I completed this solo hike on 5-24-20 morning starting at 6am and finishing just after noon. Earlier in the spring, I had completed the other AT sections near Greene County (Allen’s Gap to Spring Mountain and Jones Meadow to Jerry’s Cabin and on to Big Butt) so I had been looking forward to linking the gap with this hike. Also, I’ve drove up to Viking Mountain many times (quite the drive) so I was curious of how the trail compared in steepness and difficulty. Overall, I found this hike to be difficult on the last 5 miles down from the Laurel shelter just due to the total mileage. However, the hike up to the Whiterock Cliff and Jones Meadow was rewarding. The morning clouds and fog were rolling through rapidly making for interesting scenery looking towards the Blackstack Cliffs. There were no other humans (just turkey) on Jones Meadow at around 9am which was a rare occasion since this area is accessible road. The only muddy spots are just as you approach the Whiterock Cliff near the top. Aside from that, the trail was perfect. On my descent, a couple of healthy sized snakes, one black snake & one garter snake, were also enjoying the trail.

First off, when you get to the parking lot the trail you're looking for is the fire road that is blocked off from cars. There are other trailheads (e.g. Cowbell Hollow) from this parking lot, but this hike isn't labeled. About half of the hike is the fire road, straight up with occasionally switchbacks. Sometimes you get some great views (we hiked this in May), but it's fairly open and has stretches under the sun. At the top of the ridge you're on the AT, and it's an easy hike for most of this section. When you're about 1.5 miles from the end point, the hike turns into a rocky staircase, up and down. This part is pretty with great views on each side.

Unpassable and closed right now due to weather damage. 7 May 2020.

bugs
no shade
24 days ago

Fun trail right over the NC/TN border. Awesome views of French Broad River, steady incline and some pretty meadows along the way. Most of trail was in the sun even in the forest so bring plenty of water!

hiking
2 months ago

Well, I don’t know...perhaps I’ve been spoiled here lately with the beautiful hikes I’ve been on. This one was ok. Not my favorite and I probably won’t do it again. With that said, the road to the trailhead was closed so I hiked in 1.6 miles to the trailhead. Once there my dumb dumb brain could not find the trailhead. So I like scrambled up a rock wall to get to where it wanted me to be. With about a half mile of back and forths I realized I’m an idiot and should have just followed the trail for chimney. My bad for not researching and just winging it. Haha. There were some pretty overlooks but being winter still everything was kinda sad and pathetic to look at. If you’re looking for easy mileage, incline and more of a moderate (wouldn’t rate this hard) hike then it’s worth checking out once. Maybe when things are blooming and green...I can imagine it would be super pretty then! I had the entire trail to myself (probably because the road was closed) which was lovely as well. Meh, hiked better, hiked worse.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

A lot of up hill. Don’t be discouraged by the start it is 100% worth it

hiking
over grown
6 months ago

Trail needs a lot of trail maintenance. Walk a lot in the creek just to reach the falls. Trails not well marked

The trail is rated moderate and this is correct. A great fall hike. We caught the leaves at peak. It gets a little rocky near the end but it is so worth it. I didn't want to leave. Plan to eat your snacks and relax a bit at Howards Rock!

Great hike! Best in the fall to see all the colors. The last 1.5-2 miles is rocky but well worth the views. Happy Hiking!

Nice trail with some 360 views and not too many people

We only did the first 1.5 miles up and wife had to turn around. I was a good challenge for the first hike of the year (shame on us).

Googled where I could hike with kids. It said this place. There were so many creek crossings. I think the only reason the kids loved it. I had my dog with me and he got to run in and out of the creeks. I only hiked 30 minutes in and turned around. Mainly because I got creeped out. The kids and I kept walking into spider webs. Its beautiful to hike. I just got scared and just decided to turn around.

hiking
8 months ago

beautiful falls but the last time i went about july 2019 the trail is a lot harder and challenging. so many blow downs to go over under and around. there is another way to get get there without going round knob way. it is eaiser but adds xtra walking and you have 9 or 10 creek crossings before you get to the double blaze where u turn up and go up the other creek. park at the daviscreek trail parking area on shelton mission rd. then follow it all the way to the double blaze. you dont have that mountain to go straight up on your way back and there are some really nice small falls area to see that way

Ok so, the honest evaluation of this trail... -The trail itself is in good shape but it is very rocky the entire way so I recommend poles and good footwear. Shaded mostly the entire way. -Little overgrown the last 1/4 mile or so at the top so check well for ticks when you’re done. -Runs directly into the AT but very few opportunities for “scenic overlooks”. I also hiked about a half mile on the AT in both directions and couldn’t really find a great spot for a view but I could tell it was there. Probably a better view in wintertime. -Bear activity in the area so just be aware and pay attention. Once you get away from the parking lot it is extremely silent so listening for anything moving around is pretty easy. Lots of upper terrain so just pay attention to your surroundings. -I wish it would have had a few more views but overall a good trail. Hard on the knees. If you’re extremely outta shape this probably isn’t the trail for you. Reasonably steep but an easy trail to navigate.

Probably the most over grown trail I’ve ever done. Tons of spider webs and creek crossings too. Longer mileage and time than expected.

hiking
over grown
8 months ago

Started from round knob picnic area. first 2 miles, to the AT trail is 90% incline, pretty aggressive uphill. Once at the AT, turn right and at about 1 mile is the split. (some up and down through here.) well marked sign of exposed ridge vs bad weather trail. we went the exposed ridge trail. well marked and well groomed. lots of steps but fabulous hike. agree with others, the scenic overlooks are fabulous! we went all the way through to where trails merge and just came back the same route. the bad weather trail didn't look as well groomed. I think coming down from the AT trail back to the picnic area was the hardest because of the sliding gravel on the road. otherwise, fabulous hike. (toilets at round knob picnic area)

hiking
blowdown
bugs
muddy
over grown
rocky
11 months ago

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