Ascent of Rocky Knob South on 2019-02-14
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
|Date:||Thursday, February 14, 2019|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Car|
|Peak:||Rocky Knob South|
| Location:||USA-North Carolina|
| Elevation:||5240 ft / 1597 m|
Ascent Trip ReportNestled between its more heralded ridge cousins, Pinnacle and Graybeard Mountain, Rocky Knob with its double summit may be easily overlooked, but should not be.
DIRECTIONS: Park alongside the BRP where the Old Mitchell Toll Road (marked by a white gate) meets the BRP about 1/2 mile North of the intersection with NC 128. Follow the well maintained dirt road for about .6 miles, at which point you will pass the South orange blazed trail to the right. This is the back way up to The Pinnacle. From here, the road continues to curve to the right and follows a distinctive boulder covered ridge that descends from the Pinnacle.
As noted by Tom Layton, there are a number of antiquated abandoned campers that line the single track, some of which look to be 60 or more years old. Great snapshots of a bygone recreational era. At this point, the road descends gradually until reaching a small gap. Look for a trailhead to the right that parallels the marked Asheville watershed boundary. Ascend gradually and then more steeply remembering to stay to the left of the boundary markings. At points, the trail almost fades away or is blocked by downfall. Keep your south bearing thoughout and will you reach the north summit of Rocky Knob at 1.8 miles total.
The views to the north and west are pretty spectacular, with the Great Craggy Mountains and the Black Mountains (including a surprisingly low appearing Mount Mitchell) creating a full 180 degree+ panorama.
It is short walk the south summit which also has a photogenic view of Graybeard and the Swannanoa Valley to the south. The day I visited, it was partly cloudy and almost perfect for spotting all of these mountains.
If you want to continue on to Graybeard, proceed steeply (but carefully) to the east of the summit through a semi-marked trail. There is a route to the west that appears to also lead that same direction, but abruptly ends at a sheer drop off near a rock outcropping. After .4 miles, you will reach a gap where you begin your ascent to GB. If not, simply retrace your steps to the Toll Road and the Parkway.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||320 ft / 97 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||240 ft / 73 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||2.4 mi / 3.9 km|
| Grade/Class:||Class 1|
| Quality:||6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail|
| Gear Used:||Ski Poles|
| Weather:||Cold, Breezy, Partly Cloudy|
| Gain on way in:||320 ft / 97 m|
| Distance:||2 mi / 3.2 km|
| Route:||Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail|
| Start Trailhead:||Pull off on Maintained Road 4920 ft / 1499 m|
| Time:||55 Minutes|
| Loss on way out:||240 ft / 73 m|
| Distance:||0.4 mi / 0.6 km|
| Route:||Unmaintained Trail|
| End Trailhead:||Graybeard Gap 5000 ft / 1524 m|
| Time:||20 Minutes|
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