Category Archive: Strenuous Hikes

Hikes I've rated as strenuous or very strenuous due to very long mileage and/or significant sections of elevation gain throughout the hike. Can also be rated because of difficult-to-follow trail systems

Jan 03 2017

Black Mountain Crest Trail – Pisgah National Forest, NC

  The Black Mountain Crest Trail is one of the most renowned and intimidating hikes in North Carolina. Located in the Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest, the trail crosses the crest of the Black Mountains across five 6,000+ foot peaks culminating in the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River, Mt. Mitchell. This trek …

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Jan 01 2017

Big Bald – Appalachian Trail, TN

  My plan was to hike to Big Bald, supposedly one of the finest of all the grassy balds in the southern Appalachian Mountains. If you can get a sunny day in the winter, nothing beats crystal clear views from an open summit. There’s just too much haze in the summer to compare. The forecast …

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Dec 16 2016

Lane Pinnacle – Pisgah National Forest, NC

  How do you end a hazy bachelor party weekend in Asheville? With a hike of course! It was the first weekend of April, and I was staying in Asheville with my friends Friday through Sunday. We had to vacate the house before noon on Sunday, and everyone was leaving town anyways. The weather was …

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Dec 03 2016

Woods Mountain – Pisgah National Forest, NC

  Although sandwiched between the Blue Ridge Parkway and U.S. 221, the Woods Mountain Trail sees few travelers. There are a lot of reasons people skip right by this trail despite being part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST). Linville Gorge lies to the east while the Black Mountains lie to the west. Both are very …

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Nov 30 2016

Jacob Fork Rim – South Mountains State Park, NC

  South Mountains State Park is a great area for exploration and gear testing in a relatively calm environment. The trails are immaculate, and are mostly former forest roads built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There are signs and blazes everywhere, it is impossible to get lost unless you really try. There are frontcountry and backcountry options …

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Nov 03 2016

Catawba Falls – Pisgah National Forest, NC

  If you love waterfalls and want the best bang for your buck, then visiting Catawba Falls should be at the top of your list. Thankfully the Foothills Conservancy and eventually the US Forest Service saved access to these waterfalls from private development. Now, this easy trail is one of the most popular in the region …

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Oct 18 2016

Mt. Cammerer and Big Creek – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC

  You may find this hard to believe, but I’ve never had an overwhelming desire to hike in the Smokies. Our treasured national park attracts the most visitors per year of any national park in the country. Hovering just under 11 million per year, that is a lot of people. That means a lot of car traffic, a …

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Mar 01 2016

Roan Highlands – Appalachian Trail, NC

  There were less than 15 cars parked at Carver’s Gap which I took to be a great sign. Originally I thought there would be more people hiking today. It was beautiful outside and just past 11:00 AM. When I stepped out of my car, I felt a chilling gust and immediately questioned my clothing …

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Jun 29 2015

Devil’s Hole Trail – Linville Gorge Wilderness, NC

  Devil’s Hole lies deep within Linville Gorge, a beautiful stretch along Linville River hemmed in by steep bluffs and soaring cliffs. Most people use the Sitting Bear Trail to access the high points along Jonas Ridge, but you can also venture deep below the east rim on this rugged trail. Devil’s Hole Trail immediately …

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Mar 30 2015

Mt. Mitchell Trail – Pisgah National Forest, NC

  The Mt. Mitchell Trail has been beckoning me for years, and I had always wanted to hike it during the winter to get the full mountain experience. The weather was supposed to be sunny but bitterly cold and windy on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, which sounded perfect to me because visibility would be outstanding. …

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