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Day 45: Table Rock Upper Creek, NC

May 15, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • 31.1 Ascend into an extensive and heavily used camping area. A
  • 31.2 On top of the ridge, begin passing among the Chimneys, remarkable shapes and stacks of rock. Dramatic views in all directions.
  • 31.3 Trail is on the west side of the ridge with views into gorge.
  • 31.6 Trail turns left (east) and begins to descend.
  • 32.1 Dramatic overlook with a view of the east side of the ridge up to Table Rock.
  • 32.4 Leave a small saddle and descend rapidly.
  • 32.5 Reach an extensive campsite in the gap without a reliable water source. A
  • 32.6 Leave the camping area.
  • 32.7 Pass through an area of severely burned pine, where all big trees are dead.
  • 32.9 Reach a saddle where there are campsites. A
  • 33.1 Steady moderate climb.
  • 33.2 Reach the ridge top and junction with Cambric Trail (FST 234), which is not always maintained. That trail goes right on the ridge (west) into the gorge. Go left.
  • 33.3 Pass a fire ring on the ridge.
  • 33.5 Reach the top of small knob.
  • 33.6 Trail follows a ridge with dramatic views to the north.
  • 34.2 Trail’s ascent ends. It will not climb again until past the Linville River in about 4.5 miles.
  • 34.4 Here there are views north of the Chimneys and Table Rock. Make a slight descent from the ridge and stay level for the next 2.2 miles.
  • 35.7 Trail passes through a desolate burned-over area with lots of downed wood and charred trunks, where mountain laurel is the only live vegetation of any size.
  • 35.9 Pass an unusual pond, which is often dry, on top of the mountain.
  • 36.0 As the ridge narrows, trail follows the rim where one can see down into the gorge with views of the Linville River and mountain ranges to the west.
  • 36.1 MST goes through some rhododendron and some large living oaks. Area is level with camping spots. Lake James is in view. Reach a junction where MST goes right to the west side of the ridge; there are extraordinary views from Shortoff Mtn. An alternate trail goes straight. It rejoins MST beyond Shortoff Mtn. in 0.8 mile. A
  • 36.2 Leave the campsites and traverse the rounded summit, heading west and then south to the lip of the gorge where there are breathtaking views into the gorge and across the river to the Black Mtns. in the west.
  • 36.5 Trail follows a narrow passage, across a crevice and past a seep that is a possible but not abundant water source.
  • 36.6 Leave the gorge and begin a descent of 1,700 feet in the next 1.7 miles to the Linville River. The trail turns back east.
  • 36.7 Trail goes east away from the gorge.
  • 36.9 MST turns right. Left is the alternate trail that traverses the east side of Shortoff Mtn. Straight is a trail that leads to a parking area on Wolf Pit Rd. coming off NC 126 in about 1.0 mile. Go right on MST and descend toward the Linville River. K
  • 37.0 Trail descends on the left (east) side of the ridge spine.
  • 37.8 Looking back right, you can see the face of Shortoff Mtn.
  • 38.1 A blue-dot trail (Linville River Connector Trail) joins from the left (east). Note: This connector trail forms an alternate route to avoid fording the Linville River if it is too high to cross safely. On the connector trail, it is 2.5 miles to NC 126, a possible access point. The NC 126 access location is at a locked gate at the entrance to NC Wildlife Game Lands. There is limited parking here. After the 2.5- mile walk to NC 126, it is 0.7 mile to the right on NC 126 to Parks Drive, which is across the Linville River Bridge, then right on Parks Drive for 0.3 mile to where the road is gated and crosses private land for 0.9 mile before joining MST at WB Mile 38.6. K
  • 38.3 Reach the east side of the Linville River after a steady descent. MST goes left downstream.
  • 38.4 Pass through heavily used campsites and beside fire rings to reach a river crossing. The river is about 60 yards wide here and typically no more than knee high. A
  • 38.4 Reach the west bank of the Linville River. Go left downstream.
  • 38.5 Reach the “Boy Scout” campsite beside the river. MST goes right, away from the river.
  • 38.6 Reach a private road running along the river. Left, in 0.9 mile is Parks Drive and 0.3 mile further, NC 126. There is no public access here. MST goes right (north) on the road and then left in a few hundred yards, out of the river floodplain to begin ascending the western side of Linville Gorge.
  • 39.3 After a gentle-to-moderate climb, reach the top of a knob in thick young pines with dramatic views of Shortoff Mtn. across the river.
  • 39.5 Descend the knob to a tributary of the Linville River.
  • 39.7 Cross the creek, going left.
  • 39.8 Continue upstream. Another creek will join from the left, and then a trail comes in from the left.
  • 40.0 Leave the creek and begin a strenuous climb to a saddle in open forest.
  • 40.1 Reach a saddle and go left on MST up the ridge. Another trail goes right on the ridge.
  • 40.3 Make a strenuous climb to views of Lake James and Shortoff Mtn. back to the east.
  • 40.5 After a gentle ascent on the ridge, begin a moderate-to-strenuous climb up a burned-over slope with little shade.
  • 40.9 Reach the Pinnacle. MST skirts it to the north, but just past it, a trail goes left a short way to an observation platform and rock outcrop with spectacular views to the east, south, and west. Continue west on a heavily used trail to Old NC 105 (SR 1328, also called Kistler Memorial Hwy.).
  • 41.2 Reach Old NC 105 and a small parking area. MST goes left, down the road, for 0.8 mile. K
  • 42.0 MST goes right, off the road, at a small parking area. K
  • 42.0 MST joins an old road and makes a gradual descent.
  • 42.3 Reach 2 small creeks. MST on the old road stays east of them and will continue to descend with the creek.
  • 43.0 Cross a stream just below the juncture of two small streams and ascend on a deeply rutted old road.
  • 43.2 Reach a nice campsite and go right on a larger old road that is the Overmountain Victory Trail.
  • 43.4 Reach FS 106 (Dobson Knob Rd.), where the MST goes left. The Overmountain Victory Trail goes straight across FS 106 and through a gate. Go left on FS 106.
  • 43.7 Follow FS 106 and pass a gated wildlife field on the right with vehicle parking.
  • 44.7 Reach a communication tower, then two more.
  • 44.8 Reach a parking area providing access. Pass through a gate at the end of FS 106. K
  • 45.3 Campsite on right at a bend in the road. A
  • 45.4 Continue on the road, which is badly rutted.
  • 46.0 Pass a wildlife field on the right.
  • 46.5 Reach an intersection of rutted roads. There are campsites here. MST stays right, passes another wildlife field on the right, and enters rhododendrons.
  • 46.7 Still on an old road, begin an easy-to-moderate climb.
  • 46.8 A trail goes right. MST stays left.
  • 46.9 Trail is fairly level here; the road peters out.
  • 47.0 Make a gradual ascent on a streambed, then on moss. This is the last water until you are past Bald Knob.
  • 47.5 Trail reaches the top of Dobson Knob, where there is a fire ring and a one-tent campsite. Trail continues on top of the ridge. A
  • 47.6 Leave the ridge to the left (east).
  • 47.7 Make a rapidly descending sag east in open forest before climbing back to the next knob.
  • 47.8 Regain the ridge after a moderate-to-strenuous climb.
  • 48.0 On the ridge, make a moderate climb through rhododendrons up the north end of Bald Knob.
  • 48.1 Reach a series of dramatic rock outcrops with views to the west. On top of the spine, the trail has only gradual changes in elevation.
  • 48.3 Begin a descent on the ridge down the south side of Bald Knob. There are views of Lake James and the east.
  • 48.4 Trail goes right, leaving a rugged fire road that runs up the spine.
  • 48.7 Start a series of rapid switchbacks down to reach the top of a ridge.
  • 48.9 Make a moderate descent on top of the ridge, and come to the end where an overlook to the left gives dramatic views to the south. Trail goes right, off the ridge onto another series of rapid switchbacks.
  • 49.0 Reach a rock outcrop with a spectacular view to the north and west. Looking uphill (east and north) you see Bald Knob; above and beyond (northeast) is Dobson Knob.
  • 49.3 Make a moderate descent, where the trail is narrow on a steep slope.
  • 49.5 Pass a strange sinkhole on the right (uphill) side of the trail.
  • 49.6 Reach a spot with a view to the west across the valley up to the Blue Ridge. The descent is easy to moderate.
  • 49.8 Cross a rocky intermittent streambed and join a ridge top.
  • 50.0 Ridge is narrow and rock-strewn in places with easy-to-moderate descent.
  • 50.3 Trail leaves the back of the ridge, going right into open forest. In this area there are several good camping spots. A
  • 50.5 Short path on left to a piped spring.
  • 50.6 On an old road following a creek, emerge from a hollow and arrive at a more recent, but still old, road and go left.
  • 51.0 The road makes a gradual descent, following the contours of the base of Bald Knob. As it makes turns around the mountain, there are occasional views of the valley of the North Fork of the Catawba River, which the trail will cross.
  • 51.4 MST leaves the old road, going right and begins a moderate descent.
  • 51.6 Cross a railroad and approach the river.
  • 51.7 Reach a nice 200-foot pedestrian bridge crossing the North Fork of the Catawba River and arrive at an old road along the river. The crossing point for waders before the bridge was built is 0.1 mile downstream. Go left on the road.
  • 52.0 Continue downstream on the road, which is in the floodplain.
  • 52.3 Going right, away from the river, the trail crosses a gravel maintenance road and passes under power lines. It continues across a field to a gate at its edge. Pass through the gate on the road. Note: The gate may be open or removed.
  • 52.6 Reach a creek and leave the floodplain. Continue on the road, ascending gradually for 0.3 mile.
  • 52.9 MST leaves the road to the right and begins a moderate climb.
  • 53.7 Reach the top of the knob, which is circled by an old road. Stay right and emerge onto a grassy area where there is good camping. A
  • 53.8 Several roads intersect in the grassy area. Continue across and take FS 150, the most obvious road.
  • 54.0 Follow FS 150 down the hill, then take a right onto FS 149.
  • 54.3 Take a left, leaving FS 149.
  • 54.6 Descend through a pine forest, through a series of switchbacks.
  • 55.0 Reach a wildlife field. After skirting it to the right (north and east), make a short descent into rhododendrons and cross a normally dry streambed.
  • 55.2 Emerge from rhododendrons onto a possible parking area at the end of a rough (four-wheel drive advised) but traveled road that leads to US 221. Note: The gate for this road may be locked. Check with the ranger station at 828-652-2144 if you are hoping to park there. K
  • 55.5 Reach US 221. To the left (south) it is 2.0 miles to a general store; 4.0 miles to all amenities. To the right (north) it is 0.8 mile to a convenience store. Cross US 221 onto Green Mtn. Rd. next to the USFS Work Center at Woodlawn. To the left is a parking lot and restrooms.


May 15, 2018
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Throwing Bones Run