Hey hikers, do you know any very very unknown hiking trails, places of incredible beauty and peace of which no one else seems to be aware? I’m looking for areas that I can go where I’m likely at most to pass only one or two other contemplative souls in a given day? Places of amazing beauty, solitude, and serenity wherein the deep unpleasantnesses of modern life can be erased, if only for a day or two?
I’ll offer one first:
Find Montreat, North Carolina. Park up near the campground. Avoid hiking to Lookout Mountain–though it is very beautiful there, it attracts 97% of all hikers in the area. Instead go north into the Wade Boggs Wilderness area (NOT named after the famous ball player BTW). You will most likely be alone, except for a few bears and other denizens of the woods. Flowing streams will calm the soul–guaranteed. I think the area can handle a few Straight Dopers, but don’t spread the word too much. Extraordinary views of Mt. Mitchell, the tallest mountain in the East from the top of Greybeard Mountain.
One of my favorite “out of the way” places in Virginia are the Pinnacles of Dan, a couple of sharp, narrow peaks just outside of the Meadows of Dan, near where Rte. 58 crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The trail used to be the Appalachian Trail, before the AT was relocated due to the BRP. I’ve never seen anybody out there, probably due to a couple of things–It’s private propert (owned by a power company); anyone going there should probably get permission from them to go on the land, though, admittedly, I’ve never bothered to do that. Also, the trail has not been kept up to well, it’s easy in places to lose track of it.
Anyway, it’s a steep, rocky trail up the pinnacles. The trail continues down the other side of the pinnacles, and then up the spine of a mountain called the Devil’s Staircase (I believe), but gets really hard to follow at that point. I’ve never made it that far–everytime I’ve gone, some of the people in my group are always wanting to head back at that point. Wimps. Anway, let me know if anybody wants more info about the area.