Another half hour north of Pilot Mountain I found a beauty of a trail and creek. This was at the historic Cumberland Knob Recreation Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Why is this an historic spot. Well as the sign reads it was the first recreation area built on the parkway. But also this was the point at which the parkway started. The CCC crews from North Carolina started south from here towards the Great Smokie Mountains. The Virginia crews started north towards the Shenandoah National Park. Cumberland Knob is pretty close to the NC/Va state line.
Enough history, let’s go hiking! Here is a short but beautiful trail down Gulley Creek and back up to the picnic shelter on Cumberland Knob. This trail not only follows the creek but sometimes is the creek as there are about seven creek crossings. This is a short trail, about 2.2 miles but there is almost 1000′ of elevation gain so it is somewhat steep.
I got down in the hollow along the trail very near the area pictured above and I was thinking, “this is probably not a good place to be out here alone as this is definitely bear country”. Of course I was fine our minds race all the time about stuff that ain’t gonna happen. I did see wildlife though.
When there are cascades and waterfalls it is always a bonus and the Gulley Creek Trail had both.
“here’s magic in the water that draws all men away from the land, that leads them over hills, down creeks and streams and rivers to the sea.”Herman Melville
The trail back in is pretty much off the creek and up the hill. while strenuous it wasn’t to bad. The picnic shelter came into view and was a fine example of the construction work done by the CCC.
I returned one more time to hike this trail with Nate but it was hardly worth the drive for a two mile trail. But it is a beautiful trail and area.