On September 16, 2017, I went hiking at several sites on the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville, NC, and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. My hiking buddy was Annelise.
We first drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoyed many views in the clear, warm late summer air. Our first stop was at the Mount Pisgah Recreation Area. I had some hikes mapped out to explore here, but we found so many places to go that we decided to concentrate on three waterfall hikes. The helpful staff at the Mount Pisgah Lodge store gave us directions to the places we chose.
Next we went south on the Parkway to Looking Glass Rock over look. Parking there, we found the trail across the road to Skinny Dip Falls. I doubt many persons do what the name says, because the water is freezing cold. But, we were near Sliding Rock, where many people get wet, so maybe some do get in the water here? Anyway, everybody we saw had on their clothes. The trail crossed many small springs and creeks. The wooden steps down to the falls were long, narrow, wet and kind of slick. Annelise found a peaceful and satisfying atmosphere at this place, so we sat for a fairly long while absorbing the good feelings.
Then we hiked back to the car at the Looking Glass over look and headed further south to Graveyard Fields. Apparently this area is not named for a real graveyard, but for a bunch of downed and dead trees from an ancient storm which looked spooky. These trails were fairly long, steep and slick in places, reminding me of Grandfather Mountain and Linville Gorge. First we went down stream to the Lower Falls. We were amazed at the large assemblage of tourists, picnickers, children and water waders here. So, we joined the crowd and ate our trail lunch on the big rocks among the rapids.
From there we took the Graveyard Fields Trail upstream to the Upper Falls, again crossing many springs and creeks. Even though the trails maps and signs were accurate, we felt like the fairly rough and muddy trail was stretching on further than it should have. Eventually I got out and turned on my GPS, which confirmed that we were on the way towards, and not far from, the Upper Falls. When we finally got there we had a nice respite, ate an apple and chatted with the other hikers.
Eventually it became late afternoon and it was time to make like horse manure and hit the trail. We completed the Graveyards Field Trail loop back to the parking lot, which thankfully was shorter and easier than the other side of the loop we had strenuously traversed earlier in the day.
We drove back to the Pisgah Inn and Restaurant and enjoyed a nautical meal for a late supper. Annelise had mountain trout and I had crab cakes. A good time was had by all!