Hike Reports 12/6/25

----------Wednesday Hikes----------


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

    Nine people went on this hike. In addition to the route described in Let's go we added a lunch break at Walkers Knob that added about 1 mile to the distance and 200 feet elevation gain. The hike was pleasant until a heavy rain storm with lightning and hail made the final 1/3 of the hike a wet slippery mess.

WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-372 May 23
Big Fork Ridge to Rough Fork Loop 8:00 AM
Mike Kniesknies06@att.net
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

    It was raining in Ashepatch when I got up but the radar looked good in Cataloochee.  No one was at Westgate, so I almost went home.  Decided to head to site two at exit 24 and if no one was there go on a do a hike on my own.  Met 5 stalwarts and the highway was not even damp over there.  We reversed the route because the high foot bridge over Cataloochee Creek at the trail head was missing.   It had been there three weeks ago when I did a partial scout on a different hike.  We wanted to put the wading off until the end.  We had a great day talking to rangers, visiting old home sites, investigating mill stones at a mill site, discussing the history of the area and attempting to identify a lot of very large trees.  It took five of us to reach around one big poplar.  We were passed by 8 horses on Rough Fork which muddied things a bit.  Otherwise the rain held off the last 10 minutes and though the humidity was max the temperature was mainly cool.  Those scared off by the rain really missed a treat.


WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-367 May 30
FS 816 to Bridges Camp Gap via Grassy Cove *8:30 AM
Hike 8.8, Drive 65, 1600 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Laura Frisbie, 828-337-5845, laurafrisbie@gmail.com
P400 *Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at BRP Cold Mtn. Overlook (MM 412) at 9:10 AM. Wilderness area, limit 10; contact leader for reservation. A favorite hike of many that includes a gorgeous variety of environments. Follow the ALT to Black Balsam and Tennent Mtn, then descend to Ivestor Gap, turn right and hike down Grassy Cove Ridge to the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River, then right onto Bridges Camp Trail to MST and Bridges Camp Gap. Car shuttle. Topo: Shining Rock


WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-248 June 6
AT: Spivey Gap and Nolichucky River 8:00 AM
Hike 10.6, Drive 110, 2000 ft. ascent, Rated A-A
Janet Martin, 502-494-9309, jaykaymartin@msn.com.
Follow the AT north from Spivey Gap to the Hostel at the Nolichucky River. Great view of the Nolichucky gorge. Car shuttle. Topo: Chestoa WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-521

    Weather was perfect and dry.  See those smiles! As always, AT was well maintained.  After descending and descending and descending to the Nolichucky River, the hikers stopped at Uncle Johnny's to peruse his hiking merchandise and high caloric treats for thru hikers.  Janet 


June 13 MST: Mt Pisgah to Bent Creek Gap
8:30 AM Hike 8.4, Drive 45, 1440 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Joe Burchfield, 828-338-0443, burchfield@niu.edu We will follow the MST north from Mt Pisgah Parking lot (without climbing Mt Pisgah) to Bent Creek Gap. This hike features a long descent (3180 ft.) with numerous up and downs and a moderate climb over Ferrin Knob near the end. Car Shuttle. Second meeting place: BRP French Broad overlook at 8:50 AM.Topos: Cruso, Dunsmore Mtn; NatGeo map #780 and MST profiles p 42-45.

    11 people showed up for Joe Burchfield's hike from Mt Pisgah to Bent Creek Gap. The weather was the best of the week so far even as the heat and humidity crept back upon us. We climbed over Little Pisgah Mountain and then down it for over 3000 feet descent. An issue lately has been the lack of weedeating on the parkway and our trails due to the death of a parkway worker while mowing. Recently our trail crews had taken a weedeating certification course and were now cleared to weed eat our trails. As we traversed Little Pisgah, we found some had been weedeated and some had not. Joe had been suffering a knee-leg problem lately and was not sure he could lead this hike. So at the half way lunch spot at Mills River Overlook, Jim Ariail graciously took over the hike. Joe would later join us a mile from Bent Creek Gap. When we made the climb over Ferrin Knob, we heard a gas powered machine in the distance. Lo and behold, it was one of our intrepid trail maintainers weedeating on top of Ferrin Knob. We had been enjoying the benefit of his work from Beaverdam Overlook. His name is Ron Walls and kudus to him for a job well done and a highlight to our great hike. The Phantom Hiker.

WEDNESDAY NO. W1202-566 June 20
Roan Mountain *8:30 AM
Hike 8, Drive 130, 1000 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Tish Desjardins , cell: 828-380-1452 desraylet@aol.com.
*Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at MacDonalds in Burnsville at 9:10 AM. This in-and-out hike features great views. From Carver's Gap we go over Jane Bald and Round Bald to Grassy Ridge Bald. With luck we will hit the Rhododendron Bloom. If time allows we will drive to the gardens and walk 1/2 mile to see the view from Roan High Bluff (small fee). Topo: Carvers Gap, NatGeo #783

    We arrived at 9:55 at the Carver's Gap trailhead parking lot and began the hike at 10:05.  It was a very pleasant sunny day, so, the far off views were outstanding.  Surprisingly, the goats had arrived along with their dog mascots.  (Previously, it was indicated that they would arrive in a couple of weeks.)  Actually, some of our fellow CMC members, who we ran into on the hike, volunteered to herd them up to Grassy Ridge that day -- our own Joanne Tulip, Doreen Blue, and Tommie Boston.

    The flame azaleas were still beautiful and the Gray's lillies were still outstanding since the prior Sunday hike.  The rhodos were no longer in bloom, though.  :-(  It was a great casual hiking day!!

Tish Desjardins

----------All Day Weekend Hikes----------


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

    Ten hikers took advantage of a gorgeous day to hike to Charlie's Bunion, with a short side trip to Mt. Kephart (SB6K) and the Jumpoff on the way out. Mt. Kephart itself is a small hump identified only by an orange, cork-like marker, but the outstanding views from the Jumpoff made it worth the extra climb. It was fun to check out Charlie's Bunion far below. On the way back, we had a good visit with through-hikers at the Icewater Springs shelter. Blue bead lilies (Clintonia borealis) and sand myrtle were the major blooms in this season, but we also came across a few uncommon rose twisted stalks. To cap off a near-perfect day, we were never held up by slow traffic either on the Parkway or on 441 to and from Newfound Gap.

SUNDAY NO. A1202-125 May 27
Mt. Collins & Clingmans Dome from Road Prong trailhead 8:00 AM
Hike 12, Drive 150, 3900 ft. ascent, Rated A-AA+
Jeff McGurk, cell: 864-921-6469, jbsbestfan@hotmail.com
SB6K, 900M Bag two SB6K peaks on this strenuous AT adventure up to Clingmans Dome and return. Great views and May wildflowers. Second meeting place: Maggie Valley P.O., but contact leader first. Topo: Clingmans Dome; also NatGeo map #317

Jones Meadow to Allen Gap 8:15 AM
(Joint Hike with SMHC)
Hike 9, Drive 100, 900 ft. ascent, Rated A-C
Becky Smucker, cell: 828-231-2198, bjsmucker@gmail.com
LTC This scenic hike climbs up to the AT from Jones Meadow, and then follows the AT south to Allen Gap, with a side trip to the Camp Creek Bald tower. There is a 3130 ft. descent. 8.7 mile car shuttle. Topos: Greystone, Davy Crockett Lake, Hot Springs; also NatGeo map #782

  Ten hikers from CMC and 14 from Smoky Mountains Hiking Club met at Allen Gap to carpool up to Jones Meadow, so we managed to stay just below the ATC's 25-person limit.  The morning was gorgeous with blue sky and plenty of cloud drama, and the views were long into Tennessee.  It's a little odd to start a hike at the high point, but it put us all in an expansive mood, and the hike down was pleasant with a welcome breeze.  About half of the group chose to do the optional side trip up to Camp Creek Bald Tower (where views are so-so, but it counts for the Lookout Tower Challenge), and the others had a leisurely break while waiting.  At the bottom we enjoyed watermelon and brownies while drivers shuttled back to retrieve cars (we saved them some goodies).  The owner of the State Line Store at Allen Gap met us there and nicely asked that we confine our parking to the right side area up to the grass so they can use the rest for truck parking.  A good day!  We thank Andy Zimmerman, Pres. of SMHC, for the group photo, and you can click here for more pics in his album of people, flowers, insects, and views from the hike.  Becky


SUNDAY NO. A1202-249 June 3
Haywood Gap – Buckeye Gap Loop *8:00 AM (strenuous)
Hike 9.6, Drive 80, 1700 ft. ascent, Rated A-A
Jill Gottesman, cell: 828-545-5236, jill_gottesman@tws.org
*Form carpools at Westgate, and meet leader at BRP Overlook at MM 425.4. We will start hiking at the Blue Ridge Parkway at Buckeye Gap, heading east on the MST with views across the Middle Prong Wilderness. We will pick up the Buckeye Gap Trail (#126) and hike north, down to the headwaters of the Middle Prong of the Pigeon River. When we reach the Haywood Gap Trail (#142), we will take a ¾- mile detour north to the Wilderness Area boundary to see the Middle Prong and eat lunch, returning via the Haywood Gap Trail back up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and follow the MST back to Buckeye Gap. Highlights are views along the MST and scenic stream-side trails through a Wilderness Area much lesser known and visited than its Shining Rock neighbor. Wet stream crossings likely. Wilderness area hike, limited to ten hikers—call leader for reservations. Topo: Sam Knob; also NatGeo. map #780 and USFS Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness map.

    Our group left the trailhead at the BRP Rough Butt Bald Overlook at 9:15 on a sunny and breezy morning. We stopped for a snack at the sharp turn off the ridge on the Buckeye Gap Trail and leisurely made our way down the mountain.  We named the small waterfall at the crossing of Grassy Ridge Branch “Primordial Falls” for the excessively large herbaceous plants growing there—Danny wanted to name the falls after me but I am too shy—and continued down to the junction of Haywood Gap and Buckeye Gap Trails.  We took a detour north from there, past the Wilderness Area boundary, and had lunch by the Middle Prong of the Pigeon River.  One group chased the sun across the cold water and up the rocks, exploring the falls and the junction of the Middle Prong and Big Beartrap Branch, while the rest of us lounged on the rocks and took pictures.

    After lunch, we headed back south to the trail junction and dismantled a large fire ring at the campsite right off the trail by the water—no campfires allowed in the Middle Prong Wilderness Area! I thought we did a good job at scattering the rocks and covering the coals, hopefully discouraging future use. After that short break, we continued down the Haywood Gap Trail and started the long uphill towards the BRP, enjoying the views of the bold stream next to us.  We saw lots of antique railroad cables and crossed many sections of old chestnut railroad ties, trying to imagine the incredible amount of labor that went into laying the narrow gauge railroad tracks that used to encircle these mountains. We took a break to dip our feet in Haywood Gap Stream as it joined the drainage from Possum Hollow, and then followed it all the way up to and past its source spring.  We took our last break as the Haywood Gap Trail joined the MST, but couldn’t bring ourselves to head out to see the Parkway just yet.  Our last mile, on the MST, was a ‘cool-down’ mile, gently paralleling the BRP and taking us back to our trail out to the overlook parking lot.

    The day was beautiful—cool, breezy, sunny with some clouds. All hikers were in high spirits, and were fine company for this 9.6 mile trek!  We saw just one other hiker the entire day, near the start of our journey.  We walked out at 3:50 pm.   Jill


SUNDAY NO. A1202-279 June 3  
Montreat: RR trestle Grade to Pot Cove 9:00 AM (moderate)
Hike 7.5, Drive 35, 1000 ft. ascent, Rated B-B
Les and Catherine Love, 828-658-1489, lesrlove55@gmail.com
The hike starts southward toward Lookout Mountain, but veers north to hike along the west side of the ridge to Sourwood Gap, and then switches to the east side of the ridge through Long Gap to Pot Cove Gap, the site of an old quarry. By alternating sections of the Old Trestle Road, which was used by the Mt. Mitchell Railroad for logging and later for passengers, and the Old Toll Road to Mt. Mitchell, the hike will circumnavigate both Thunder Knob and Brushy Mtn. Second meeting place: Ingles parking lot off Exit 64 of I-40 at 9:20 AM. Topo: Montreat; also Montreat Trail Map

    Our hike in Montreat started cool and cloudy with only 5 hikers total.  We took a detour from the hike description up to Lookout Mtn for the great views there.  Did the old Toll Road up to Pot Cove and back on the Old Trestle Road.  It turned out sunny and mild for the rest of the day.  Les and Catherine Love

SUNDAY NO. A1202-742 June 10
Indian Grave Gap to Nolichucky River 8:30 AM
Hike 8.3, Drive 105, 600 ft. ascent, Rated B-C
Bob Hysko, cell: 828-243-3630, rhysko@yahoo.com
This moderate hike on the AT follows a ridgeline to Curley Maple Gap, and then descends steadily to the Nolichucky River (2300 ft. total descent) through lush woods and ends at Uncle Johnny’s hostel, a must-stop for AT thru hikers. Car shuttle. Topos: Chestoa, Huntdale

    Twelve hikers took a chance on a cloudy, 70 percent chance of rain type of day to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail rarely scheduled by CMC. The hike, which was originally billed as 8.3 miles and mostly downhill, was modified to include a northbound uphill option. Four hikers choose this much more strenuous opportunity

    This is probably the first time in CMC history that a hike got blocked by a long slow moving freight train twice in the same day. The north bounders were blocked from crossing the tracks at the very beginning of their hike while the south bounders had the same fate in the afternoon, most likely by the same train going in the opposite direction.

    The people who were on Janet Martin’s June 6th Wednesday hike will be interested to learn that we meet the Meandering Snail again. The Snail started hiking the Appalachian Trail north in George on March 1st and managed to get to Spivey Gap (350 miles) in 95 days. He has clearly pickup his pace since then because in over the next five days, included two zero mile day spent in Erwin, he managed an additional 20 miles. Fifty-five pounds lighter then when he started, the Snail seems pleased with his progress so far and plans to get to where he gets to when he comes off the trail at the end of September. I expect that when he does stop he will have hiked further north on the AT than most of the thru hikers who passed him in Georgia.

    The weather stayed dry with temps in the 70s. Nobody tried to jump on a freight train headed for West Virginia and nobody stayed far from the trail. All in all it was an enjoyable hike in the woods.  Bob