After road closings due to ice in The Smokys caused us to change our plans, we decided to hike some of the trails in Montreat. I did a solo trip here in 2011 and was excited to come back and explore some of the offerings I had missed.
The Trail Head at Graybeard Trail is easy to find and has sufficient parking. A short wooden bridge takes you over a creek and to the trail. The trail follows a creek for about two miles, picking up about 1500 feet in elevation.
A small waterfall, called Graybeard Falls, offers a good place to camp. This part of the trail is frequented by day hikers but any higher you should have the mountain to your self(At least in January). A few switchbacks bring the trail up to Walker's Knob, one of the highlights of this trip.
We set up camp near Walker's Knob. There is a shelter and a fire ring nearby. Walker's Knob offers great Western views of Black Mountain and the Smokies. Watching the sunset over Black Mountain Is incredible.
In the morning we headed North on the Old Mitchell Toll Road Trail to Rocky Knob. The rocky 5240ft summit offers great views of the Asheville Watershed, The Black Mountain Crest and Pinnacle Mountain. After the steep but short climb to the top we stopped to take in the views and eat some lunch.
We finished eating and headed down from the summit. We took the toll trail down to Pot Cove Gap. This section of the trail was extremely Icy. Sections of the trail were covered in inches thick solid ice, offering zero traction.
At Pot Cove Gap the trail meets back up with Graybeard trail for familiar hike back to the car. Once back to the car we made a stop in Black Mountain for some eats at My Father's Pizza and coffee at Dripolators--rounding out a perfect winter hike.