Huckleberry Knob (5-17-13)
Huckleberry Knob, at 5,560', marks the highest point of the rugged Unicoi Mountains which straddle the border of North Carolina and Tennessee just south of the Smoky Mountains. Once a fairly difficult peak to get to, the completion of the nearby Cherohala Skyway in 1996 made this peak vastly more accessible. At about North Carolina Milepost 8 is a marked parking area with trail information and a good map. From the parking area its only a mile and a quarter to the top along and old forest service road-turned hiking trail.
Huckleberry Knob is yet another of the Southern Appalachians amazing and unusual balds. From its broad open summit lawn the entirety of the Unicoi Mountain Range wraps around you while the precipitous Santeetlah River Valley drops away some 4,000' to the east. Unfortunately, the day I happened to be in the area with time for a hike, a low cloudy haze was hanging over the mountains reducing the clarity and visual impact of the views. Regardless, a hike to a high southern bald is always a treat and Huckleberry Knob was no exception...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.313965, -83.990946
Hike Length: 2.5 miles Hike Duration: 1:00
Trailhead Temp: 50'F
Min. Elevation: 5,300' Max. Elevation: 5,560'
Total Vertical Gain: 400' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 160'