Graybeard Trail at Montreat Conference Center

Black Mountain, North Carolina

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4 Reviews
5 out of 5
Montreat is a Presbyterian conference center and college on 4500 acres of sylvan bliss nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Some 2500 of those acres have been set aside as a permanent wilderness conservation easement, and on those 2500 acres you’ll find nearly 20 miles of hiking trails. Most of the trails are a mile or less. For the typical visitor to Black Mountain, with its galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, that’s an ideal length for exploring this forest of older-growth hardwoods and the occasional pine, and feisty mountain streams. There’s also something for the more ambitious hiker. The 7.5-mile Graybeard Trail, for instance, covers 2338 vertical feet on its way from the outskirts of Montreat to 5408-foot Graybeard Mountain.
100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina

DESCRIPTION FROM:

100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina

by Joe Miller (The Mountaineers Books)

Montreat is a Presbyterian conference center and college on 4500 acres of sylvan bliss nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Some 2500 of those acres have been set aside as a permanent wilderness conservation easement, and on those 2500 acres you’ll find nearly 20 miles of hiking trails. Most of the trails are a mile or less.

For the typical visitor to Black Mountain, with its galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, that’s an ideal length for exploring this forest of older-growth hardwoods and the occasional pine, and feisty mountain streams. There’s also something for the more ambitious hiker. The 7.5-mile Graybeard Trail, for instance, covers 2338 vertical feet on its way from the outskirts of Montreat to 5408-foot Graybeard Mountain.

©  Joe Miller/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Black Mountain
Distance: 7.5
Elevation Gain: 2,338 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 4 to 6 hours
Season: Best in Summer
Local Maps: USGS Montreat
Driving Directions: Directions to Graybeard Trail at Montreat Conference Center

Recent Trail Reviews

5/2/2014
0

Great hike, but has changed some since the guide was written. Finding the trailhead is fairly straight forward following the directions in the guide. NC 9 becomes (is named) Assembly Drive once you get to Montreat, and then becomes Graybeard Trail. The trailhead is right past the Wildlife Station as the guide says, parking for about 9 cars there. The trailhead puts the revised trail at 4.8 miles each way, but my phone's GPS put it at about 4.55 miles each way. The first 1.5 miles gain some elevation, but is nothing too serious. The next two miles are essentially flat, but a very pleasurable walk. The last mile is more steep, but nothing the average dayhiker can't handle. There are multiple stream crossings and mudpits within the first 3 miles. There are several very nice campsites on the way up, either by stream crossings or Graybeard Falls. There is a shelter maintained about 3/4 of the way up that could probably hold 20-30 people easily. The summit is ok, with a relatively small cleared area with fair views if you can see over the rhododendron bushes. The views along the way and the rock formations/streams were the highlight for me. Well worth the trip.


5/19/2012
0

Great day hike. some mud, first half along river. Great views on top. 3/4 up is a shelter that is maintained by "Montreat Wilderness Club" and they do a great job.


5/24/2008
0

Great, well kept, and well marked trail. It is muddy in some spots, but makes a great day hike. Be sure to take the spur to Walker's Knob. While there are good views on the top of Graybeard, the views are awesome from Walker's Knob.


5/17/2008
0

This was my first backpacking trip and it was awesome. I hiked up graybeard all the way to the top of Graybeard mountain. It was hard, probably because I went fast, it took about 2 hours each way. The view at the top is PHENOMINAL, probably one of the best I've ever seen in the NC Mountains almost a 360 degree view of mostly wilderness and many peaks over 6k (the top of Graybeard is 5408). Trail is well-kept and marked, except for a few muddy areas. I love how it is next to a creek for most of the trail. I camped at the top, so it was a windy night, though. I will probably camp at a lower elevation next time, to avoid the wind.



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Apr 2018