The Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast Asheville NC

Posts Tagged ‘hiking in asheville nc’

Appalachian Trail for One Day

July 25th, 2016 by Diane Rogers

Let’s face it, aren’t we all a little enamored with the Appalachian Trail?  This romantic notion of walking from Georgia to Maine holds some mystical power over us all.  And if you are lucky enough to live nearby the trail in Asheville, you can put down the Jon Krakauer book, lace up your boots, and give it a whirl, if only for a day.  We locked the door behind us at Pinecrest B&B and headed out for an adventure.

A good place to start would be 36 miles north of Asheville in Hot Springs, NC where the trail runs right through the center of town.  We choose the 1.6 mile loop Lover’s Leap Hike with directions quickly handwritten from the our favorite blog, Romantic Asheville. Even us novices knew there would be no GPS where we were headed.

Appalachian Trail thru Hot Springs NC

It would seem the day was off to a good start with the marker in the sidewalk.  We stopped in Bluff Mountain Outfitters which would be a godsend for supplies for those hearty souls who are thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. They have earned our utmost respect.  Perhaps the hiking gene skips a generation as my parents hike and our daughter has even backpacked in Alaska but our main exercise these days is carrying laundry up and down two flights of steps.  Onward and upward!

Over the bridge, down some steps, a street led us to a well worn trail right beside the French Broad River.  There is something mesmerizing about the sound of water and particularly the rush over any waterfall, albeit so small.  With the intensity of the heat, a trip down the river over Surprise Falls might have been a better choice on this hot summer day?  Maybe our next outing will be at French Broad Rafting.

Surprise Falls on the French Broad River

Surprise Falls on the French Broad River

Everyone knows the white blaze of the Appalachian Trail keeps hikers on the right path but we somehow veered off quite quickly to the left.  Looking for a series of switchbacks, we attempted a near vertical climb, using ropes someone had secured to traverse this particularly challenging terrain.

This is NOT the AT

This is NOT the AT

AT White Blaze

White blaze marks the AT

After 50 feet straight up, we abandoned this spur and retraced our steps, nearly rappelling back down and headed along the river again, this time in the right direction!  And soon there were the familiar white blazes every 100 feet, bringing comfort to the uninitiated.

 

We continued along the river path awhile then came upon the promised switchbacks that started our ascent to 3 rock outcroppings.  The forest was still and quiet, save for our footfalls but we knew others had traversed this same path by the “cairns”

Cairns

Cairns

they left behind, which brings comfort to some but considered a scourge by others. It was nice to be reminded that there are places, not so far away if we seek them, where we can find quiet, peace and solace from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  No cell phones, no GPS, no email but be sure to take plenty of water as hiking the Appalachian Trail can leave you winded and thirsty.

 

The hike up was certainly worth it for the peak-a-boo views of the river below and ridges towering above.  We were happy to stop and rest at the top before taking the Silvermine Loop Trail back down the mountain.

Stunning views from the Appalachian Trail

Stunning views from the Appalachian Trail

These mountains call to us to climb them, some higher than others but all of us have the desire to search for views such as these.  All that is left to be said is “breathtaking.”

View from Lover's Leap Trail on the AT

View from Lover’s Leap Trail on the AT

 

 

 

Stunning Views and Easy Hike 40 miles from this Asheville Inn

June 3rd, 2012 by Diane Rogers

The Pinecrest Inn in Asheville is located a short drive from some pretty amazing hiking destinations. If you want to see stunning 360-degree views of the mountain ranges from the Black Mountains (Mt. Mitchell) on the east to the Great Smokey Mountains to the southwest, then you have to go no further than 40 miles west of Asheville to Max Patch Mountain. The origin of such grassy balds that dot the mountain landscape in the region has been long debated.  Some believe that Max Patch was cleared by sheep and cattle in the 1800s.  The area is maintained as a bald by the U. S. Forest Service today.

Today Max Patch is part of the Pisgah National Forest and is 300 acres of a grassy bald at an elevation of 4600 feet and the famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) passes through the area.

This past weekend, my family and I ventured up to Max Patch for a short day hike, which even our 7 year old could master. Having read about the fairly easy loop around the bald and interested in the view, we thought this would be a pretty good fit for the day. We headed out with a picnic around 11:00 and hit the road. We took 40 west to exit 7, which is a beautiful drive. Once we exited we turned right onto a gravel road and drove another 6 miles of switchbacks through the Pisgah National Forest. You can’t miss the parking area at the end of the road and just below the grassy dome.  Getting out of your car you are instantly wowed!

One of the reasons Max Patch is so appealing is it offers something for everyone. You can hike around the bald on one of 2 loops or you can just take a short walk up, up, up to the summit, but well worth the very short steep hike.

After checking out the map (displayed at the trailhead), we decided on the 2.4 mile loop, which circles the mountain for magnificent views from all sides. As you leave the parking lot, take the trail on the left which is also the AT. It makes its way up the grassy bald, through shaded forest and meadows — finally emerging on the back side of the dome with a short uphill that delivers you out onto the top of the grassy bald and to the most amazing, breathtaking, 360° view of the southern Appalachian mountains.

After taking several pictures at the first trail junction, which presents another option to summit the dome, we took a left and continued along the way, looping around the bald through forest and meadow, stopping for a picnic and finally up the summit from the back side. The summit is a pasture of wild flowers and breathtaking views and caused the girls to break out into an over the top rendition of “The Sound of Music.”  I can’t think of a better picnic spot or a place to star gaze. We decided we would have to comeback another time at dusk or even a night trip for the stars.

As we headed back in the early afternoon, we decided to venture over to Hot Springs, NC and visit the Hot Spring Resort for a mineral springs soak. Hot Springs, located along the banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River, is a town rich in history and natural allure. The hot 100° mineral water was first discovered by Native Americans over 200 years ago.  The town’s name comes from the hot springs and this little town tucked away in the mountains has been a resort destination since the turn of the century. Hot Springs serves as an Appalachian Trail town, passing right through town as it passes along the ridges of the Southern Appalachian Mountains (from Georgia to Maine). At the heart of this town is a 100 acre Resort and Spa featuring private modern Jacuzzi style hot tubs, positioned outside along the picturesque banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River. The resorts tubs are supplied with a continuous flow of natural mineral water. We soaked for about an hour and then got some ice cream downtown (just across the street and across the railroad tracks), finally heading back into Asheville only 30 minutes away.

We had a wonderful family outing and so can you! As you can probably imagine, this can also make a great trip just for the two of you.  If you are spending a few days in Asheville, this is an easy way to see the remarkable mountains and enjoy the great outdoors.  This is just one of the day trips that we can recommend to our guests.  Whatever your pursuit — scenic views, a hike, some awesome waterfalls or just a scenic drive, we can offer some suggestions that will help you make the most out of your visit to Asheville.   Call Stacy at 888-811-3053 or email innkeeper@pinecrestbb.com for more information and let this Asheville Inn  be your guide. Need a place to stay? Check out our Bed & Breakfast specials.

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