A short 1 mile moderate hike to the grassy bald peak of Bearwallow Mountain. Exceptional views of the Hickory Nut Gorge area can be found atop this summit.
In the Hickory Nut Gorge area of North Carolina, near Chimney Rock, is the grassy bald peak of Bearwallow Mountain. The moderate hike to the top of Bearwallow Mountain is a short 1 mile walk through a beautiful forest trail that treats hikers to the wide open peak of Bearwallow Mountain providing wide views of the surrounding mountains. The summit is also shared by some cattle that graze the summit during the warmer months. While the hike to the summit is somewhat steep, gaining over 500ft of elevation, this is a great family friendly hike that should be okay for most children.
The trailhead to Bearwallow Mountain is located on Bear Wallow Mountain Road in the town of Gerton, North Carolina. Bear Wallow Mountain Road is off Highway 74A about 5 miles Northwest of Highway 64 or 18 miles Southeast of Interstate 40. The road up Bear Wallow Mountain Road is initially paved, becomes unpaved, and then paved again. The marked parking area for the trailhead is right where the pavement starts again and is along the shoulder of the road. Be careful not to block the gate that is present. The trailhead is about 30 minutes from Asheville or Hendersonville North Carolina. There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead.
The trail up Bearwallow Mountain starts at the gate by where the pavement started. It is marked with a trailhead marker as well as an informative signboard that you should checkout before heading up the mountain. From here, the trail heads briskly up the mountain and is well blazed and marked the entire trail. The trail will switchback several times as it works its way up the mountain but the climb is never too strenuous and there are stairs for some of the steeper sections. It is really a beautiful stroll through the forest and is quite pleasant.
As the switchbacks end and the trail straightens out, it will eventually leave the forest as the trail joins up with the service road leading to the communication towers at the top of the mountain. From here you are able to explore the grassy peak and enjoy all that Bearwallow Mountain has to offer. Note that the old fire tower and communication equipment are not open to the public and are all fenced off. But the area that is open to the public, and the cows, is large and provides views in just about every direction. There are a few nice rocky spots on the summit that provide great areas for enjoying the epic views.
This is an out and back hike so when you have finished enjoying the views atop Bearwallow Mountain, you could either hike back down the trail or, if you wanted a different route down the mountain, you could also walk down the service road. This will put you right at the gate at the trailhead. Either way, the hike up and down is about 2 miles in length.