Hiking - Camporees

What is a Camporee?

            A camporee is a car-camping weekend. We choose a campground that is central to a cluster of trails. Often there are trailheads in the campground. Most people arrive Friday afternoon or evening, before quiet hour begins. Sites are secured and tents are pitched. There will be a packet of information about each hike. At the Friday night campfire, leaders of the Saturday hikes give pitches why their trip is the best.  Some hikers arrive early Saturday morning, and sometimes we can accommodate day hikers. 

            Usually we schedule four hikes on Saturday. They are generally the longer hikes and ones that require a shuttle.  For Sunday, we usually have three or four shorter hikes. On Sunday we like to have hikes that are loops, are in-and-out hikes, or have very short shuttles. We schedule at least one easy hike on each day. 

            All hikes depart the campground at 9:00 a.m. 

            On Saturday night the camporee leader plans to produce a barbecue dinner, or some other community meal. 

2015 Camporee

Dates:  2, 3, and 4 October 2015

Place:  Mortimer Campground  (U.S. Forest Service, Grandfather Ranger District)




South Fork Harper Creek Loop                        Saturday October 3    9:00 a.m. 

CMC Hike # 759

Hike 9.76.  1400 foot ascent.  Rated A-B 

Leader: Jill Gottesman    jill_gottesman@tws.org  828-587-9453; cell 828-545-5236 

This hike makes a loop inside the Harper Creek Wilderness Study Area. The forest is fast recovering from logging in the 1920s. See two waterfalls, including the 200 foot Upper Falls. Twelve wet crossings. Bring or wear appropriate footgear.  Trailhead is near campground. 

Topo. Chestnut Mountain. Nat. Geo Map 779.


Upper Wilson Creek                                            Saturday October 3       9:00 a.m. 

CMC Hike # 754

Hike 6.6.  750 foot ascent.   Rated: B-C

Leader: Brenda Worley.  bjdworley@gmail.com.  828-684-8656; cell 828-606-7297 

Highly scenic hike along a boulder strewn upper segment of Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River. The route continues along Stack Rock Creek and Andrews Creek, tributaries of Wilson Creek. See river rocks polished and bleached white by sandy flash floods. Many crossings, of which at least one is wet, and more depending on the water level. One narrow footlog. This is wild and remote country.  Medium length shuttle. 

Topo: Grandfather Mountain.  Nat. Geo. Map _______


Lost Cove Creek – Timber Ridge loop                       Saturday October 3    9:00 a.m. 

CMC Hike # 760

Hike 7.75. Ascent 1240 feet.     Rated B-B 

Leader: Paul Benson     pdbenson@charter.net      828-251-1909 

This hike makes a loop inside the Lost Cove Wilderness Study Area. It starts by descending rock bound Gragg Prong and its waterfall of the same name.  Reaching its junction with Lost Cove Creek, we turn up Lost Cove Creek. Up that creek a short distance is Hunt Fish Falls, and time for a swim in its plunge pool. Continuing up Lost Cove Creek we make a side trip to Little Lost Cove Creek Falls. Then follows a climb up the zig-zag trail up Bee Mountain. From its summit we follow the aptly named Timber Ridge, and a side trail through enticing forest back to the starting point. 

Topo: Grandfather Mountain.  Nat. Geo. Map _____



Loafer’s Prize – Trail # 264                                       Saturday October 3       9:00 a.m.

CMC Hike #

Hike 1.6. Ascent 520 feet. Rated:  C-C

Leader: Doreen Blue             deeblu7@aol.com

Starting from a trailhead on FS 45, this gentle hike passes an exposed flat rock, traverses through an appealing gap, and descends the defile of Laurel Mountain Branch, to end on the bank of Wilson Creek. Exploring upstream as far as one can throw a rock, we find a sloping riverside rock shelf on which to enjoy lunch. Hikers can hang out here, or explore farther upstream to an old chimney. An easy hike that gives participants the flavor of the upper part of Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River.  Return by reversing direction on the trail used to reach the river. 

Topo: Grandfather Mountain                 Nat. Geo. Map _________




WC100 North Harper Creek and Little Lost Cove Cliffs    Sunday Oct. 4,   9:00 a.m. 

CMC Hike #757

Hike 6 miles (approximately). Ascent 1200 feet.  Rated C-B

Leaders: Les and Catherine Love.    Lesrlove55@gmail.com    828-658-1489

This old hike has received some new trimmings. To the North Harper Creek Challenge waterfall, we have added the Chestnut Cove Branch waterfall. In order to create a loop hike we have added a short stretch of cross-country travel from Trail #266 over to Trail #271-A. The connection passes through a nearly level, magnificent grove of closed canopy red oak forest. It utilizes in part a portion of the abandoned Thumbtack Trail. The new route takes us to both outcrops of the Little Lost Cove Cliffs, with their expansive views. 

Topo: Grandfather Mountain.  Nat. Geo. Map ______


Pine Ridge and Phillips Branch                            Sunday October 4       9:00 a.m. 

CMC Hike #761         

Hike 6.7. Ascent 1300 feet.  Rated B-B 

Leader: Jim Reel.  Jimr57@yahoo.com       828-738-0751; cell: 828-443-2532 

Here’s a new trail discovered by Jim by close scrutiny of maps.  From a trailhead for Trail #255 located behind the Wilson Creek Visitor Center our hikers will climb on switchbacks to the top of a knob, then continue up Pine Ridge in a recovering forest to a high point on the shoulder of Chestnut Mountain. From this high point, we descend a gentle gradient on an old roadbed to a pleasant gap. There we leave Trail #255 and take Trail #252, down Phillips Branch. After a short segment of roadbed, we continue on a dug trail that threads down the tight “ V” of Phillips Branch. The trail crosses the stream above and below two exquisite waterfalls. The trail ends at the Wilson Creek Road, and we can either shuttle, or road walk the 1.2 additional miles back to the Visitor Center.

Topo: Chestnut Mountain.                    Nat. Geo Map _________


Nuwati Trail to Storyteller’s Rock                            Sunday October 4       9:00 a.m.

CMC Hike #

Hike 3.35 miles. Ascent: 900 feet.          Rated:  C-C

Leader: TBA

This hike is in the new Grandfather Mountain State Park.  Nuwati is the Cherokee word for “Medicine.” The hike will start from the Boone Fork Parking Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 299.9. A short section of the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Trail is utilized to reach a junction where the Nuwati Trail begins. The Nuwati trail ascends gently on an old logging railroad bed. When the turn-off to Storyteller’s Rock is reached, there is a short scramble to the top of the rock. Here there are glorious views to the north and east. Note the grooves in the rock worn by cables of the high lead skidder.  Feel their slippery smooth channels. This is an in-and-out hike. 

Topos: Grandfather Mountain; Valle Crucis.  Nat. Geo. Map ______


High Falls of South Harper Creek                           Sunday October 4        9:00 a.m. 

CMC Hike # ______

Hike 3.5 miles. Ascent 100 feet.    Rated: C-C 

Leader: TBA 

From a trailhead on FS58 we walk Trail #260, a ridge crest trail, with views of Kawana. A short drop leads to a junction with Trail #277, which we take. It leads immediately to a crossing of South Harper Creek. As we cross, our attention will be called to a small waterfall just upstream, and some old mill hardware. This may be a wet crossing. Ascend on Trail #277 to a grandstand viewpoint above the high falls of South Harper Creek, about 200 feet high. This is an in-and-out hike, so after enjoying the view we will retrace our route.

Topo: Chestnut Mountain.  Nat. Geo. Map ______





            We will be camping at the U.S. Forest Service Mortimer Campground. Campsites cannot be reserved.  This is a first come – first served campground. Registration does not mean a campsite is guaranteed.

            Sites 1-5 are on a bench on the west side of a small stream. Sites 6-15 are in an upper loop across a bridge over the small stream. There are two restrooms, one for each loop. They have running water and warm showers.



            There will be a group barbecue supper on Saturday night. It will be held in the covered picnic pavilion at the campground. Cost will be shared on a pro-rata basis per person eating.  BYOL.



REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED, BOTH TO ATTEND AND FOR THE BARBECUE SUPPER.  We ask you to register even for attending so that we can keep a running attendance count, and so we can place an upper level on attendance in case of numbers that overload our planning expectations.  Register with either or both with Ted Snyder. tedsnyderjr@bellsouth.net. 864-638-3686.



            The U.S. Government fiscal year ends on 30 September 2015. In the event that by October 2 appropriations have not been made for FY 2016, or in the event that the national debt limit has not been extended, there may be a U.S. Government shutdown. That would include closure of the Mortimer Campground. We are working on a contingency plan.



            A departure bulletin will be sent about a week before the camporee to all those who have registered. It will give you any needed last minute information and updates.



1. Take I-40 East to Exit 100, Jamestown Road. Miles and time to this point will vary.

2. At Exit 100 take ramp, and at top of ramp, at signal light, turn left on Jamestown Road. 

3. Follow Jamestown Road (N.C. 126 merges in) 3.4 miles to N.C, 181.  6 minutes. 

4. Left on NC. 181, and continue 10.7 miles to Brown Mountain Beach Road, at Smyrna Baptist Church (both on right).  15  minutes. 

5. Right on SR 1405, Brown Mountain Beach Road, then 5 miles to bridge and at far end of bridge, junction on left with SR 1328, Brown Mountain Beach Road. On far side of SR 1328, at this second junction, note Forest Service sign for Mortimer Campground.  11 minutes. 

6. Left on SR 1328, up Wilson Creek gorge (pavement turns to gravel in less than a mile) 8.6 miles to N.C. 90 (Edgemont Road), at “T” intersection.  20 minutes. 

7. Left on NC 90, 0.1 mile to entrance on right to Mortimer Campground. 1 minute.

8. Right into Mortimer Campground entrance and access road. 

Total mileage and time from Exit 100: 27.8 miles; 53 minutes.