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Green Knob and Hickory Branch

posted Sep 7, 2018, 2:50 PM by Justin P   [ updated Sep 21, 2018, 4:08 PM ]
Sunday I woke up and had breakfast at camp and didn't have to drive from Curtis Creek.  My first hike was up the very steep Snooks Nose Trail (#211).  I had been up to Snooks Nose before, but this time I wanted to hike all the way up to Green Knob.  The trail is brutally steep, so wanted to knock out the climb first thing in the morning.  But it was still hot and humid before 8 and so the climb up was painful.  In about an hour, I made it to Snooks Nose and stopped for a break.


Snooks Nose looks east so didn't have much in the way of views with the bright sunlight.  The next 2 miles to the parkway were uphill but not nearly so steep.  After a total of about 4 miles, I made it to the end of the trail at Green Knob Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.


The overlook had great views looking down towards Curtis Creek.


Lots of false sunflower were blooming at the overlook.


Across the road, I picked up Green Knob Trail (#182) and went another half mile up to the summit.  There's a lookout tower here, but it's locked up so couldn't get in.


I did climb the stairs for a view of the Black Mountains hidden behind clouds.


After a snack, I started making my way back.  The views were better from Snooks Nose and I took a photo stop before the super steep downhill began.


Near the end, I got off the trail to find Slick Falls.  It's a tall waterfall, but the banks are so steep and overgrown with rhododendron, I couldn't get a much of a picture.


Back at camp, I had lunch and then started hiking Hickory Branch Trail (#213).  I stopped for some nice cascades along the creek.


After passing the Hickory Branch Falls, the trail crossed Hickory Branch twice and then a tributary.  Just past the last crossing was another waterfall.  Upper Hickory Branch Falls was a nice tiered waterfall, but there were several dead trees lying over it.


After this point, the trail got really steep and headed away from Hickory Branch and ending at Lead Mine Gap Trail (#212).  Going right, the trail became really overgrown and difficult to follow.  So I went the other way for about a mile before turning back..  I was pretty hungry by the time I got back to camp and headed to Las Salsas in Marion for dinner.