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Best Hikes Near Asheville, North Carolina
by Johnny Molloy (Falcon Guides)
This hike is the walking centerpiece of plentiful recreation opportunities along a lofty stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. From near the parkway’s Pisgah Inn, you will join a wellmaintained trail past the headwaters of Pisgah Creek, then work up the slope of Mount Pisgah on a rocky track, eventually reaching a platform and tower where a veritable land of milk and honey stretches out in all directions. Other trails spur from this locale, adding more hiking opportunities. You can also picnic, camp, or stay at the venerable Pisgah Inn.Taken from the Bible’s book of Deuteronomy, the name Mount Pisgah is the mountain Moses climbed to view the Israelites Promised Land—a “land of milk and honey.” Fast forward a few thousand years to 1776, where Griffith Ruther ford—who lent his name to several North Carolina places—is battling the Cherokee for control of the French Broad River valley.
100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina
by Joe Miller (The Mountaineers Books)
I intended it as a leisure hike, not worthy of “classic” consideration, but it didn’t take long for this patchwork loop to convince me otherwise. Its gentle ascent through thickets of mountain laurel, chestnut oaks, and evergreens makes for a pleasant hike that gives less experienced hikers a good sense of the Pisgah area.
Take the advertised 1200-foot Little Bald Summit spur 0.75 mile from the trailhead through a meadowed mountaintop peppered with chestnut oaks, then return to the main trail. A short distance later you’re treated to what remains (a stone foundation) of George W. Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring Lodge, where the early twentieth-century industrialist and his fellow hoi polloi once hobnobbed. Take a moment to sit on the bench and savor this classic patch of Pisgah.
Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway
by Randy Johnson (Falcon Guides)
Mount Pisgah launches that southwestern mountain experience for hikers driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. On the way to Mount Pisgah from Asheville, it’s humbling to realize that George W. Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House and Gardens was just part of a 125,000-acre estate that today wraps the Parkway in the Pisgah National Forest. The trail to the site of Vanderbilt’s hunting lodge is still in use; the Shut-In Trail was reclaimed and is now part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Between that trail, other easy paths, and the notoriously steep ascent of Mount Pisgah itself, Vanderbilt’s former forest domain endures as a place where hikers would do well to get out of the car.
Five-Star Trails: Asheville
by Jennifer Pharr Davis (Menasha Ridge Press)
This hike leads to the top of Mount Pisgah after you have passed the remnants of Buck Springs Lodge—George W. Vanderbilt’s hunting cabin. Mount Pisgah is the most identifi able peak in Western North Carolina. On a clear day, the 339-foot television tower that crowns the mountain can be seen from seven surrounding counties. A hike to the base of the tower will reveal great views of Shining Rock Wilderness to the west and the French Broad River Basin to the east.
Hiking North Carolina
Mount Pisgah launches that southwestern mountain experience for hikers driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. On the way to Mount Pisgah from Asheville, it’s humbling to realize that George W. Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House and Gardens was just part of a 125,000-acre estate that today wraps the Parkway in the Pisgah National Forest. Descriptions of the following trails are included: Mount Pisgah Trail and Picnic Area Connector; Shut- In Trail/Buck Spring Trail; Cradle of Forestry; Looking Glass Rock. From 5,000 feet at the Parkway’s Mount Pisgah Recreation Area, the views over Pisgah National Forest are spectacular. So are the vistas from the rooms, front porches/balconies, and restaurant at Pisgah Inn. The campground is the Parkway’s highest, so expect cool nights. A picnic area, camp store, laundry, and gift/craft shop round out the resources.
Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina
by Karen Chavez (The Mountaineers Books)
The Mount Pisgah Trail is all about climbing, so it is only suitable for the most trail-hardy dogs (and people), but it is worth the effort for everyone involved. After all, the peak is named for the biblical mountain from which Moses is said to have seen the Promised Land. The views from the summit of Mount Pisgah—one of the highest and most recognizable in the Blue Ridge range—just might rival the ones Moses saw.The trail heads in a northwesterly direction, lined thickly with rhododendron. To the west are wide views of the Pisgah National Forest, and to the northwest you can make out the destination—Mount Pisgah, easily identifiable by the television tower that juts up from its summit. The trail continues climbing in front of you. It is a much-loved and well-used trail, so at any time of year you are sure to encounter many other users, especially on weekends.
Bicycling the Blue Ridge
by Elizabeth & Charlie Skinner (Menasha Ridge Press)
It is 60 rugged miles to Cherokee, and you had better be well prepared. Facilities are scarce in these parts. You will be cycling along Pisgah Ridge to the Great Balsams.
You will reach the highest point on both Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway at Richland Balsam, elevation 6,053 feet. Stop here and take it all in. You have truly come far if you have cycled from Front Royal to this point. It is a major achievement to get here from Cherokee or Asheville.
This is a great dayhike: about 5-6 miles round trip, depending on how many detours you take, not too strenuous, and a great reward at the end. The trip, when started from the Pisgah Inn parking lot, is mostly flat. Only when you see the "Mt. Pisgah Trail" sign do things really begin to pick up. It's a fairly steady climb from that point for 1.5 miles to the top. It's well worth the effort. The views from the summit are incredible, even if it's cloudy. The only impediment to a 360-degree view is the glaring tower for WLOS-TV on the summit. There is also a nice deck on top, built by the U.S. Youth Conservation Corps in 1979.
Looking Glass Rock Trail in hte Mt Pisgah forest is beautiful. Switchbacks lead to an enclosed summit, but a short distance past the summit are gorgeous views from a rock cliff of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Recommend.
The top of the mountain has very nice views as long as you're looking away from the TV antenna tower (in fairness they positined the tower out of the way of the best views). The generator running takes away some of the wilderness feel but looking west over the Smokey Mountains is worth the short, but steep, 1.5 mile hike up from the parking area.
plenty of trails with various degrees of difficulty
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