Hike Reports 12/5/25

----------Wednesday Hike Reports----------

 

WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-611 Apr. 25
Big Ivy-Walker Ridge Loop 8:30 AM
Hike 8.2, Drive 55, 1950 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Marcia Bromberg, 828-505-0471, mwbromberg@yahoo.com
This hike begins on Walker Creek and Perkins Grails. All of the ascent is in the first 3 miles of the hike, after which we will enjo a pleasant stroll along the meadow-like Laurel Gap Trail before heading back down on the Bear Pen and Staire Creek Trails. These trails are rocky and steep in spots and there are several water crossing. Expect to see many wildflowers: Second meeting spot Roses parking lot in Weaverville at 8:45 AM Topos: Mt Mitchell, Montreat

WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-060 May 2
Pilot Mountain-Farlow Gap *8:30 AM
Hike 8, Drive 50, 2300 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Ashok Kudva, ashok.kudva@att.net, 828-698-7119, cell: 828-674-1374
P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Pisgah Ranger Station at 9:05 AM. This hike is timed for what we hope will be the bloom of rare pink-shell azaleas and trout lilies. It starts with a steep climb to the summit of Pilot Mtn., then down to Deep Gap and a short climb over Sassafras Knob. It’s nearly all downhill or level as we continue to Farlow Gap with its trout lily flower display. We’ll return on a pleasant seldom-used graveled forest road. There will be several stops for photography along the way. Topo: Shining Rock; also NatGeo. map #780

Six hikers completed this hike on a nice day. Pink Shell Azaleas were still in bloom but Trout Lilies completely disappeared. 360 degree mountain views from the summit were spectacular. Photos and report by Ashok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-469 May 9
Craggy Gardens to Bull Gap
*8:30 AM Hike 8.7, Drive 45, 1650 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Jim Ariail, 828-505-0443, jimariail@yahoo.com.
*Only meeting place: The lower parking lot of the Folk Art Center. A pleasant hike on the MST starting at Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and features Lane Pinnacle and the Rattlesnake Lodge site. Great May flowers and mountain views. Topo: Montreat

WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-222 May 16
Montreat Loop #3 modified *8:40 AM
Hike 5, Drive 40, 1300ft.ascent, Rated B-B
Ames Tryon, 828-669-3805, tryonaf@charter.net
*Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Ingles parking lot off Exit 64 off I-40 at 9:00 AM. This hike will be a modification of the #3 loop hike. The hike will start and end at the Greybeard trailhead. We will hike the Greybeard trail for a short distance, then ascend a steep un-blazed spur trail to the Trestle road. The hike continues up the Trestle road until intersecting the Greybeard Trail. Hike will descend via Greybeard and Harry Bryan trails to parking area. Topo: Montreat

WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-372 May 23
Big Fork Ridge to Rough Fork Loop 8:00 AM Barbara Morgan , 828-738-3395, cell: 828-460-7066, Barbc129@gmail.com
Hike 9.6, Drive 95, 1800 ft. ascent, Rated A-B 900M
We will hike from the end of the road in Cataloochee Valley up the Big Fork Ridge Trail, then turn right on to the Caldwell Fork Trail. We will pass record-sized tulip poplar trees, then turn down hill on the Rough Fork Trail. Second meeting place: Pilot Station off Exit 24 of I-40 at 8:30 AM. Topo: Dellwood

 

----------Half Day Hike Reports----------

 

 

HALF-DAY NO. H1202-490 Apr. 29 Craven Gap to Folk Art Center *12:00 PM Hike 5.4, Drive 12, 750 ft. ascent, Rated C-C Nonmembers, call leader: Bobbi Powers, 828-667-5419, bobbipowers@live.com *Only meeting place: back parking lot of Folk Art Center. A pleasant walk from Craven Gap to the Folk Art Center, usually a mecca for spring wild flowers. Short car shuttle. Topo: Oteen, Craggy Pinacle

     Was it April or July?  The temperature was in the 80's and sunny.  The advertised "sea of wildflowers" was instead a "sea of green foliage."  We found one lonely yellow lady's slipper and some fading trilliums.  Yes, we were victims of the early spring.  However, the views from Lunch Rock were superb, and the group of 15 hikers was a jolly bunch, so we had a good day.  Bobbi Powers

HALF-DAY NO. H1202-464 May 6
Balsam Gap to Greybeard Overlook *12:00 PM
Hike 4, Drive 44, 1300 ft. ascent, Rated C-B Nonmembers, call leader: Renate Rikkers, 828-298-9988, rerikkers@aol.com
*Only meeting place: back parking lot of Folk Art Center. A short hike through a range of environments and landscapes, including rocky trail sections that require good foot wear and hiking poles for bad knees. This hike takes us from Alpine vegetation through old hemlock and lichen-covered oak forest, over open blueberry balds with long-range views, and finally through lovely beech forest and sweeping native grasses to the Greybeard Overlook. Short car shuttle. Second meeting place: Craven Gap on the Parkway at 12:10 PM. Topo: Montreat

HALF-DAY NO. H1202-101 May 13
Lower Big Laurel Creek 12:00 PM
Hike 6, Drive 60, 300 ft. ascent, Rated C-C
Nonmembers, call leader: Stuart English, 828-883-2447, stuengo@comporium.net
Stroll along a beautiful stream with white water, rocks and surrounding high cliffs. Visit Runion Logging Camp. Over 250 species of vascular plants have been identified along this trail, including five endangered species. We should see abundant wildflowers. Parts of the trail are rocky - hiking boots / shoes are required. Second meeting place: Trailhead at intersection of US 25/70 at NC 208 at 12:45 PM. Topo: Hot Springs

  Hike was canceled due to rain.

HALF-DAY NO. H1202-384 May 20
FS 816 to Skinny Dip Falls 12:30 PM
Hike 5.3, Drive 70, 500 ft. ascent, Rated C-C
Nonmembers, call leader: Maggie Marshall, 828-772-4286, maggie.marshall@yahoo.com
P400 This will be a pleasant, mainly downhill ramble along the MST from Black Balsam Rd. (FS 816). The trail follows an old RR grade, slabs over a shoulder of Black Balsam Mtn. and proceeds rather steeply down to Dark Prong Gap. It continues behind Graveyard Ridge, descends to the Pigeon River which it crosses at Skinny Dip Falls. From there it's a short walk to Looking Glass Overlook at MP 417 on the BRP. Car shuttle. Second meeting place: Cold Mtn. Overlook at 1:10 PM. Topo: Shining Rock; also NatGeo map #780 and MST Profiles, pg. 36-37


----------All Day Weekend Hike Reports----------

 

SATURDAY NO. A1202-680 Apr. 28
Lost Cove *8:30 AM
Hike 8, Drive 90, 1500 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Jake Blood, 828-284-6878, thebloods@hotmail.com and John Whitehouse, 828-682-3217, johnwhitehouse@frontier.com
*Form carpools at Westgate at 8:30 AM, and meet leaders at Prices Creek General Store just off US 19E (Take Burnsville Exit 9 off I-26 then follow US 19/19E for 11.8 miles. Turn left onto Prices Creek Rd. You can see the store from there). We will hike to Lost Cove in northern Yancey County. Lost Cove, lost in time and geography, was settled pre-Civil War along the uncharted border of NC and TN in the Nolichucky River Gorge. Accessible only by foot, the settlement was abandoned in the 1950’s. Several ruins and a cemetery remain which we will explore. Time permitting, we may extend the hike to the river. Topos: Huntdale, Chestoa

SUNDAY NO. A1202-752 Apr. 29
Little Cataloochee History Tour 8:30 AM
Hike 8, Drive 90, 1800 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Mike Knies, 828-628-6712, knies06@att.net.
On this hike we will learn about the history of the mountain settlement of Little Cataloochee and the people who lived there. We will be visiting the community of Ola and investigating old home, mill, and school sites as well as farms, a church and a cemetery or two. We will be doing mostly on-trail hiking with a few easy short off-trail excursions. This is a special cultural hike like few others. Second meeting place: Exxon off Exit 20 of I-40 at 9:05 AM. Topo: Cove Creek Gap; also NatGeo map #317

    We had wonderful weather for 9 individuals who were interested in a somewhat different adventure. We learned about the life of people in the mountain community of Ola, and saw evidence of old mill, barn, apple house, school and home sites.  We found many objects that were in use at the time including stoves, glassware, buckets, and parts of farm implements. The tour was augmented by many stories and before and after photographs of the structures and the people who lived there. We had lunch in the old church which is one of three structures still remaining in the area.

SUNDAY NO. A1202-753 May 6
Alarka Falls (Mountain Treasures hike #15) (strenuous) *8:00 AM
Hike 10, Drive 150, 800 ft. ascent, Rated A-C
Brent Martin, 828-587-9453 (cell: 828-371-0347), brent_martin@tws.org
*Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Cowee Convenience Store (US 23 south, right onto Sanderstown Rd., right onto NC 28) at 9:15 AM. This new hike in the Alarka Laural area of the Cowee Mountains starts out on the Walton Smith Trail, follows old logging roads and unnamed trails to Alarka Falls and loops back to the trailhead. Topo: Greens Creek

SUNDAY NO. A1202-060 May 6
Pilot Mtn. – Farlow Gap *8:30 AM (moderate)
Hike 8, Drive 80, 1900 ft. ascent, Rated B-A
Ashok Kudva, 828-698-7119, cell: 828-674-1374, ashok.kudva@att.net P400
*Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo at 9:00 AM. This hike is timed for what we hope will be the bloom of rare pink-shell azaleas and trout lilies. It starts with a steep climb to the summit of Pilot Mtn., then down to Deep Gap and a short climb over Sassafras Knob. It’s nearly all downhill or level as we continue to Farlow Gap with its trout lily flower display. We’ll return on a pleasant seldom-used graveled forest road. There will be several stops for photography along the way. Topo: Shining Rock; also NatGeo. map #780

Bruce and I waited at Pisgah Forest Bi-Lo until 9:20AM.   Since nobody came, I cancelled the hike.

.Bruce helped me scout Vinyard Gap Loop at Turkey Pen instead.  We did some trail maintenance with a pocket saw and clippers  in preparation for a Sunday 1/2 day hike and documented a passable blowdown tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SATURDAY NO. A1202-246 May 12
Around Coffee Pot Mountain 10:00 AM
Hike 7.5, Drive 40, 1400 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Lenny Bernstein, 828-236-0192, lsberns@att.net
P400 We’ll circle Coffee Pot Mtn. by hiking up Trace Ridge Trail to Beaver Dam Gap on the BRP and returning on the Spencer Branch Trail, with a stop to see the Hendersonville Reservoir and dam. Topo: Dunsmore Mtn; also NatGeo map #780

  Five of us hiked up the Trace Ridge Trail from the Trace Ridge Trailhead on FS 142 to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a few hundred feet from Beaverdam Gap Overlook. We took advantage of the picnic table and trash can at the overlook to make it our lunch spot. The overlook is one of the many places that the MST hits the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  As we were finishing our lunch, two women, Diane Van Deren and her helper, came out of the woods along the MST. Diane is an ultra runner who is trying to beat Matt Kirk’s 24 day speed record for completing the MST. (If you attended the CMC Spring Picnic you heard Matt describe his MST trip.) What are the odds that a group of CMC hikers, who weren’t even hiking the MST, would be at just the right spot at just the right time to cheer Diane on?

  We hiked back along the Trace Ridge Trail to the Spencer Branch Trail, then took it down the old Hendersonville Reservoir and out the trailhead, crossing Spencer Branch a number of times. Each time the stream was wider and deeper until we had no choice but to get our feet wet. But the weather was mild so hiking with wet feet was no problem.

  The mountain laurel were in full bloom and we saw many other flowers – both spring and summer ones. As has been noted before, the normal flower schedule is completely confused this year. 

      
 

SUNDAY NO. A1202-214 May 13
Kimsey Creek Trail - Standing Indian Circuit 8:00 AM
Hike 11, Drive 170, 2800 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA
Janet Martin, cell: 502-494-9309, jaykaymartin@msn.com
This great spring flower hike in the Nantahala National Forest is known for its beautiful forest, rushing streams and excellent vistas. We’ll hike up the Kimsey Creek Trail to the AT at Deep Gap, and then along the AT to our lunch spot, Standing Indian. At 5498 ft., it is the highest mountain on the AT south of the Great Smoky Mountains, with outstanding views. From the summit, the hike will be down Lower Trail and Ridge Trail to loop back to the Standing Indian Campground Second meeting place: rest stop beyond Waynesville on US 23/74 at 8:30 AM. Topo: Rainbow Springs; also NatGeo map #784

SATURDAY NO. A1202-008
May 19 Bee Tree Gap to Tanbark Tunnel *9:00 AM
Hike 6.2, Drive 40, 1300 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Kathleen Hannigan, 828-230-4883, kathleen.hannigan@pgnmail.com
*Only meeting place: back parking lot of Folk Art Center. A pleasant spring hike on the MST over Lane Pinnacle and through the Rattlesnake Lodge site, featuring excellent views, interesting rock formations and many wildflowers. There are several steep but short ups and downs and a long, well-graded descent. 6-mile car shuttle. Join the hike leader at her home for wine and cheese after the hike. Topo: Craggy Pinnacle

SUNDAY NO. A1202-119 May 20
Charlies Bunion and Mt. Kephart 8:00 AM
Hike 9.4, Drive 135, 2400 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA
Marianne Newman, 828-257-2136, marianneln@att.net
SB6K, 900M This scenic in-and-out hike will follow the AT from Newfound Gap to a spectacular lunch spot at Charlies Bunion. After lunch we’ll do a side trip to Mt. Kephart and the Jumpoff. Second meeting place: Maggie Valley P.O., but contact leader first. Topo: Clingmans Dome, Mt. Le Conte, Mt. Guyot; also NatGeo map #317