Mountains-to-Sea Trail: Craven Gap to the Folk Art Center

Posted By on September 26, 2020

Mountains-to-Sea Trail: Craven Gap to the Folk Art Center

7.2 miles; Asheville, NC

This was a “Feisty Women” hike and hooowee this was a hard one for me. Lugging my extra 20 Covid pounds up and down the hills was just not fun, and I ended up at the end of the group. Again. Good news? No major disasters, although we were warned there was a mama bear with 2 cubs ahead they were gone by the time we got there.

Blue Ridge Parkway marker

If you’re not familiar, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail basically parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway for a long stretch through Asheville. And if you’re not familiar with the Blue Ridge Parkway, lemme outsource this to Wikipedia:

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, which is America’s longest linear park, runs for 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs mostly along the spine of the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. Its southern terminus is at U.S. 441 on the boundary between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, from which it travels north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The roadway continues through Shenandoah as Skyline Drive, a similar scenic road which is managed by a different National Park Service unit. Both Skyline Drive and the Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway are part of Virginia State Route 48, though this designation is not signed.

The parkway has been the most visited unit of the National Park System every year since 1946 except four (1949, 2013, 2016 and 2019). Land on either side of the road is owned and maintained by the National Park Service, and in many places parkway land is bordered by United States Forest Service property.

Anyhoo, the hike pretty much paralleled the BRP.

At the Haw Creek Overlook

About 5 miles into this hike we came to the Haw Creek Overlook, which was a beautiful spot to sit and chat.

Leafy Brain (Phaeotremella foliacea)

This is a great common name for this fungus! This specimen was pretty big. Oh… and taking photos is one of the reasons I was so far behind the main group. These ladies don’t stop for nothing!

Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus)

Lots of stuff still to take photos of, too, including this cool euonymus fruit.

You can find out more about the Mountains-to-Sea Trail here. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.


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