Friday, January 19, 2018

Grassy Ridge, The view that doesn't stop

 If you've ever wanted to find that place around North Carolina that you could see for miles and miles. The hike from Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge Bald is the hike  you need to check out. Not only is it part of the most iconic trails in the country but it gives you views of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia as well as being  known as one of the most beautiful sections of the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail Looking at Jane and Grassy Ridge Balds

The trail Starts at Carvers Gap right on the state line of North Carolina and Tennessee. There is a spacious parking area along State Route TN-143 and NC-261. From the parking area you will see a wooden split rail fence toward the East, there are steps that will lead you through the Fence and from there you will be on the Appalachian Trail hiking up through a beautiful forest of trees. Twisting and turning as you ascend up Round Bald, which is roughly .7 tenths of a mile to the summit. You may be tempted to just stop there and can, the views here are incredible, you can see Mt Mitchell and Black Mountain to the south but I promise you need to keep going your views to the west are still obstructed by Jane and Grassy Ridge.

Jane Bald

As you descend down you will see Jane Bald straight in front of you, the hike up Jane is a decent ascent, I did this in snow and ice, making it more treacherous. Overall, considering the conditions, it wasn't bad. The elevation of Jane Bald is 5807ft and now you'll see Grassy Ridge staring you in the face with its elevation of 6189ft.

Tunnel of  Rhododendron

Once you leave the top of Jane you'll lose 100 feet before climbing up 500 feet before reaching the summit of Grassy Ridge. You will go through a cool tunnel of rhododendrons, I can only imagine this stretch in June is simply breathtaking. This stretch of the hike is pretty strenuous but in no way would I rate it as hard so rest if you need to but keep going and you will come to the summit that will leave you speechless.

Charlotte from Grassy Ridge Bald

Keep walking through the meadow along the trail and you will reach a cliff that will show you a panoramic view that will leave you speechless, to the east you will see Grandfather Mountain, to the right of there you will see Hawksbill and Table Rock mountains along the Linville Gorge. As you look at these two mountains if you happen to have a 500mm lens on your camera its this direction on a clear day you can see the skyline of Charlotte, which is around 135 miles away. As you look to the right you'll see the BlueRidge Mountains as far as you can see before you come up to the 6685ft giant, Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi. If you are like me you will be in awe of just how beautiful this spot is.

So if you find yourself yearning for some unobstructed views of the Appalachian Mountains, then this Jaw Dropping 5 mile roundtrip hike is made for you. Sunrises here are what postcards are made of and I can only imagine sunsets are just as awe inspiring!!

Mt. Mitchell
Looking north to Tennessee
Grandfather Mountain
Meadow on Grassy Ridge

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