Ascent of Craggy Dome on 2012-04-22

Climber: Michael Stephens

Others in Party:William Sanderson
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, April 22, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Carpool
Peak:Craggy Dome
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:6080 ft / 1853 m

Ascent Trip Report

April 22, 2012 9:15 AM - 13 attended
Sammy's Douglas Falls the hard way + Michael's wildflowers & maybe Craggy Dome

We will meet at the Folk Art Center (MP 382) and form carpools. Please pay your drivers! We will drive 18 miles out to the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center (MP 364.5) on the Blue Ridge Parkway. One or two drivers will leave their cars 2 miles up the Parkway at the Graybeard parking area for the shuttle later on. The hike starts on the Craggy Gardens Nature Trail 5500ft)but soon turns right onto the Mountains to Sea Trail. The first part of the trail travels through high-elevation hardwood trees. At the intersection with the Douglas Falls trail, turn left off the MST. Descend on many switchbacks on a rough, sparsely used and maintained trail to a small stream; the trail levels and is a bit smoother. Cross Cascades Waterfall at 2.1 miles; be careful because it is slick and a long drop below! The trail passes very large, old-growth hardwoods then enters a virgin hemlock forest at Waterfall Creek. Cross the stream; descend on some more switchbacks to campsite and then 70' free-falling Douglas Falls at 3.2 miles (4200ft).

After lunch at Douglas Falls, backtrack 2.2 miles to the MST, then turn left for 1.5 miles on MST to Graybeard Mountain Overlook (MP 363.4, 5592ft). At this point, we will assess the group's energy level and make a group decision on whether or not to make the 1 mi round trip up Craggy Dome (6080 ft.), which would count toward the SB6K challenge (40 peaks over 6000 ft, at least 5 mile hike and 500 ft elevation gain).

This hike is a variation of the description given online at and from Kevin Adam's North Carolina's Best Wildflower Hikes: The Mountains.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3180 ft / 969 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1788 ft / 544 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.9 mi / 14.3 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Stream Ford
    Weather:Drizzle, Cold, Very Windy, Low Clouds
Cloudy, rain, then sleet/snow mix on the summit
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1880 ft / 573 m
    Distance:5.2 mi / 8.4 km
    Route:Douglas Falls Trail to MST to Graybeard Overlook t
    Start Trailhead:Douglas Falls  4200 ft / 1280 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1788 ft / 544 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 488 ft / 149 m; Extra: 1300 ft / 396m
    Gain on way out:1300 ft / 396 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 5.9 km
    Route:Craggy Gardens Visitor Center to MST to Douglas Fa
    End Trailhead:Craggy Gardens Visitor Center   5592 ft / 1704 m

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