Ascent of Jackson Knob on 2012-03-18

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Sunday, March 18, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Jackson Knob
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:3401 ft / 1036 m

Ascent Trip Report

Jackson Knob dominates the view across the valley from the Altapass Orchard, a wonderful stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 328.3. The CSX Railroad (formerly Clinchfield) tunnels 4 times through the lower ridges of Jackson Knob as it winds its way up from North Cove to Altapass. You can learn more about this remarkable stretch of track--"the Loops"--at Altapass Orchard and the adjacent BRP overlook. The Loops include 18 tunnels in a span of 13 miles, and 2.5 miles of track are underground.

The hike to Jackson Knob is 0.8 miles round trip and starts near BRP milepost 325 at the Heffner Gap overlook, about three miles northbound from Altapass Orchard. From the Heffner Gap parking area, a gated road leads downhill to the south, next to the remnants of an apple orchard. Beyond the orchard, an old road (possibly a logging railroad) leads uphill into the woods. It is blocked in places by fallen trees and patches of thorns, and it does not go all the way to the summit. After one switchback, I headed up to the ridge through open woods to a non-descript and wooded summit. Undergrowth might be challenging in summer, but in March this bushwhack was little problem.

The topo shows a triangular BM sign on the summit, but I did not find a BM on the ground (nor on the BM search engine on I suspect that "Whiting Spur" (which looks like the BM name on the topo) is actually the name of the old roadbed, rather than a BM name. It might associated with William S. Whiting, who built the original Tweetsie RR from Linville to Boone.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:334 ft / 101 m
    Total Elevation Loss:334 ft / 101 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:334 ft / 101 m
    Distance:0.4 mi / 0.7 km
    Route:Whiting Spur, then bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:BRP Heffner Gap mile 325  3067 ft / 934 m
    Time:20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:334 ft / 101 m
    Distance:0.4 mi / 0.7 km
    End Trailhead:BRP Heffner Gap mile 325  3067 ft / 934 m
    Time:15 Minutes

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