The Snake Mountain Trail easily makes the list for the top 5 best mountain hikes in North Carolina. Located in the Elk Knob Game Lands, the Snake Mountain ridge sports spectacular views in all directions from a trail that follows the very knife-edge crest of the ridge, passing over many rock outcrops and sometimes traveling mere inches from the edges of cliffs dozens of feet high. The hike to Snake Mountain is not for the average hiker due to the extremely steep ascent and the numerous technical scrambles along the ridge, but those who make it will be rewarded with some of the best views anywhere in the Southeast. The Sunalei Preserve and its homeowners must be commended for their willingness to allow public travel through the private property that the first part of the trail passes. This hike occurred on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017. My plan was to hike out and back along the Snake Mountain Trail over the North Peak and South Peak of Snake Mountain from the north trailhead off Meat Camp Road. Unfortunately, rain and fog ruined some of the views, but it still turned out to be a spectacular hike. This hike was the third of ten hikes that I did during a seven-day trip to the mountains of northwest North Carolina.
Update #4 12/20/17: Viewers hiked Snake Mountain on Saturday, December 2nd, and Tuesday, December 19th, and are pleased to report that there are NO “No Trespassing” signs or anything of the sort on the trail! This is great news - let’s keep our fingers crossed that the trail stays open with our help! The former parking area for the trail is gated - reportedly due to drug dealing going on in the parking area - but hikers are still free to park alongside the road at the trailhead (there is plenty of space to do so). The viewers reported seeing multiple people on their hikes to Snake Mountain, which suggests that there is continued public interest in the Snake Mountain hike. For now, you are free to hike the trail but please respect the private land and leave no trace.
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 468.7 Miles