The Mountains-to-Sea Trail will eventually extend from one of the highest points in the North Carolina mountains, Clingmans Dome, to the lowest elevations on the Outer Banks at Nag's Head. It will cover almost 700 miles when completed. Completion date is set for 2000.
The trail follows old logging roads, railroad beds and other connecting trails. The trail has three inch diameter white blazes and turns are marked, however, they are easy to miss.
As the trail travels through the Pisgah National Forest it overlaps several other trails. From the western access its first major encounter is Mount Hardy, 6,110 feet. The trail continues traveling over many difficult balds and ridges paralleling the Art Loeb Trail for about a mile. You may choose to take the Mountains-to-Sea Alternate Trail which overlaps with Art Loeb Trail southward or head north to Graveyard Ridge passing Yellowstone Falls. If you choose to head on the alternative trail you will end up just south of the Pisgah Ranger Station where you will hike due north making a large loop back up to the main trail along Forest Road 440. If you continue northward, the trail continues beyond Chestnut Ridge to wind endlessly in and out of gaps and on top of ridges and finally intersecting with Forest Road 440. You will continue traveling in a northern direction at an elevation of 4,200 feet weaving along numerous ridges and finally reaching the Mt. Pisgah area where there is overnight lodging available. The path continue north, paralleling the Blue Ridge Parkway to ascend Stony Bald at 4,563 feet. Over the next 15 miles, the trail descends reaching Grassy Knob at 3,318 feet, then Lance Mountain at 3,002 feet and finally Glen Bald at 2,703 feet before crossing Shut-In Ridge and leaving the national forest land.
Directions: From Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, On the western side of Pisgah National Forest, along the border of Middle Prong Wilderness area, the Moutains to Sea Trail may be accessed from at least three points between Mileposts 420 and 430. The first is Bearpen Gap parking area which is located at approximately Milepost 426 and another is a small parking area located just south. OR continue south and take SR 215 north off the Parkway traveling a short distance to a parking area where trail access is available. From the eastern side of Pisgah National Forest where the Blue Ridge Parkway enters, there is a parking area which provides trail access as well.
Elevation: 6,110 feet
Elevation Gain: 3,000 feet
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Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
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