If you’ve ever wondered on the drive to Asheville why there’s no road over the mountains between Marion and Asheville — a distance of nearly 40 miles — there’s good reason: the Blue Ridge mountains here are especially rugged. From the base in Marion to the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest point on the East Coast, the mountains gain a mile in elevation (exactly, from 1,404 feet in Marion to 6,684 feet atop Mount Mitchell). One of the advantages to exploring such a up bn area: some of it was too inaccessible to be logged.
On our September Classic Escape, we’ll explore this rugged area from our base camp on Curtis Creek, the birthplace of the Pisgah National Forest. Saturday, we’ll take a short drive to Montreat for a hike up 5,592-foot Graybeard Mountain in the Montreat Wilderness. Total distance: 9 miles. Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous.
Sunday, after a pancake breakfast, we’ll take a shorter hike out of the campground up Hickory Branch Trail in search of the old growth forest for which this region is known.
Friday: Arrive Curtis Creek Campground anytime after 3 p.m.
Saturday: Graybeard Mountain Trail, 9 miles.
Sunday: Hickory Branch Trail, 3 miles.
— Eguide for the hikes, including custom maps, distances, elevation profile and information on what we’ll see. — Swag bag, including nutrition and trail gear.
— Camping, 2 nights in the Curtis Creek Campground
— Pancake breakfast Sunday morning