Mount Pisgah (3-26-15)
Oh Mount Pisgah...how I love thee and how I hate thee. If there's any peak in the Southern Appalachians with which I have this type of relationship it has to be this one. Beautiful in form, easily accessible, and reaching to nearly 6,000-feet with a grandstand view of the French Broad Valley and nearby Shining Rock Ridge...this peak would make just about the perfect quickie hike for me when I find myself with limited time to spend on the trail. Unfortunately there's always an elephant in the room when I visit...and it's a BIG elephant. You see, back in 1954, it was decided to build a 339' communications tower atop the peak...a tower which unfortunately has not yet been taken out by a passing hurricane. The tower is owned by a local news affiliate and is a source of extreme controversy still to this day. It's not just big business to blame either, the Forest Service has repeatedly renewed the lease for the tower to be up there.
Anyway, before I find myself on top of a soapbox I must still add that this is a wonderful hike...albeit a very busy one in the summer when I tend to stay away. The 1.5-mile trail ascends just about a thousand feet, from trailhead to summit, making it a healthy but not overly long workout to gain the top. The trail winds through a beautiful oak forest which is typical of the Pisgah Ridge before climbing into a post-summit bald tree and shrub community near the top. And, if you can somehow phase out the 339' tower beside you, the views are about as good as they get in this area. So, for about the twentieth time, I'm off to visit Mount Pisgah...come on along...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.418689, -82.747943
Hike Length: 3.0 miles Hike Duration: 1:30
Trailhead Temp: 55'F
Min. Elevation: 4,950' Max. Elevation: 5,721'
Total Vertical Gain: 770' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 513'