Scaly Mountain Summit Via Hickory Nut

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Nantahala National Forest

Scaly Mountain Summit Via Hickory Nut is a 5.6 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Highlands, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.6 km Elevation Gain: 167 m Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly


nature trips

bird watching



wild flowers


1 month ago

Fairly easy hike. Just a bit of an uphill heavy-breather for a 1/4 mile or so near the top. (Much easier hike than the one up to Rabun Bald from Kelsey Mountain Road, for instance). Good level parking area off the roadway with space for 5-6 cars. Starts out on a power-line road; don’t miss the right turn onto the trail about 1/4 mile up the power line road. The views up “top” are phenomenal. There are 3 or 4 vista spots up there on moss-covered rock clearings. The last one is actually kind of over the top and downhill some. If you’d rather not get too winded coming back up from it, you could skip the last one, which would make it all the more easier and about 3.5 miles round trip instead of about 4 miles round trip.

Easy trail with great end view off scaley.

3 months ago

Good times. We caught the first hike after a snow so we laid the fresh tracks. We didn’t see any other hikers so felt like our own private adventure. It flows through a couple of natural tree tunnels of rhododendron which was cool. We want to come back when they are in bloom. Summit view is worth the trip!

5 months ago

Easy hike up but use appropriate shoes as the trail gets wet and muddy towards the summit. Great trail for dogs!

5 months ago

As you're hiking up the service road from the parking area, be sure to note the fork in the trail to the right about a quarter-mile up. There is a small sign noting the turn, but it could be easily missed if you weren't paying attention. Trail can be very wet and muddy over the last half-mile of the ascent to the summit. Waterproof shoes are highly suggested.

Great hike starting at Hickory Knut Gap on the Bartram Trail. Go across dirt road from parking area and up the cellphone tower road [Bartram Trail] until you take a right turn up Scaly Mtn. You'll take another right where the trail intersects with the trail from the Osage Mtn Overlook on the Dillard Road. The hike is a gradual uphill to the summit with some open balds with views. Nice hike through the woods until you get near the top. Enjoy!

8 months ago

Nice trail up to Scaly Mountain. Definitely smoother than coming up from the Bartram Trail side. Some nice outlooks towards the top, but nothing spectacular. Easy for trail running as well.

8 months ago

Views from the top are pretty. The trail didn’t seem all that hard, or all that long! (Could I be getting fit?!!!) At the very end it says most difficult - it’s really not, don’t be scared! It’s peculiar! You’re walking a really long ways, on a flat-ish part of a rock. I’ve never been, but it reminds me of walking on the moon! I wasn’t sure when it ended, there were a couple of rocks to stop and take pictures from. The surface change to dirt and you start going downhill. I think that was the end! I turned back!

9 months ago

One of my favorite trials! Pretty easy hike and with great views! Went after work and it took about an 1hr and half in and out. that's with us hanging out for a bit at the top. We heard a fox at the very top & discovered what Fox poop looks like. educational and fun!

Devils courthouse. Perf view at end

11 months ago

Very nice hike. Great views. Beautiful wildflowers today

Easy hike up and nice spot for lunch at the top. First 2/3 of trail are in dense canopy, opens up near top.

Tue Apr 30 2019

Good workout! took 1.5 hours out and back. Our pup got tired and needed to be carried , but he has short legs! pretty view from the top.

Wed Mar 27 2019

absolutely wonderful trail, well kept and easy trek up to the Summit. beautiful views

Fri Feb 15 2019

This is a beautiful and relatively easy hike. We spent almost every Easter at the top our first years here. This is a great one for families, for it is manageable for kids to do as well (though they may struggle at the very end). The rock at the top is a great place to lay out and take a sun nap after soaking in the views.

Thu Nov 08 2018

fabulous hike!

Sun Nov 04 2018

Great trail! Well marked and easy to park and use.

Thu Dec 28 2017

Easy to find . Not too hard. Even our 11 year old dog had a great time . The only thing to mention are the icy patches due to time of year .

Tue Sep 05 2017

Nice moderate trail. The start is actually a power line road but about 1/4 mile the scaly mountain trail begins on the right. Nice upward slope to the trail. About three visible openings near the end to see the mountain views. Most of the trail is heavily tree covered but the end is worth the effort.

Sun Aug 13 2017

Nice moderate climb. Some areas of the trail felt like you were going through tunnels because of the mountain laurels. There was also a cool tree growing on a rock that's worth seeing near the top.

Mon Jun 26 2017

Nice easy climb! Take appropriate shoes! Trail gets muddy towards the top.

15 days ago

4 months ago

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