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CHALLENGE: Hike to Blue Ridge Pastures on the Trombatore Trail
Primary Route: Hike the new Trombatore Trail through the Upper Brush Creek watershed and along the Eastern Continental Divide to the scenic summit of Blue Ridge Pastures.
Hiking Distance: 5.0 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Trailhead: Click here to enter your address and receive turn-by-turn directions to the trailhead. GPS users may enter N35.4607, W-82.3681 in their units. Trailhead is at Bearwallow Gap, located at the crest of Bearwallow Mountain Road where the pavement turns to gravel. Once at the trailhead, park on the shoulder of the road making sure not to block the gate or the road. Space is available for only a few cars at this trailhead, so multiple hikers should consider carpooling. Trail begins on the west side of the road, opposite the metal gate. A log staircase climbs briefly to a trailhead kiosk, marking the start of the trail.
Hiking Directions: After climbing the log steps and passing the trailhead kiosk on the left, continue along the trail and descend moderately into the Upper Brush Creek drainage. The trail switchbacks four times as it descends. Shortly beyond the fourth switchback at 0.4 mi., pass a unique tree on the left as the trail curves into the center of the drainage. The seemingly-artistic curve of the tree's trunk resembles a pig's tail. Only 100 yards beyond, the trail passes another interesting tree--this time looking below and to the right--that represents the largest tree on the entire property. Its many burls suggest that it was left by loggers from previous timbering of the tract and now stands more than 100 feet tall and likely surpasses 150 years in age. At 1.1 mi., the single-track trail junctions with a grassy woods road. Turn right and follow the road uphill to two more junctions at 1.3 mi. and 1.4 mi. Go left at both, following the temporary signage in place. Arrive at two more junctions--at 1.5 mi. and 1.7 mi. Continue straight at both by taking the uphill route at each intersection.Another junction is reached at 1.9 mi. in a small gap. Here, follow temporary signs and turn left onto a single-track foot trail. This trail segment is brief, and the route rejoins the woods road about 150 yards later at 2.0 mi. At 2.1 mi., junction for the final time with a woods road. Turn left and cross over a small rivulet draining a spring. Immediately beyond lies a rockpile marking the ruins of a former cabin site on the right. Beyond the stone foundation remains, a single track trail climbs moderately up the mountain and reaches the edge of a meadow at 2.4 mi. Cross over a barbed wire fence using a wooden stile, veer left and follow pink ribbons marling the route toward the summit. Arrive at the top of Blue Ridge Pastures at 2.5 mi. and enjoy a breathtaking view of the Hickory Nut Gorge, including Bearwallow Mountain, Florence Nature Preserve, and Wildcat Rock. On a clear day, Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountains are visible to the north.