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Asheville, NC: Plott Balsam

En route to four 6,000-foot summits, this 7.8-mile bushwhack travels the crest of wooded ridgeline above the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Rating

Head north from the parking area for a gradual ridgeline climb to Waterrock Knob—the first summit of the day. From the top of Waterrock, the main challenge is keeping track of the overgrown trail as it veers east and traverses the ridge to Browning Knob. At mile 1.3, pass several boulders and navigate through dense vegetation that crowds the path. The trail leaves the woods after 2.2 miles and turns onto a grassy road, traveling across the summit of Mount Lyn Lowery. Take in the 360-degree views of surrounding mountains before tackling the remaining 1.8 miles to the summit of Plott Balsam. Return to the trailhead following the same route. (Pay attention to the unmarked junctions along the fire road between Mount Lyn Lowery and Plott Balsam—they’re easy to miss.)
Mapped by Scott Sanders

To Trailhead

From Waynesville, NC, take US 23/US 74 southeast for 5.3 miles and exit onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, heading northwest. In 8.2 miles, turn right on road to Waterrock Knob and trailhead parking.

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