It's going to be a beautiful Sunday morning in the High Country. There is no better place to take in the fall colors and clear blue skies than in the northwestern corner of Watauga County. I am offering up a roughly 8 mile hike in two parts. First, hiking to the top of Snake mountain, then the top of Elk Knob. Each of these hikes is about 4 miles, and if Snake wears you out you don't have to hike Elk Knob.
Snake Mountain is a STRENUOUS hike!! It starts with climbing over a fence. It has good footing, walking mostly old farm roads and open field crossings, but it steeply gains elevation and has some tight woods near the top. There is a lot of UP, it starts out steep, then gets steeper. Expect about an hour for the two miles to the top. There are great views during most of the hike, but the payoff comes at the peak. I feel that this summit offers a view that feels more "alpine" than any other in the area. The view extends east from Deep Gap to the Iron Mountain range in Tennessee to the west. Trade, Tn and Rich Mountain are directly below. The view extends south to Mount Mitchell. We'll follow the same rout back down to the Elk Knob parking area, then up the Elk Knob Summit Trail.
This is a great little trail in one of North Carolina's newest state parks. 1.9 mile hike to the summit that meanders through the forest to come out on top of Elk Knob. Long range views South to Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell (highest peak east of the Mississippi River), West into Tennessee, and North across Ashe County and up to Grayson Highlands and Mount Rodgers (highest peak in Virginia).
We will meet at the Elk Knob Trailhead parking area, which will also be the half-way point of the days hike. Long pants would be a good idea because we will be hiking through some briars on Snake Mountain. Bring water and snacks. Dress in layers as it will probably be a little chilly at the start, but we will warm up quickly. This hike is well off of the beaten path and far from the Blue Ridge Parkway, so we should be free from crowds and traffic on this awesome Autumn day. Feel free to message with your questions. This is a dog friendly hike, and we will be joined by my friendly dog. See ya'll there.