Henderson County Highpoint Trip Report

Little Pisgah Mtn

Date: December 27, 2007
Author: Edward Earl

The most convenient way to Little Pisgah Mountain (and Mount Pisgah, a striking peak with a popular hike) is from the Mount Pisgah trailhead on the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). However, the BRP is subject to closure in case of snow or ice (or NPS fears thereof) and this was indeed the case at the time of my climb. Due to the proximity of the mountain to an access point, however, a BRP closure only increases the hiking distance from 1/2 mile to 1.5 miles and the elevation gain from 300 to 1000 feet -- still a pretty short hike by most standards.

From US-19-23-74 in New Candler NC (about 8 miles west of Asheville), I turned south on NC-151. After 10-12 miles on NC-151, the last few of which are quite convoluted, the highway reaches the BRP. The BRP was gated, so I parked off the side of NC-151 just before the gate, along with several other cars.

I expected to have to hike the BRP about 2 miles southwest to the Mount Pisgah trailhead but then I saw, barely 10 yards from the intersection of NC-151 and the BRP, a trail heading up the ridge immediately northwest of the BRP. The trail doesn't show on the 7.5' topo map but I was willing to bet that it would take a direct route up the northeast ridge of Little Pisgah Mountain, which it did. A short bushwhack off the north side of the trail brings one to the summit of Little Pisgah Mountain. There are several candidates for the highest ground but the most probable HP of Henderson county is a rock under some bushes on the east side of the northeast end of the summit area.

I have wanted to climb Mount Pisgah for many years (I grew up in upstate SC), so I continued on the trail toward the Mount Pisgah trail itself. I soon arrived at the upper parking lot for the Mount Pisgah trailhead. From the sign here, I saw that the trail I had used is called the Shut-In trail. As previous reports indicate, highpointers to Little Pisgah need to keep this straight: for Little Pisgah, use the Shut-In trail that begins at the southern end of the parking lot.

For Mount Pisgah itself, use the Mount Pisgah trail from the north end. Though not a county HP, I strongly recommend that anyone who finds himself in this area climb Mount Pisgah. It's a short, classic hike to a neat peak, it's well worth the effort and, unlike Little Pisgah, it has a wood platform with a view.

For variety, I hiked back to my truck on the BRP itself.