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The Big Butt Trail is a less traveled path and at times difficult to follow.

This trail is not heavily used, consequently it is hard to follow at times. The trail is blazed in white, but these blazes are very sparse and are often hard to identify. Many fallen trees are on the trail. The trail begins ascending gently in a southeasterly direction to the southern end of the Wilson Range and begins to switchback during its elevation gain. Keep an eye out for the next blaze while continuing on the trail. Eventually, the trail levels out to join an old 4-wheel road which follows the Buncombe / Yancey County line which is blazed in red. After a couple of miles, the trail turns back into a single person width. The trail climbs to Flat Springs Knob and then descends to Flat Springs Gap. The trail never actually touches Big Butt Peak, but does go south to Little Butt Peak. The trail then climbs again to Point Misery Peak where one can see a clear sight of Mt. Mitchell and its tower on top. The trail then follows Brush Fence Ridge and enters a Fraser fir stand for the last .5 mile before the Balsam Gap pull-off on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Primitive camping is available near Flat Springs Gap and Balsam Gap.

Directions: From Burnsville, NC, Travel east on 19E for .5 mile and turn right on SR 197 (south). Stay on this road through Pensacola where the road turns to gravel. The trailhead is on the left at Cane River Gap and is marked by a forest service gate. The trail starts just before this gate on the left. No signs mark the trailhead.

Elevation: 5,750 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,430 feet

Distance: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

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Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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