9.8 mi - Difficult - This is a rugged trail, but well worth the effort. Numerous trails intersect it; check your map for loop opportunities. In addition to white blazes, you may also see blue dots, which are leftovers from a trail designation no longer in use. The first mile of the trail is fairly easy, but after leaving Thrift Cove, it climbs up and over little Hickory Knob, an 800-foot elevation gain in less than a mile. From there the trail becomes more moderate as it drops down to Pressley Gap then up the shoulder of Black Mountain. A bit further, the view from the top of Clawhammer Mountain is a treat. Shortly after crossing the gravel road at Buckhorn Gap, you will come to the Buckhorn Gap trail shelter, where there is a spring. From here the trail climbs Soapstone Ridge, which offers nice views in the winter. The trail ends at Club Gap, where additional hiking opportunities exist via three other trails that may be taken out of the gap.
Approximate Elevation Change: 1,900 feet
At a Glance
||Mountain Biking Trail: Mountain biking and hiking trail. Bikers please yield to hikers. Mountain biking prohibited in wilderness areas.
||US Forest Service
Directions: Leaving the Pisgah District Ranger Station/Visitor Center parking lot, turn left (south) onto US 276. Proceed approximately 0.1 mile and turn left as if to enter the Ranger District’s gated Work Center; park in paved lot to right of Work Center. The trail starts on the old dirt road behind the parking lot—hike to your left.