Roan Highlands
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Snowball Trail - Pisgah National Forest, NC

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
2.8 mls N/A

Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
Hawkbill Rock
2 hours with 20 minutes of breaks
1,090 ft
7.1 mls N/A

Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
Little Snowball Lookout Tower
4 hours with 45 minutes of breaks
2,030 ft
Pisgah National Forest
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Parking at the T-intersection with FR 63/Stoney Fork Rd at Beetree Gap near the FR 63 gate.
  35.69999, -82.39886

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach)

The Snowball Trail is a quiet alternative to the crowds of the Craggy Gardens Recreation Area along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Beginning at Beetree Gap near the picnic area, you’ll follow the trail north into the heart of the western Great Craggy Mountains. The trail follows a high ridge dividing the headwaters of Reems Creek and Ivy Creek in the Big Ivy region of Pisgah National Forest. The highlight of the hike is Hawkbill Rock, an exposed peak with wide-ranging views of the Black, Great Craggy, and Elk Mountains. Most visitors will turn around here, as it is a short, rewarding 2.8-mile round trip. The Snowball Trail continues north along a wide ridge which holds an impressive old-growth hardwood forest. The terminus of the trail is Little Snowball Mountain-Northeast Peak, the site of a former lookout tower. Reaching this peak is one half of the Little Snowball tower requirement for the Carolina Lookout Tower Challenge. Although the former tower site no longer has views, the last half-mile is an incredible walk through a tunnel of Catawba rhododendron and mountain laurel blooms during May and June.

Carolina Lookout Tower Challenge – To check off Little Snowball for the Carolina Lookout Tower Challenge, you must hike the Snowball Trail to the former tower site on Little Snowball Mountain-Northeast Peak and also visit the restored tower at the Big Ivy Historical Campus. The tower was rebuilt in 2006 and is beside the main parking lot for the Big Ivy Community Center. If the gate is open at Beetree Gap, you can follow FR 63 north to the community of Dillingham and follow Dillingham Rd west to the park.

Mile  Summary and Highlights
0.1 - Mountains-to-Sea Trail junction with the Snowball Trail
1.4 - Views from Hawkbill Rock
1.6 - Wide plateau with old-growth hardwood trees
2.5 - Trail passes through Snowball Gap
3.6 - End of Snowball Trail at former site of Little Snowball lookout tower
Early June
Snowball Trail Hike Comments
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