GetHiking! Fall Weekend Escape on the Black Mountain Crest Trail


Fall view from atop Celo Knob

The basecamp hiking weekend is back! We basecamp at the Crabtree Falls Campground along the Blue Ridge Parkway for three days of hiking: To 60-foot Crabtree Falls on Friday afternoon, on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway Sunday morning, and top the northern stretch of the Black Mountain Crest Trail Saturday — all during the mountain peak of fall color. Breakfast both days is included, as are cold drinks at the end of each hike.

October 15-17

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The Black Mountain Crest Trail runs for 13 miles along its namesake ridge atop the East Coast, from Mount Mitchell on the south to Bowlen Creek to the north. Maybe you’ve hiked the first mile or so on the south end, to 6,637-foot Mount Craig. A few of you may have gone a short distance farther, to 6,589-foot Big Tom, and some may have even made it to Deep Gap, a 4-mile hike taking in three more 6,000-foot peaks. But what lies beyond? 

The mystery of the northern end of the Black Mountain Crest Trail is one we will unravel on this hike starting from the Bowlen Creek Trailhead and climbing just over 3,000 vertical feet in 4.5 miles to just past Celo Knob. There, we’ll take the Woody Ridge Trail down the east flank of the mountain for just over 2 miles. It’s a hike that begins in a lush, mature hardwood forest; traverses an exposed ridge with incredible views to the east and west; and finishes on a 2-mile descent through rugged terrain. We’ll do two shorter hikes as part of the weekend as well.

Did we mention we’ll be experience the peak of high-elevation fall color along the way?

Our basecamp for the weekend is the vastly under-utilized Crabtree Falls Campground at Milepost 339.5 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, about a 20-minute drive from Saturday’s hike. 

Included in this trip:

+ Eguide, including a list of what you’ll need for the weekend, maps of both hikes and detailed route descriptions

+ Camping for 2 nights

+ Breakfast for Saturday and Sunday mornings (pancakes and sausage Saturday morning, more of a continental affair Sunday morning)

+ Campfire & smores

+ Zoom planning session on Monday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m.

+ GetHiking! Guide to Suitable Camping Substitutes. Not a regular camper? Our guide shows you stuff you have around the house that makes for a decent camping substitute.

Our agenda for the weekend:

Friday: Arrive after 3 p.m. At 5 p.m., we’ll hike to Crabtree Falls, a 60-foot cascade wedged between hardwoods bathed in fall color. A relatively mellow hike. 2.6 miles

Saturday: Black Mountain Crest Trail at Bowlen Creek to Woody Ridge Trail and down the mountain. 7 miles.

Sunday: We conclude with a 3-mile hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway before heading home.

Not a camper? We have tent and sleeping pad rentals available, including a spacious 6-person tent with plush sleeping pads. Available for an additional fee of $45.


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