Catch a glimpse of early fall colors by joining NC High Peaks as it leads two hikes on Friday, Oct. 7 – one long and hard and the other a bit easier. Both outings should offer stunning views.

The long hike of 8 miles is rated as extremely strenuous and will take hikers from Mt. Mitchell State Park down the Buncombe Horse Range Trail to Rock Creek in the South Toe River Valley. The easier hike of about 4 miles will follow the Appalachian Trail from Spivey Gap up to High Rocks.

Hikers for the long hike should meet at the intersection of A.J. Simmons and Rock Creek Roads at 8:30 a.m. They will be taken from there in a Yancey Transportation van up to Mt. Mitchell for a $5 donation. No dogs are allowed on the vans.

Bring warm clothes, rain gear, hiking poles, lunch, snacks and plenty of water. The group will follow an old railroad grade beneath the Mt. Mitchell summit for the first several miles, then descend steeply into the valley. This hike is not for novices!

Hikers for the shorter excursion should meet at 8:30 a.m. in the Rose’s Shopping Center parking lot on the corner overlooking US 19E, where they will form carpools to drive to Spivey Gap. The hike is rated as moderate although it will climb about 1,000 feet in elevation to High Rocks. Bring lunch, water, snacks, warm clothes, rain gear and hiking poles if you use them. Leashed dogs are allowed on this hike.

Hikers on both outings should wear bright colors, preferably blaze orange, as hunting season is underway.

To reserve a seat on the van for the long hike, contact Hike Leader Dennis Smith at 828-284-4000 or For the shorter hike, contact Hike Leader John Whitehouse at 828-682-3217 or Both hike leaders need a head-count, so you must contact them if you plan to hike.

As always, check the High Peaks Facebook page or website,, for last-minute changes due to weather.

Photo Info: Hikers should get great views on either of the two High Peaks hikes set for Friday, Oct. 7.

View at Maple Camp Bald