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Woody Ridge Trail – Pisgah National Forest, NC

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

7 hours and 30 minutes with 1 hour and 30 minutes of breaks
3,905 ft
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Park at the end of Shuford Creek Rd. 35.83825, -82.21935

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach)

The Woody Ridge Trail is notorious as one of the steepest medium-length trails in North Carolina. From relative obscurity in the South Toe River Valley, the trail climbs approximately 2,900 feet in 2.6 miles to the high-altitude crest of the Black Mountains. It is a moderately difficult climb from the parking area, and only gets steeper as you keep ascending. The isolation and trail system of the Black Mountains make loop hikes challenging, but with a combination of the Colbert Ridge Trail and abandoned forest roads you can explore this area in a day without retracing your steps. Before you reach the crest, there are two excellent viewpoints on the Woody Ridge Trail above 5,000 feet in elevation. Once you reach the Black Mountain Crest Trail, you have a few options on how to continue the hike. We highly recommend turning north to the best viewpoint in the Black Mountains from Horse Rock Meadows below Celo Knob. This is a quick out-and-back of ≈1 mile packed with outstanding views of the Cane River Valley and the Black, Great Craggy, Great Balsam, Plott Balsam, Great Smoky, and Bald mountain ranges. The hike continues south, filled with more views on either side of Gibbs Mountain. Far below Winter Star Mountain, Deep Gap is the most popular camping area along the crest trail and a good stop for an overnight backpacking trip. From here you’ll descend the rocky Colbert Ridge Trail and then take a mix of abandoned trails and forests roads to close the loop. If the full length of the Black Mountain Crest Trail seems out of reach, this is a great alternative to see the highlights of the mountain range.

Early October
Woody Ridge Trail Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: Zachary Robbins Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 10, 2019
Hiked this following the trail up and down from the parking area instead of doing the loop as described. It was more difficult than I remembered, but I am out of shape. With talking and multiple breaks at viewpoints it took nearly 3 hours to reach the crest. From there I got hit with thunderstorms for 45 min, then proceeded to bag Celo Knob. My primary goal was checking out the mine below Grassy Knob, over 1,000 foot descent from the crest trail. This made a difficult hike that more difficult coming back out of the valley. I then bagged Percys Peak before descended Woody Ridge back to the parking lot. It may be as difficult descending Woody Ridge as it is climbing up, it is rough on footing and your knees. Overall a good day, although it would've been better without all of the clouds and thunderstorms.

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