Explore the most popular forest trails near Barnardsville with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Second on in and out and back to Big Butt Mountain. Little Butt has a heck of a climb from the gap below Point Misery. Thanks to the High Country Conservation group for installing stairs and maintaining this very narrow trail. On the back side are some great views east and west towards the rest of the Black Mountains and the Craggy Mountains. Unfortunately, the clouds closed in soon and I hiked in the rain from thereafter.

A tough but enjoyable trail. A lot of steep steps. Trail is well maintained.

hiking
2 days ago

There are two ways to get to Big Butt: a stiff steep hike from NC 197 at Cane Gap or a longer ridge and multi peak climb from the Walker Knob Overlook on the BRP about 5 miles south of the Mount Mitchell State park entrance (NC 128). I took the latter route which longer, but ultimately more rewarding as you climb Brush Fence Ridge, and up and over Point Misery and Little Butt before arriving at the side trail to the summit of Big Butt.

These peaks form the western rim of the Black Mountain and lie thousands of feet above the Cane River Gorge that can be head roaring below when you get to Little Butt. The forest resembles the Mount Mitchell Trail flora and fauna, event though the elevations do not exceed 6000 feet. The trail is well maintained by the the NC High Peaks Trail Association and included hundreds of wooden step that make the climbs much easier to maneuver. The best views lie on the ridge between Little Butt and Big Butt. Unfortunately clouds rolled in when I hiked this track and so was only able to catch short glimpses of the valley to the east (and not the Black Mountain Crest). Hiking this route in early spring or late fall should give you a better chance of good weather and less foliage blocking vistas.

From the Walker Knob Overlook, take the trailhead to the SOUTH. **Be careful here as an old forest road and the Mountains to Sea also converge in the field behind the overlook parking lot. You will descend over a hundred feet before gently ascending to the top of Brush Fence Ridge and finally to the summit of Point Misery (the name was not indicative of this side of the mountain - the return trip up the backside will give you an appreciation of why it is appropriately named). The HP is just off the trail and there is a Geodetic Marker as well as several marked bearing trees nearby.

From there, descend steeply over 300 feet to a grassy gap and then ascend up a series of stairs around giant rocks to the inauspicious peak of Little Butt Mountain. The trail continues a very narrow ridge reminiscent of the Amphibuolite Mountains. Look for rock outcrops to the right and left of the trail for some tremendous views of the Black Mountains (east) and the Craggy Mountains (west).

Continue along the ridge ascending gently to a well marked side trail to the left that will take you via an interesting semi-open trail to the summit of Big Butt. No ascertainable views here, but I accidentally surprised a nide of about 30 pheasants. The tremendous fluttering and so much wing flapping and feathers flying gave a feeling of both being on the the set of THE BIRDS and of marveling at the sight of these beautiful creatures. Then the rain started. It continued off and on on the hike back and was so intense at times that I felt more like this was the Amazon rain forest, not western NC. And yet, once I got wet, it was pleasant. Only real obstacle was the relentless climb back up to Point Misery.

Of course once I got back to the car, the rain stopped and the sun came out! For completists, cross the road and hike to the crest of Walker Knob on the M-to-S trail (see separate entry for more detail on this peak and others described above).

This is a spectacular hike!

First, let’s all thank Nola for writing the first review below... Thanks Nola!

The prior reviews are all true. This little hike packs it all in! Outstanding views, varied terrain, varied flora and fauna.

You’d be hard pressed to find a hike this short with such a variety of everything. It goes from pine forest to wild flower meadows to blueberry bushes all within a mile.

Maybe this hike should remain a secret?

If you are looking for an easy trail that gives great 360 views- this is one of the best in that regard

on Craggy Pinnacle Trail

hiking
13 days ago

Great short hike to the summit from the parking area. You ascend around 400ft over 3/4 mile so not to bad. The trail is dirt and rocks. Great views at the top.

I found this to be a difficult hike but well worth it.

(kids pov) Really liked the trail, would do it again, "this trail rocked, haha" (lots of rocks).
(mom) This was a really cool trail, but I'm not going to lie - the hike up from the picnic area was rough. Constant climb and lots of rocks. From the pavilion up is easier and gorgeous. So green, informational placards, and a lovely natural spring on the side of the path. Pretty wildflowers! Blueberries weren't ripe yet. Best dog drinking fountain ever! Would do it again.

Nice short hike, it took maybe 10 minutes to get to the viewpoint. If you’re able to get up there on a less cloudy evening for sunset, it’s an incredible view!

NOT ticks! Don't worry! They're weevils.

Great short hike with spectacular 360o view! Only 0.4 miles up (the trail sign said 0.7 miles, but my GPS only measured 0.4mi). Wildflowers on trail. I went on a Tuesday late afternoon, and it was only lightly trafficked.

Short hike. A little steep but a great 360 degree view.

Ok so if you’re going to do this trail start at the picnic area and head up from there. I made the mistake of starting at the visitors center and heading down, only to find some picnic tables overlooking a parking lot! Kids were not pleased. The grassy knoll was nice, saw some people hanging out up there in some nice spots. That’s easily accessible from the visitors center if you just want a nice easy spot to be....never found the waterfall either

Such a short hike with such a big payoff! I know one reviewer said that they had been swarmed by ticks the other day, but I was just up there today and the little black bugs that were up there were NOT ticks, they were weevils!! It’s gorgeous, best around sunset if you can!

trail running
1 month ago

I only did 6 miles (RT). I started at the Walker Knob overlook, off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take path to the Left that points in the direction of Big Butt. You will be on Big Butt Trail. In 6 miles (RT), you can ascend and descend Pt. Misery (no view), and climb to Little Butt Overlook. There is a rock outcropping with a view here. I kept going pass Little Butt overlook for another half-mile. The trail is a bit less well-maintained after Little Butt, but still very obvious for the additional half-mile that I took. When I got to 3 miles, I turned around and returned to parking lot. Nice trail. Enjoyed the hike. Ran for much of it. Do this is you want a great walk in the woods. Trail has lots of steps--see photos.

I'm not getting it, but I totally didn't see a waterfall. There was a juncture, off this path, that leads to Douglas Falls in 3.6 miles. But, I didn't see a waterfall on this 1.9 mi (RT) trail. Trail was well-maintained. Start at the picnic area parking lot. When you get to the "Visitors Center," which is a pavilion, go thru/under the shelter to continue straight. If you take the path to the right, it leads to a dead-end about a quarter mile up with a below-average overlook. The straight path will lead you to the juncture already mentioned or to the start of Craggy Garden Trails from the overlook. This is a nice path for a walk in the woods after a picnic. I did this as my last hike of the day, so I didn't have enough in me to take the Douglas Falls path for what I assumed would be a 7 mi RT. I only did it because I thought I could get a waterfall in under 2 mi RT.

Beautiful trail but when we got to the top we were swarmed by ticks. Not just a few. Each of us were covered with 20 to 30. What was weird was that it was at the rocky part at the top. People were running down screaming. Weirdest thing ever.

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous 360° views. You can get the most amazing panoramic shots. Very mild and brief hike.

Watch out for ticks! Went up July 4th around 7 PM.

hiking
1 month ago

Scenic even though low clouds limited visibility and views. I want to do it again on a clear day.

Lots of old growth. Hiking down seemed harder than the hike back up.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked from Craggy Gardens visitor center and was 6.23 miles. Beautiful secluded trail and narrow at some parts. Vegetation undergrowth at some parts is beginning to overtake the trail so pay attention as you get closer to the falls.

The waterfall was underwhelming and the hike back was tough. Prepare for 3.24 miles uphill on your return.

hiking
1 month ago

Both the Craggy Garden and Pinnacle are about equally difficult. A much better view from the landing at the top of Pinnacle

Great app

Hiked in from Graybeard overlook. 7.42 miles there and back. Beautiful wild flowers out today and the fall was running. Great hike, the way back is tough but not as bad as you might think. Worth the effort!

The trail is easy to follow. No tough forks or question marks. Enjoy!

Great hike with beautiful views. Lots of flowers. Took us a long time because we stopped so many times and for such long times.

backpacking
2 months ago

Tough but fair, pretty technical with rocks roots and mud but the falls are exactly mid way and a great reward. I had a pack with me so without a pack I’m sure it’s easier. A great training trail!

Totally gray and misty day but a great hike with the family. Pretty certain we saw some fairies...

Spectacular views! Nice, short trek for the family and dogs! Fun driving up to as well!

Do not take inexperienced hikers. I went with an inexperienced hiker and from the Craggy Visitors center to falls and then back to the visitor center took 6.5 hours. It’s a fun trail, rough terrain, twisted my ankle multiple times. At a certain point on the trail one of the many falls intersecting the trail consumes the trail. At this section I would advise to take your socks and shoes off and cross. This section seemed dangerous, there used to be a metal wire rope but it broke, and is hanging in the falls. This is the excitement the trail brings. Something to think about too is the view of the sunset from the craggy visitor center is spectacular. So plan the hike perfectly that you can see the falls and the sunset. But make sure to give yourself extra time if you want to do both. The hike is not easy.

Tough but fun and worth the view at the end.

Great trail to take non hiking visitors on (probably why it’s often crowded). Views are wonderful. Take a jacket. Even in summer the temp can be a little unpredictable.

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