Pilot Mountain
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Florence Nature Preserve, NC

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
5.8 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

3 hours with 30 minutes of breaks
1,560 ft
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Park at the Florence Nature Preserve parking area on U.S. 74A. 35.47340, -82.33229

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach)

Little Pisgah Mountain lacks the recognition of neighboring sights in the Hickory Nut Gorge but it may have the best view of them all. Tucked behind the Florence Nature Preserve, the mountain lies outside of an official trail system. It’s probably why most people have no idea it is an easy, albeit long road walk beyond the preserve. At the summit you’ll be treated to glorious 270° views north, east, and south of the rugged Hickory Nut Gorge and two of the tallest mountain ranges in North Carolina.

If you decide to forego the long hike and explore the nature preserve, you’ll still have a nice view from Rattlesnake Knob and see a surprisingly cool chute waterfall. Either way this is a spot worth checking out and is part of the push to expand hiking opportunities in the Hickory Nut Gorge.

Note - The trails in the Florence Nature Preserve have no official names and are simply referred to by their blaze color. There are multiple trails with the same color so it is recommended to bring the trail map on your hike

Late January
Florence Nature Preserve Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: Rebekah Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 20, 2019
Pros: The trails are clearly marked and directions extremely easy to follow. Itís a quick somewhat steep 1 mile up, but well maintained and stairs in necessary areas. Easy for any average hiker. 95% of the trails are well shaded. Lots of creeks and tributaries with mini waterfalls in a few places. Bridges built for any necessary crossings. The trail is moderate and the 5.8 mile loop was quiet and peaceful. Only saw 3 hikers at the beginning and 3 more at the end. Because it is several trails connected, Iím guessing most people donít do the red, orange and blue trails.

Cons: the 270 degree views mentioned at the top are not found on this 5.8 mile loop. The first orange trail leads you to a rock growth but too many trees to get any view at all. The second orange trail takes you in and out to two more rock formations at the summer. Only one gives about a 30 degree view of a few mountains in the distance. The area is small so itís a good thing the trail is quiet, as it wouldnít hold more than 3-4 people for viewing

All in all a very well-maintained hike. A moderate nearly 6 mile hike that is great for breathing in some fresh air in a peaceful quiet setting. Took about 3 hours to complete with a 30 minute break at the top. Just wish the views had been what I was expecting.

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