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The Pinnacle Trail is a 7.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Sylva, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 7.4 mi Elevation gain 2,477 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Camping Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Running Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky Scramble
Description
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Facilities
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Getting There

Great backwoods hike. Very steep and great views. Quite rocky so a great workout.

Easy to find.

North Carolina Div. Of Travel and Tourism, 301 N. Wilmington Street , Raleigh, NC, 27601, Phone: 919-733-4171

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (443)
Photos (598)
Recordings (341)
Completed (766)
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Charlotte Schwartz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

We liked this trail. Pretty moderate climb taking east fork up. Came back down west fork, which had more varied terrain, including a narrow, muddy walk way up above the creek. Next time we want to go up the east fork and climb black rock when we are fresh because we heard that was a hard scramble to the top.

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ryan mcdonnell
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Hiking
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Elissa Cannon
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HikingMuddy

Originally did this beast based on word of mouth and ended up coming down in twilight. It is a tough long hike make sure you give yourself lots of buffer time. The trail is well worn and easy to follow but muddy and, depending on the weather, rivulets run across it. Go to the second look out the view is great. You will likely hurt the next day but its worth it.

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Joshua Guthrie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 18, 2020
Hiking

uphill the whole way. wear sturdy shoes with ankle support as most of the trail is large rock. Hard but well worth it for the view and the trip down is fine. When you get to the top go a little farther there is a safe rock past the first one that gets you a complete panoramic view.

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Ruben Romo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
Hiking

Very rocky! Recommend shoes that have ankle support for sure. Overall it’s a long steady incline until the last mile or so. Parking can get packed after 10am on weekends. Also don’t be fooled, keep walking until you get to the cliff! Not just the rocks that have some views.

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Karen Snyder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
Hiking

Difficult trail, grateful for every semi level break you find! View is SO worth it.

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Anna Crabill
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Hiking

This hike is VERY HARD but SO REWARDING! I went up the west trail and down the east trail. It was 8 miles total. The east trail seemed really pleasant at first and then was very treacherous at the end (as a solo hiker it was a little scary). Be prepared to give your body a break the day after this hike, it will hurt to walk afterwards. 10/10 recommend!

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David Davis
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HikingGreat!Rocky

It is intense, so fair warning if you do not like walking up a steep, rocky mountain, with 1700 ft of elevation in the first two miles. That is what this hike is, with very little flat until you get near the top. For us, the challenge and the panoramic views were worth it. Absolutely stunning! Going up the west fork and down the east, we clocked 8miles in 3:40. Once you get to the point where the forks reconnect, it is a nice walk up to the overlook. I recommend NOT going up the east fork. It is longer and more difficult to traverse. East is rocky but has plenty of space, which is good particularly with Covid, and good spots to rest alongside the stream. The West is more of a trail, and yes it has some downed trees, which are fairly easy to walk under or step over. And I am sure it can get overgrown at times, because it is narrow at spots (though it was clear for us), but if you can’t handle such things, again, not the trail for you. Overall, this is something to do again for sunrise or sunset, and definitely an excellent way to spend the morning!

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Jade Tuttle
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Hiking

Quad burning trail with a summit that is totally worth it. Well-maintained path, but can get muddy towards the top.

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Carrie Jacobs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2020
Hiking

This was a tough one! Definitely sore today but it was totally worth it for the views at the top. Uphill is fairly steep and pretty steady a majority of the way.

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Douglas Lambier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 18, 2020
Hiking

This trail has me in a wheel chair tomorrow! It was a good 2.5 mile hike to the top...and coming down isn’t easy either. I did the trailer with my dog which made it a little more tough but manageable.

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Liz Gregorius
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2020
Hiking

Not as bad as some reviews made it seem. Made it up the west trail in about 2 hours by myself and the view was definitely worth it.

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Gina Mazzilli
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Hiking

This was one tough trail!!! Not much to look at on the very steep 3 mile vertical trek, but the view at the end is incredible! But you can also see this same view from one of the many points off the blue ridge parkway. It was a nice accomplishment though. VERY buggy which drove me crazy and the flies at the top are not the most pleasant of experiences. All in all- We came, we saw, we conquered...

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Jenna Helm
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Bird WatchingRocky

Not for complainers! Hiked in with headlamps and made it to the peak at for sunrise. The view was spectacular and 100% worth it! Reading these other reviews makes me happy I have cool hiking buddies. Y'all are missing the point of hiking in general. This is now one of my favorite trails

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Ben Chris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020

The was a great hike. Take you're time and go at you're own pace and you should be just fine. Did this trail along with black rock which branched off on the eastern section. Took 6 hours to do both, and both were incredible!!! BlackRock was probably my favorite if I had to choose, but pinnacle was also very breathtaking, and much easier and safer due to no climbing a boulder. Definitely recommend this trail.

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Andrew Cole
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Hiking

Excellent. Plenty of water sources. Matthew & Claire, thank you for the trail magic!! Glad ya made it back.

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Marcel Silveira
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HikingGreat!Rocky

After finishing this hike I came on here and read some of the reviews. They’re amusing to say the least. No, it isn’t a nicely paved and well kept trail. Yes, it is quite rocky, making footing difficult. Yes, it’s straight up almost the whole time making it tough. Yes, there were a few gnats buzzing around. Suck it up and keep pushing to the top! The fantastic view that awaits you will make the effort with it. I definitely recommend this trail if you’re an avid hiker and like a good challenging hike. Enjoy!

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Lia M
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HikingBugsRocky

Took the west side loop up- relatively unforgiving as it is almost exclusively uphill for the first 2 miles. The pinnacle trail tapered off a little bit, and the peak was great but could easily be missed as the trail to the outreach was hard to spot. Fantastic views at the top made the difficult trek worth it. Ended up taking west side back again due to torrential downpour. Bug spray and extra water recommended, but worth it overall!

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Jason Haskins
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Hiking

didn't make it all the way up, straight up on the East trail

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Casey McClintick-Sink
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Hiking

Not for the faint of heart!!! It was so steep, we had to take many breaks. The view was worth it!

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Lauren White
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HikingRocky
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Emily Ayers
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HikingBugsMuddyRocky

Hated this trail. But it wasn’t even a trail, it is an old rocky road that is horrible! I only went .6 miles before I decided it was awful! Was not fun, do not recommend.

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Emma Coltoff
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HikingBugsRocky

The secluded, beautiful view is definitely a worthwhile payoff for a rocky, steep ascent and descent. Gnats will follow you everywhere. Would not recommend on a hot and humid day (today is July 4th lol.) Also, just before the view the trail disappears in between some trees. Make sure to find the opening...you’ll know when you reach the view.

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Geoffrey Hudik
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HikingMuddyOver grownRocky

Maybe that 7.4 miles is only for Pinnacle via West Fork. I took the steep East Fork hike up, came down the Pinnacle extension, and West Fork back down and Apple Watch clocked it at 9.14 miles from the parking lot and back and that took me 6 hours. East Fork up is a single track that’s quite steep and overgrown and slippery in places but it’s beautiful and a heck of a workout. West Fork was more rocky, wider, more water and flowers. The view at Pinnacle was nice but maybe a bit less impressive in person than I imagined from photos. I honestly really enjoyed all the hiking to / from as much and probably more. Bugs are bad in areas. Recommend long sleeves and pants (but light) as there’s plenty of poison ivy and brush and helps with bugs. Also trekking poles were helpful to me.

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