It's rare to find a really tough trail that doesn't take all day. Gully creek only takes about an hour if you are in great shape and are really pushing. That said, this trail is NOT for the out of shape or faint of heart. When you see warning signs at trailheads don't even think about it unless you get excited about the challenge!!
Beautiful hike. First timer and did it clockwise, it was difficult but took our time coming up the normal but strenuous incline. A tricky bit of rock scaling but manageable--worth it all to see the small falls and listen to the sounds of nature.
I really enjoyed this hike. It is not as crowded as some of the other better Blue Ridge Parkway trails. The climb back gets you working. Not a lot of views, but the trail itself is beautiful...particularly as it follows and crosses the creek in several places. You can't go wrong regardless of the direction you take the loop. But I would recommend counter-clockwise only because it is probably a little easier climbing up as you follow the rocky creek.
Fun way to start the day. We opted to do it clockwise (because I dont understand how clocks work, haha) and it was great. The slow hike down the switch backs and multiple river crossings on the decent were tons of fun. Even the trip back up wasn't bad.
We celebrated our 41st anniversary while enjoying this day hike trail in 90*+ weather! Thankfully we read on AllTrails.com the wise recommendation to approach the Cumberland Knob Loop "counter-clockwise".
Great advice! Exiting the Loop by way of Cully Creek Gorge kept us cooler & in the shade when we needed it most! Plus the added benefit of the switchbacks were so much easier to traverse than the straight up grind we would have endured otherwise!
Thanks for the "tip"!
Great hike -- I almost missed out due to the rather severe warning regarding "serious outdoorsman" only. This is well maintained trail with a number of natural creek crossings and small waterfalls. As it starts at the top of the mountain, it is a descend and ascend trek. Depending on which way you proceed around the loop, either the descent or the ascent will be along a series of small creeks that join into Gulley Creek at the bottom. I would recommend taking it counterclockwise, so you have the creeks with you on the way back up - more excuses to stop and catch your breath! It is a fairly strenous trek -- it took me an hour and a half to complete the 2.5 mile loop from the parking lot area.