High Peaks Tackles Big Butt Trail on Saturday, Sept. 7

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With the Blue Ridge Parkway now open again, the High Peaks Trail Association will lead a strenuous hike Sept. 7 down the Big Butt Trail from Balsam Gap on the Parkway to Cane River Gap. This 5.6-mile trek descends about 1,500 feet, but also has a few significant climbs, including a long stairway up Little Butt. The climb is worth the effort, though, for the spectacular view of the Black Mountain chain from Little Butt.

Hikers will meet at the Burnsville Town Square at 8:30 a.m. We will provide transportation in a county van for a fee of $5 per rider, but ask that you RSVP the hike leader ahead of time to reserve your seat in the van. Leashed dogs are welcome on the hike, but dogs are not allowed on county vans so if you bring your canine friend you’ll have to provide your own transportation.

Bring your own lunch, snacks and plenty of water. It’s probably a good idea to bring rain gear, too, just in case.

Hikers choosing to drive to the trailhead should meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Balsam Gap/Walker Knob parking area near MM 360 on the Parkway and wait for the van’s arrival. The hike is one-way down to Cane River Gap, so if you meet us there you’ll need to arrange your own transportation back to Balsam Gap. An alternative would be to hike 3 miles to Little Butt and then return to Balsam Gap instead of continuing with the main group down to Cane River Gap.

The main group will be met by the county van at Cane River Gap for a return ride to the Town Square, arriving there around 3:30 p.m.

For more information or to RSVP and reserve your spot in the van, contact hike leader Mike Williams at mikew3000@gmail.com or 675-9384.