Ascent of Craggy Dome on 2011-11-25

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Friday, November 25, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Craggy Dome
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:6080 ft / 1853 m

Ascent Trip Report

Craggy Dome is four-tenths of a mile from the Graybeard overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway near MP 363.

To make it a qualifying hike for South Beyond 6000, I started at the next northbound overlook, Glassmine Falls, near MP 361. This is a 5.4-mile round trip with a net climb of 880 feet (5.2 if you return via the BRP, as I did).

Take the Mountain-to-Sea Trail westbound. At 0.7 miles, skirt Locust Knob (bag it with a 50-yard side trip). At 1.0 mile, reach a heath bald with several fine views and crags. At 1.7, cross the shoulder of Bullhead Mountain (a tough little bushwhack I did previously). At 2.3 miles, reach the Graybeard overlook. This is a fun section of the MST, with a wide variety in terrain and flora.

Beyond the Graybeard overlook, continue on the MST westbound, and after about 100 yards, find a well-worn trail on the left--an unmarked junction just before the MST crosses the BRP. This trail is unblazed but easy to follow--at least in November, after the undergrowth has died back. Reach the heath bald at 5900 feet. Just after the trail crests a rocky ridge on the summit, there's a side trail on the R that leads to the actual HP, marked by a rusty old post. Explore a bit to find the best views--especially Craggy Pinnacle and the BRP to the west. The trail appears to continue west toward the Craggy Visitors Center, but I did not go further.

One advantage of this route: If you're running short on daylight (as I was) you can return via the BRP (2.1 miles from Graybeard to Glassmine).

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1100 ft / 335 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1100 ft / 334 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.2 mi / 8.4 km
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Weather:Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1080 ft / 329 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 880 ft / 269 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Loss on way in:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Route:MST 2.4 miles, unmarked summit trail 0.3 miles
    Start Trailhead:Glassymine Falls overlook, BRP MP 361  5200 ft / 1584 m
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:900 ft / 274 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 880 ft / 269 m; Extra: 20 ft / 6m
    Gain on way out:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:Return to Graybeard overlook and then walked 2.1 m
    End Trailhead:5200 ft / 1584 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes

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