Graybeard Mountain Trail

A must-do trail run in the Montreat Wilderness.

Trail Running Difficult

Distance
15 km
Ascent
727 m
Descent
727 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
926 m
High Point
1.6 km
Gradient
10˚
Graybeard Mountain Trail Map

Just a short drive from Asheville, this summit run is a must-do for anyone visiting the region. On the way up, the trail passes Graybeard Falls, Walden's Rock, and Walker's Knob—all excellent destinations for those looking for something shorter.

Description

Tucked behind Montreat College is a small trailhead along Graybeard Mountain Road with parking for a dozen cars at most. Look for the kiosk at the trailhead and follow the blue diamond blazes across the wooden bridge to begin your run. The first mile is very challenging, with plenty of rocks and roots defining the way. Know that after rain, there are multiple points where you could get your feet wet.

Making your way to the summit of Graybeard Mountain, keep left at the junction with the unmarked doubletrack. Following the blue blazes left at the intersection; the Graybeard Mountain Trail merges onto a former railroad grade that leads uphill for the next couple of miles.

This segment is considerably easier than the first mile and offers some partial views to the valley below. Along the grade, look for a spur trail leading to the quaint Graybeard Falls. On a hot summer day, take the opportunity to cool off in this year-round waterfall.

Ahead on the trail, you'll trade in the old railroad grade for rugged singletrack as you approach Walker's Knob Shelter. A short, blazed spur leads to a phenomenal nearby overlook.

Continuing your climb, a final trail intersection separates you from the summit. The West Ridge Trail leads south and warns that the path is not a shortcut back to the parking lot. Despite its distance, this trail is extremely rugged, challenging, and reserved for the most adventurous trail runners.

Up the Graybeard Mountain Trail, you'll be welcomed with a challenging and rocky final approach. The summit, a clearing no bigger than a small room, rewards you with some incredible views of Mount Mitchell. Even on a foggy or cloudy day, the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains offer a phenomenal, picturesque backdrop.

Difficulty

Difficult

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area