Graybeard Trail

MODERATE 129 reviews
#13 of 135 trails in

Graybeard Trail is a 9.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Old Fort, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

9.2 miles
2437 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




nature trips






wild flowers





washed out

5 days ago

Good hike. You cross the creek three times in the beginning. I was able to cross without wetting my feet. Lots of residual ice on some of the rocks from the freeze last week. Definitely take the Walkers Knob detour...very short but great view. Made it all the way to Greybeard summit.

6 days ago

Tough start but it eases up a bit once you get going. Went during fall and found it to be pretty wet so bring an extra pair of socks because you have to cross the water at several places.

15 days ago

Great trail. First 1.25 miles is climb but once you hit the switch backs it a much easier climb. Clearly marked trail.

21 days ago

Went on Xmas Eve. Empty trail, a little mud, beautiful hike.

28 days ago

Nice trail!

29 days ago

Great trail with lots of side trails. It was frozen for a while. Just made it more fun.

2 months ago

Loved the variety of this trail. Nice ascent next to and across tumbling waters. Then flattens out to a long run of easy switchbacks. Waterfalls and a great overlook included. Rocky, rooty, descent to keep your mind in the game.

2 months ago

One of my favorites!

4 months ago

My favorite Asheville short hike. The incredibly varied terrain is a landscape architects dream!

5 months ago

In total we clocked this to be 10 miles, including side trips to Walker Knob and Greybeard falls. 2.75 hours up and 1.75 hours down. First third of the ascent is rocky and uphill, second third is relatively flat during the switchbacks, last third is uphill, narrow and overgrown. Brought our dog so it was nice having the stream for her to cool off in on the hike back down.

It was cloudy so we saw nothing at either Walker knob or the top of Greybeard. Can't control that aspect of the hike so didn't rate based on the lack of a views. However do not expect a nice clearing at these two locations, Walker knob is two rocks that are in a small clearing. Top of Greybeard is a circular area, maybe 20 feet wide with some rocks that overlook the mountain. This was VERY overgrown and had a lot of bees. All the clouds blocked our view but on the other hand kept the temp down.

I would hike this again, but probably after I've exhausted other options for hikes of similar distance and complexity around the area.

5 months ago

This is the information on which I believe since it took us just under 6 hours to complete the climb. There is a lot of misinformation abroad about the length of this trail. Montreat's trail handouts say it is 3.25 miles, a figure that probably was never accurate to begin with but certainly hasn't been correct since the trail was significantly re-routed a few years ago. The distance from trailhead to top is just short of six miles. The vertical rise is 2400 feet. My husband and I are in moderately good shape and it took us 31/2 hours to get up the hill and 2 to get down. It was a great hike but long and exhausting. I would not recommend going to the top since the last 45 minutes was strenuous and the view was not that great. I would just do walkers knob instead. We did the trail on a Monday afternoon and it was not crowded at all.

5 months 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!

5 months 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.

5 months ago

Can't wait to come back. Made it as far as the falls just past the cutbacks & decided that was enough for the day.

Coming back next year with plans to make it to the shelter.

6 months ago

Agree with the other comments recommending Walkers Knob. Definitely worth the very short detour! Overall great hike - one of my new favorites in the area

trail running
6 months ago

Nice private owned trail in Montreat. Good gains in the first 2 miles before the switchbacks. You must hit Walters Knob. That view is almost better than the graybeard summit... almost. Was able to run about 60% of the trail. Added west
Ridge and Piney to loop back to trail head. Can boom down!

6 months ago

Gorgeous! It's a real booty-burner in some spots and if it's rainy or wet like it was for us, you're going to need to be a little extra careful when you're walking up/down those rocks/stones. The view is worth the trek - absolutely beautiful! The climb up was also quite beautiful - we stopped a few times to admire nature and snap some photos. We aren't pro hiker s- wore some athletic clothing, brought a backpack with some drinks and some snacks. Also had some extra socks, sneakers, and shirt/pants for afterwards.

6 months ago

This proved to be more on the difficult side for my and my sister. The beginning portion was very difficult for someone who does not hike often, when we got to the potion where we could choose a different route we did. Walker's knob has a great view!! That is where we ended.

6 months ago

Beautiful trail, quite challenging at the beginning and the end, but its a great trail. Lots of wildlife, I even encountered a deer with 2 young. The view at the summit was beautiful too. It took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to the top and 1 hour and 20 minutes to get down.

7 months ago

Gorgeous trail!!!! It was a real butt kicker for me but I loved every bit of it!!! Loads of bugs so bring spray. Be prepared to go mostly uphill to the peaks. There are actually 2. If you are tired when you reach the shelter, take the Walker Knob 5 minute view path on your left. You will get a spectacular view and have enough energy to get back to your car. The trail to Graybeard is very narrow and overgrown and a real serious butt kicker especially that last 3/10 of a mile. It is beautiful though.

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