Trombatore Trail Details
Difficulty: Moderate Difficult
Length: 5 miles round trip
Region: Hickory Nut Gap
Duration of hike: 3.5 Hours
Elevation gain: 1,200 Feet
Type: Out & Back
Facilities & Parking: Parking on the side of the road; no facilities available
Features: Pet Friendly, Views
An introduction to Hickory Nut Gap
Steep wooded slopes, mountain creeks, open fields and long-range views: this trail has a little bit of every type of terrain that you'd find in the Hickory Nut Gap area.
Since the trail is new (completed in 2014) and not well known, you’re unlikely to have to share the payoff view at the summit with other hikers.
What To Expect
From the parking area, enter the woods on the right side of Bearwallow Mountain Road for the start of the Trombatore Trail, which is marked with a sign. The trail starts with a descent into a fairly densely wooded area, following a series of switchbacks. The heavy canopy keeps this area shaded in the summer and there are an impressive variety of wildflowers in the spring. Upper Brush Creek trickles down through the hollow. You’ll also pass some interesting old stack-stone walls.
Once you reach the bottom of the hollow (about half a mile), you’ll start climbing fairly steeply again, and get some nice views of the exposed cliffs of Face Rock back in the direction you came from.
When you’ve climbed back out of the hollow, you’ll be on an old logging road for a short time before the trail begins to climb again. Finally, you’ll reach a barbed wire fence with a small stair to climb to enter the open field of Blue Ridge Pastures. Cross the pasture to a log seating area.
You’ll have worked up an appetite at this point, so consider bringing a picnic. From here, you’ll be able to see Hickory Nut Gorge and the Craggy Mountains and Black Mountains in the distance.
The pasture is under an easement with Conserving Carolina, the organization that developed the trail, so this view will be preserved permanently.
On the wooded section of the path, you’ll pass a 150-year old tree that was somehow spared the fate of all the other trees that were logged on this slope in the nineteenth century.
From downtown Asheville, take I-240 to US-74 Alt East toward Bat Cave. Stay on US-74 Alt for about 12.5 miles. When you reach the town of Gerton (after a series of curves in the road), turn right onto Bearwallow Mountain Road, which is a residential area at the bottom. Continue for 2.1 miles up this road, which will turn to gravel and become steeper as you climb. When you reach the top, you’ll see a metal gate on the left, which is at the entrance to the trail. The road is paved again at the top and you can park on the left or right side of the road. Rather than go to the Bearwallow Mountain trail on the left, enter the woods on the right side of Bearwallow Mountain Road for the start of the Trombatore Trail.
Photo by Jason Tarr of ExploreAsheville.com.