4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
This route is a local favorite, with several options to shorten or lengthen the hike.
A small parking area at the end of Fisher Creek road serves as the primary trailhead.
This tract of land, formerly used as a watershed, was leased in order to develop the now popular hiking trails at Pinnacle Park.
The loop is formed using the West Fork and East Fork Trails, with two out-and-back sections to the picturesque overlooks.
For a warm up, the Bridge Loop is a great option that starts and ends in at the trailhead. Beginning up the road, stay left at the fork to continue to the first landmark, Split Rock.
This large bolder is a great spot for a picture and only a short trek from the trailhead. As you continue climbing up the doubletrack trail, you will reach an intersection denoting the spur that takes you to the Pinnacle.
Turning left, you will soon reach a small clearing that is occasionally used as a campsite.
Don't let the dead end fool you, though—if you continue a couple hundred feet along the singletrack trail, you will find yourself stepping onto a rocky outcropping with some astonishing views of the valley below.
The town of Sylva can be seen in the distance.
Retracing your steps, head back to the intersection and stay left to continue towards Blackrock Mountain.
The doubletrack trail will soon reach another intersection where you turn left to climb a tight stretch of tight singletrack to the summit.
As a contrast to the rest of the route, this stretch can be quite steep and harder to navigate.
No blazes denote the path. As the trail levels out, you'll encounter some large, craggy high points, and eventually the summit of Blackrock Mountain.
While there are a handful of partial overlooks along this segment, the rock stands tall above the surrounding tree line and offers astounding views of the surrounding Pisgah National Forest.
The more adventurous can continue down the trail for another two miles to reach Waterrock Knob and the adjacent Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center.
This developed summit is frequented by travelers and is a challenging addition to this loop.
While it is possible to access this loop from the Parkway, very few people do. Returning back the way you came, you will reach the doubletrack trail where you will keep right until the intersection of the East Fork Trail.
The descent has a mellow start but steepens the further you go.
The trail takes a sharp right where the doubletrack gives way to singletrack.
The final stretch parallels a runoff that helps form Fisher Creek.
To finish up your day, head into Sylva and check out the local restaurants and brewery.
The town serves as an excellent hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Sources: https://sylvanc.govoffice3.com/index.asp?SEC=59398704-3D1C-4144-AF73-E21526AB2848&DE=1D99337D-C91A-456B-9BCF-3EF714EC9EE6