This trail is blazed in orange, although the blazings get sparse near trail intersections and near the middle of the trial. This trail is not maintained, but is fairly easy to follow. It is renowned as the most rugged trail of the East. There are places where you have to use your hands to climb up certain steep sections, although no ropes are required. This trail is both the hardest and the most scenic trail in this area. The trail follows the picturesque Bolens Creek on an old forest service road. Bolens Creek has many still pools that are notorious for good fishing. Continue on this road and follow the trail that is blazed in orange from the national forest boundary. Follow this climbing trail as it switchbacks up Grassy Knob Ridge and arrive at Celo Knob. This is the first of over a dozen, 6,000+ feet peaks that will be traversed. Follow the trail and reach a sign indicating White Oak Creek Trail to the left near Horse Rock. This is the old Woody Ridge Trail that is no longer in use. Follow this trail along the ridge to Gibbs Mountain, Winter Star Mountain and Deer Mountain. Arrive at the Colbert Ridge Trail intersection. Continue south to the former site of Deep Gap Trail shelter. Several campsites are in this area. Be sure to follow the blazes carefully in this area. Continue to Potato Hill, Cattail Peak and Balsam Cone, all of which flank the Middle Creek Natural Area to the east. Continue to Big Tom Peak and arrive at the Big Tom Gap Trail intersection. Continue to Mt. Craig. During this stretch, you will see advisory signs to stay on the trail to help preserve natural wildlife and vegetation. From the peak of Mt. Craig, you will see the Mt. Mitchell tower. Continue for .5 mile to the Mt. Mitchell parking lot. Note that your "high point" will be 6,684 feet if you continue to the top of Mt. Mitchell. This trail is the most strenuous due to the constant traversing of all the 6,000+ feet peaks that involve very steep ascents and descents.
Directions: From Burnsville, NC, Travel east on 19E for .5 mile and turn right on SR 197 (south). Follow this to SR 1109 (Bolens Creek Road) on the left. Follow this road to the hairpin turn to the right. In this turn is a residential sign with names "Hubata, Ashley, Stewart" on it. This is the trailhead. If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, you can drive up this road for a short ways. Park near the gate on the road but do not block the gate. For those in regular vehicles, drive on up NC 1109 to a cemetery on your right. This is private land, but if you get permission, you can park here. Walk back down to the driveway / road and follow it back towards Bolens Creek, which is on the left. You will see a Pisgah National Forest sign.
Elevation: 6,560 feet
Elevation Gain: 3,485 feet
Distance: 12 miles
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Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.
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