Devil's Courthouse Tunnel -- 5,540'

Devil's Courthouse fr. Beech Gap

Devil's Courthouse (5,720') is one of many such-named peaks in the southern mountains. What sets this particular Courthouse apart are its exposed, almost overhanging, cliffs and its close proximity to the busy Blue Ridge Parkway. In warmer seasons it’s a rare day that you don't find at least a handful of cars in the parking lot at the head of the 1/2 mile trail to the summit. It's a deservedly popular peak as few trails so short offer up views like what can be found here. Personally I like my hikes longer and a bit quieter so it’s a rare occasion that I visit the Courthouse.

On this day, however, I had heard that due to recent snow and ice the Parkway had been closed. This would force any would-be visitors to walk the mile or so from NC-215 at Beech Gap to climb the Courthouse. This would likely clear out any crowds and provide me with something closer distance-wise to a short hike so I decided to pay a visit. I also had the unique opportunity to take a slow walk along the Blue Ridge Parkway without fear of being run over which was enjoyable in its own right. Even though it may be a stretch to call this a true hike it offered up some wonderful scenery and solitude...a great way to wind up the 2013 hiking year!

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  35.298524, -82.910040

Route Type: Out-and-back      Difficulty: MODERATE (Petzoldt Rating: 4.30 )      Hike Length: 3.5 miles      Hike Duration: 1:45      Trailhead Temp: 30'                     Trail Traffic: 1-5 people      Min. Elevation: 5,350'      Max. Elevation: 5,750'      Total Vertical Gain: 400'      Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 229'

Trails Used (Blaze Color): Devil's Courthouse (unblazed)