Wildcat Rock Trail

August 4, 2018

Sherri and I

This trail is near Chimney Rock NC. This trail is 3 miles long and goes to a grassy area near Little Bearwallow Mountain.  It passes Little Bearwallow Falls.  The trail dead ends 3 miles in.  It will eventually go tot he top of Bearwallow Mountain (another 2 miles).   The elevation is 3980 ft.

Sherri and I left at 7 ish. She got to my house late as usual, about 7:02. 🤣 She thinks if she isn’t early she is late! We were at the trailhead about 9am.

The hike starts in Gerton, NC at the parking area for both Florence Nature Preserve and Wildcat Rock Trail.  Across the street from the parking lot is a driveway and a trail.  The trail walks alongside private property which has a garden and an orchard on it.  This trail is well blazed with orange Conserving Carolina blazes.

The walk through the garden and over a cool bridge and a raging stream was so beautiful and peaceful. Then up you go! It was a 1200 foot gain in 3 miles. It mostly goes steadily up and really doesn’t have any switchbacks until way later. Most of the trail you can here the rumbling waters below. Which we love! But also we can here cars and motorcycles which we don’t love.

Sherri was wondering if after all my adventure hiking I’d be bored? There is no such thing. Every trail is different, every view is awesome, every day in the mountains is a new frame of mind. That’s why we love hiking! Besides I’ve missed my friend! But Just in case she added a steep as crap isolated trail in an area we’ve never been!

About 1 mile in is Lower Bearwallow Falls. After all this rain it still did not have much water going over it. It was about 100 ft tall. Sherri read that people do ice climbing here. On the way back we did see people rock climbing.

There was a whole family there to climb. The little ones were about 5 – 8. Unfortunately we didn’t stay long enough to see them climb.

Right after the falls there are rock outcroppings with small streams of water. We even crossed over an area we could hear water rushing under us through what sounded like a hollow rock. It was cool. This area is just beautiful green lush ferns and other plants.

About 2 miles into the trail is a spur trail to the left that goes to Wildcat rock. On top of it is great views towards Asheville. It says you can see all the way to Craggy Gardens. This is really the only views on the trail.

The trail ends at 3 miles. It was less than a mile to the end but felt farther. It was still uphill the whole way. It seemed so remote. At the end there is a field then if you head right towards Bearwallow Mountain there are spring fed pools where bears like to wallow. That’s what the article said. We didn’t go that far.

The whole way up I kept thinking about something Mary said when we were backpacking. She said we have probably walked under bears because if you look up they are probably in the trees. Well I just try not to look up! I recently read a blog about How to get over bearanoia! It was a great article. I never mentioned my bearanoia out loud. I sure didn’t want to give it to Sherri! I just try to get over it. Really we have hiked hundreds of miles and never seen a bear. Well Sherri did once but it was on the other side of a ravine.

They way back seamed much quicker. We ran into quite a few people below Wildcat rock. I guess we were alone because we left so early!

Everyone we passed wanted to know how far it was to the rock and to the end. Probably because it’s harder than the usual tourist trail!

Not only is this a hard trail but being August 4th it is HOT! The humidity is so high. Even up here. We talked about doing another trail but decided to hit some shops in town instead.

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