Buncombe County High Point Trip Report

Potato Knob (6,400+ ft)

Date: November 10, 2001
Author: John Garner

Thanks to John Mitchler for the report. Everything similar with a few exceptions. Using a GPS, the total distance is 2.8 miles round-trip. Total (not net) gain is close to 600 feet.

From the visitor center two miles into Mt. Mitchell State Park, take the upper gravel road on the north side of the parking area. Walk 0.9 mile to the intersection with another gravel road. The trail on the right side of this intersection is DIRECTLY across from the gravel road. Take it. You will begin to lose elevation. Pass a trail junction a few hundred yards into the forest; bear left.

At about 1.1 miles from the start, you will enter a clearing and find the log cabin referred to in Mitchler's report. However, someone has cut down a bunch of trees and the clearing is now several acres in size. It took quite some time, but I finally found a trail at the foot of the clearing. To find this trail more easily: there is a small table in front of the cabin - take a bearing of 250 degrees from there. See two larger trees at the far corner of the clearing; the trail runs between them.

At about 0.1 mile from the clearing, find another junction; bear left. (You can see another clearing, and the teepee Mitchler noted, just beyond along the right fork.) From there, it is about a quarter mile up to the summit. There are a number of signs along the trail noting that the ridge is the boundary between the National Forest and a bear sanctuary.

The actual hp is not obvious, as there is heavy cover but at the highest area the trail meets two different trails rising steeply up from the parkway side. (I assume one of these is the access that Ron used.)

This one was fun, as it required a little bit of route finding, and I played with compass, map, and GPS. On the way back, I wandered up to Mt Gibbes, a Southern Sixer, but I don't think my ascent qualifies due to a lack of elevation gain.