first reason is that the grade of the Flat Laurel Creek Trail is more gradual so you will be finishing your hike with an easier climb. The second reason is that there is not really any water after you really start climbing the MST route, while there is plenty of water to filter and drink coming up FLC. Whichever way you decide to walk, the views on the MST are well worth it. You will have to step off trail for the views, but they are at obvious places. You will have a clear view of Pilot Mountain to the South and Looking Glass Rock to the east, and well as one view of Devil's Courthouse. The area around Black Balsam and Sam's Knob tends to be overused, so get in early to find a convenient parking space(the service road will fill up with cars by noon). However, this loop does not get too much traffic, so you will find the opportunity for solitude.

    David Penland reviewed Commissary Trail

    3 months ago

    I agree with other reviewers, that the classification of easy for this trail is off a bit. If you are out of shape like me, I would classify it as moderate to hard. Experienced hikers who are in good shape would probably find it easy to moderate. The Commissary trail segment is fairly easy, but the uphill and downhill sections are considerably harder, especially in the very wet conditions I experienced. It is a great hike to escape hot temperatures in August. I was up on 8/12 and the temp was mid-60s. The view from the summit is worth the hike, though you may find it a little crowded from April to October.

    David Penland followed Jeff Crane

    3 months ago

    David Penland completed Commissary Trail

    3 months ago