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The Pisgah National Forest is a land of mile-high peaks, cascading waterfalls, and heavily forested slopes. Comprised of over 500,000 acres, the Pisgah is primarily a hardwood forest with whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails. This national forest is home of the first tract of land purchased under the Weeks Act of 1911 which led to the creation of the national forests in the eastern United States. It is also home of the first school of forestry in the United States, now preserved at the Cradle of Forestry in America historic site, and boasts two of the first designated wilderness areas in the east. The Pisgah, Grandfather and Appalachian Ranger Districts are scattered along the eastern edge of the mountains of western North Carolina and offer visitors a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation and enjoying the natural beauty of the mountains.

worth the view at the top!

hiking
19 hours ago

Drive up the street also called Graybeard to reach the trailhead parking lot. Parking in the Assembly Inn parking lot will buy you a 3/4 mile walk uphill before the trail even starts, as it did us.

First 1/3 until you reach the switchbacks are quick gains with some nice stream crossings until you reach the switchbacks. Decently uphill. Then you'll hit the falls.

After the falls are nice and chill switchbacks. Save your energy here.

Switchbacks are over into a good climb to the shelter. Definitely veer left here and head to Walter's Knob. It's a better view than the summit. Honestly, it's totally justifiable to stop here and head back.

The section from the shelter to the fence (where another trail joins up) is tough. The hardest part of the climb by far. Push forward 30-45 minutes. The final 3/10 not too bad and a solid overlook at the summit.

I'm a pretty novice hiker and in only decent shape. About 3 hours up and 1.75 down. Wore me out.

A nice balance.

Keep an eye out for labeled areas with bees. Had bright pink tape when we visited. Noticed too late. Caught a few stings on the way down.

Read all the signage before heading in. Have fun!

Lovely little hike, about 1500 steps to the falls from the parking area at the end of Road 2173. Not sure why it's listed as 5.5 miles unless we missed a different trailhead. Nice spot to listen to the water and just enjoy.
Easy for dogs and humans.

Views from the top are so worth the climb!

waterfall is worth the hour drive from the main road to parking area.

The road down into this hike is dusty, graveled and sorta bumpy in the curves. I wouldn't bring a low rider to a Subaru fight. lol.

First off.... hike this trail dry, or risk some rather slippery situations . Have you ever done slide rock? This trail could be called Steel slide trail after a good rain , in two or three spots.

Now, this place is chock full of surprises! It begins feeling like you are hiking in Georgia, and end out like you are hiking in Oregon ! The terrain and surroundings change constantly, making this a very interesting and beautiful walk. If I were a runner , this would be a little slice of heaven going in and down, and ...well , then you gotta come back up, right?

The trail head is tame and wide. Then the Laurel and Rhodies canopy over and the trail narrows down a little. You will come upon stairs , cross a branch, and then take a left at the large fallen log. A small camp site is to the right with another trail , I think, which will lead back up to the road.

Eventually the trail will become close and steeper.... with areas you will want to watch your step carefully, or end up down hill quite a ways! Lol. Single file only.

Then the rhododendron give way to a pine and hickory wood which is total enchanting.... literally , you feel like the brothers Grimm probably just passed thru . The trail gets steeper thru this phase, with lots of nice toadstool and fern variety.

As you finish into the bottom , you can hear Steel creek and there are numerous areas to camp. The "bear tree" you can see in my pics is just to the entrance of one camping area .

There is a small stream to cross and then "stay right as you go along... as the trail will become part of mt to sea trail" , we were told by a very serious and experienced hiking lady. I really have no idea .

We never did find the falls that are shown in other photos. But we didn't care too much by then....just shucked off our shoes and settled into the cool mountain Steel's creek, up to our ears. The water was full of fish and crystal clear. Heavenly! I'm not big on hiking in 90 plus temps and so humid you could cut it with a knife, but the stream was cold, the sky blue and quiet was broken only by bird call and the water tumbling. (totally sappy , I know...sorry)

Coming out wasn't too hard... as long as you stop and let the fire go out of your calves once in a while. It is really steep , but not so steep that you need your hands touching the ground in front of you , if you know what I mean. I would carefully consider bringing anyone on this trail who has a history of cardiac issues, all joking aside.

So, just when you think you are gonna "keel over right here and now", the trail will level out, and gives you a breather . Evidentially the grade softens considerably and the , "this may not be much of a hike , honey" feels awfully nice at about your tenth mile. By this time , if you are still alive, you will feel awesome ....the theme from Rocky , or Freebird, or Shady grove, or Appalachian Spring or something playing in your head!

I looked for a good bear track to photo... no luck, but they are plentiful in this area , per the local folk. Take plenty of snickers and water.

Steel's Creek trail was awesome !
Happy Hiking!
Pammie

Great hike. Nothing terrible but it did get a bit steep at the top. The views were beautiful, even with the rain storm.

The best hike our family (4 Kids - Oldest 11 yrs & Youngest 5 yrs) has taken! The trail is in really good shape with a couple of bridges ... and the view - breathtaking! Enjoy your trip ... this is a must!

The lookout is beautiful however the pavement was tiring on our joints. Will be biking this one next time.

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike with a few good points of interest. The falls are cool and the view at Walkers Knob was great. The last leg from the shelter to the summit was very tiring. Future trips, we will probably skip the summit and just do the trek to Walkers Knob.