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Sam's Gap to Big Bald AT hike, 13+ miles Moderate to Strenuous

Let's hike the AT on the NC/TN border to an awesome, spectacular 360 degree view at the top of Big Bald, elevation 5,516 ft (by comparison, Max Patch is at 4,616 feet, 900 feet lower). The weather forecast looks great, so far, for a bald hike. 

Distance: 6.5 miles in and up, 6.5 miles back and down.  Or add about 1/2 mile or more if people want to check out the next bald over from Big Bald, Little Bald.

Difficulty: There is a 1,750 foot net elevation gain (start at 3,760, climb to 5,516), and a cumulative elevation climb throughout the whole hike of about 3,100 feet. There is one particularly strenuous brutal section of about 1/2 - 3/4 mile uphill.   Make sure that you have the physical ability to do this hike!!! If I haven't hiked with you before, I may e-mail you and ask about your recent hiking experience.

Dogs?: As long as your dog is friendly to both people and other dogs, feel free to bring it, but also please have a leash with you as we will hike on or near roads that may have cars on them.

Water:  It is recommended that you bring at least 2 liters of fluid per person, more if you bring a dog.

What else to bring: Lunch and/or trail snacks. We'll have lunch at the top of Big Bald. And of course wear appropriate clothing and footwear for weather changes. It will most likely also be breezy and cool at the top of Big Bald, so bring long-sleeve clothing or a jacket to wear at the top.

Hike Description: Mostly the hike is a gradual climb on a well-marked trail through a fairly dry hardwood forest. About 2 miles in, right after the brutal section, there is a pretty meadow across which you can view our goal, the summit of Big Bald. The trail then winds up and down (and between NC and TN) for the next 3 miles through the woods, with glimpses here and there through the trees of the landscape below.  Approaching within about a mile or so of the top, there is a small spring, but the water still probably needs to be filtered. Also, that stretch is difficult because it's steep and rocky and may be slippery if wet.  At the top, there is a grassy bald with a gravel road.  Fortunately, the access to the gravel road is controlled by a locked gate.  We will spend some time at the top eating lunch and admiring the view.  (Don't be disappointed if others are up there--the Wolf Laurel community is nearby, and people drive up to the locked gate and hike less than a mile, but that kind of defeats the purpose and sense of accomplishment.)  We would like to hike over to the next bald and check it out. 

 

 

 

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  • Debra

    Great hike everybody! Gorgeous day and only six people...how lucky!! I like small groups. First time I've seen a bear since I've been hiking in western N.C. Let's do this hike again next month so we can enjoy the colors.

    1 · September 15, 2013

  • Alison

    Awesome hike. Challenging and quite beautiful. Thanks so much. I cannot believe I missed the bear.

    2 · September 14, 2013

    • Debra

      It was a fast moving bear.

      2 · September 14, 2013

  • Billy H.

    Unfortunately for me It looks like I am not going to make it. There is a chance I could meet at the trail-head if anyone can tell me where it is and approx what time the carpools will arrive? If so, don't wait for me if I'm not at the trail-head but if anyone can respond please do. Thanks!

    September 14, 2013

    • Billy H.

      Thanks for getting back to me. I'm not going to make this one but I appreciate you guys organizing this one and hope to join a similar one soon. I hope you all have a great day!

      1 · September 14, 2013

    • Debra

      Change your RSVP to "No" please.

      September 14, 2013

  • Debra

    Good chance it will be about 10 degrees cooler where we're hiking than in Asheville, and windy too. Be prepared.

    September 13, 2013

  • Alison

    Yes....Doug is going....Yee hawwwww

    September 13, 2013

  • Debby

    debra is this the hike we did 2 weeks ago?

    September 11, 2013

    • Debra

      This will go in the opposite direction. I hope you can make this one. You'll enjoy it.

      September 11, 2013

  • Sammy F.

    RSVPs open Thursday, September 12 at 6:00 pm.

    September 11, 2013

6 went

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