Big Hump & Little Hump Mountains, Avery County (8-12-15) - dwhike
Appalachian Trail (Bradley Gap) - 5,000'

Big Hump & Little Hump Mountains (8-12-15)

The 'Humps' are two spectacular Appalachian peaks which mark the northern extremity of the Roan Highlands along the North Carolina-Tennessee border.  Little Hump Mountain, as its name implies, is the lesser of the two peaks (though only by a hundred feet or so) while Big Hump (or, simply Hump) Mountain is the higher and most northern of the two.  Measuring in the mid-5,000 foot range the peaks primary claim to fame are the expansive grassy bald environments which cover their summits and much of the surrounding ridge tops.  For nearly half of this hike my glorious surroundings were comprised of meadow flowers with mountains and sky spreading unbroken to the far horizons.  This is truly one of the most naturally beautiful places in the Southern Appalachians.

Starting to the south at the hikers parking area at the end of Roaring Creek Road I would be ascending to the ridge by way of the historic Overmountain Trail.  This trail marks the route the 'Overmountain Men' of Revolutionary War fame used in crossing from their homes in northeastern Tennessee en route to their victory over the British at Kings Mountain.  On the way up to the ridge I'd also be making a short detour to visit perhaps the most celebrated shelter along the Appalachian Trail...the Overmountain Shelter which is also known affectionately as 'The Barn' in hiking circles.  Once atop the ridge I'd make a northward turn on the Appalachian Trail and follow it the remainder of the way over the two Humps.  I could try to describe this spectacular portion of the hike but words would, ultimately, fail to express just how visually overwhelming the scenery found here is.  I'll just let you look through the gallery and let my humble photos give you a glimpse.  This was, without a doubt, one of the most incredibly scenic hikes I've ever undertaken in the Southern Appalachians.  Come along with me if you will, and see what I discovered...if you are capable, however, I highly recommend experiencing this hike in person.  You won't regret it...

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  36.117000, -82.048930

Route Type:  Out-and back + spur          Difficulty:  HARD

Hike Length:  9.5 miles                              Hike Duration:  4:30

Trailhead Temp:  55'F                                Trail Traffic:  1-5 people

Min. Elevation:  4,200'                                Max. Elevation:  5,587'

Total Vertical Gain:  1,887'                         Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile:  398' 

Trails Used (blaze color):  Appalachian (white), Overmountain Shelter Spur (unblazed), Overmountain Victory (blue)