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A challenging route to access the Black Mountain Crest Trail #179 with a stop at the abandoned Mica Mine.


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Map Key

3.3

Miles

5.4

KM

Point to Point

5,629' 1,716 m

High

4,370' 1,332 m

Low

1,292' 394 m

Up

41' 13 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

29%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Need to Know

There are no services at the parking area. Cell coverage is very limited in all of the Black Mountains.

Description

This trail is an access trail to the Black Mountain Crest Trail #179 via Winterstar Trail to Horse Rock Bald. You must park at the Winterstar Trail parking. Begin at the parking area and proceed 1.5 miles.

The North Loop Trail, which is old rail bed/ logging road used the early 1900's, begins at a point called 5 Maples (a tree with 5 large trunks growing together). Turn left at 5 Maples and follow the trail as it climbs steadily for 3.4 miles to last steep climb called Grace's Ladder.

Along the route, there are two creek crossings. The forest consists of hardwoods and evergreens. The terrain varies with technical rocks and roots to smooth, soft grassy sections. The views from Grace's Ladder are phenomenal. You can see the Great Smoky Mountains to the west and the full Black Mountain Range on the east. Depending on the time of year, you'll see wildflowers, fall colors, or the gray, leafless trees in the winter.

The highlight of this hike is a short detour at 2.3 miles to the abandoned Mica Mine. You can view the mineshaft and the mine tailings which are full of the sparkly mineral. Caution: The mineshaft is an open drop of several hundred feet! There is an excellent view of the Black Mountain Range from the tailings pile.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers such as trillium abound in the spring (April - May) Flowering trees and shrubs such as mountain laurel and rhododendron are abundant. There are black bears and deer in the area. In summer be aware of timber rattlesnakes and copperheads. Tick repellent is recommended in the spring and summer.

Contacts

Shared By:

Victor Mariano

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 3 votes

#26865

Overall
  3.3 from 3 votes
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Trail Rankings

#1,094

in North Carolina

#26,865

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2 Views Last Month
459 Since Mar 11, 2019
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Photos

Old wooden bridge from the early 1900's during the logging period.
Mar 24, 2019 near Burnsville, NC

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