We did Mt.Rogers last friday, it was a great trip, thanks to all on this board that gave advice.
Another question, the BRP Closure between Route 80 and Mt. Mitch made it hard to get from Boone to Mt. Mitchell. We ended up taking 80 north and made our way up a dirt road off of 197 through Dillingham and coming onto the parkway near Craggy Gardens. Are there any other, out of the way dirt roads that would have gotten us to Mitchell faster (more fun)? From the Mitchell tower I thought I saw a dirt road maked as an old rail bed south-east of the mountain.
I'm always looking for a fun way to get places, darn traditional detours!
You really took the scenic route. You almost circumnavigated the mountain. I have never driven that route because its way out of the way. The 2 roads from the South Toe River valley (Neals Creek and South Toe) are currently closed. They split short of the campground. Neals Creek goes straight up to the parkway and should be open in July. South Toe passes by campground, also going up to parkway, and is not scheduled to open until next summer. (The parkway south of NC 80 opened today which is easier then the dirt roads listed above.)
The parkway up on Humpback Mt/Chestoa View (just south of US 221) is closed until next spring at earliest. It must have really washed out, though the mountain is pretty steep heading up from 221 to Chestoa View. From north or west of mountain I suggest going to Asheville, out US 70 by the VA, to parkway then north to the Craggies and Mitchell. More scenic, but maybe more time is US19/19E to NC 80 to parkway and south to Mitchell. I was up a few weeks ago and it took about 45' from US 70 to SP entrance.
The RR grade you spied is in fact the old RR and later toll road. It was the grade for the RR line for Perley/Crockett, 2 lumbering bussinessmen form Williamsport Penn.Construction of the RR began in 1911 in Black Mt NC (down in I-40 east of Asheville.) and climbed the ridge around Grewybeard Mt and the Pinnacle to the parkway. It folowed the roadbed and just past the park entrance the grade went right and climbed the mountain. It made the 5800 contour about Camp Alice where it split. To the right it contoured around the mountain all the way to Maple Camp Bald (east of Balsam Cone). To the left it climbed to Steppes Gap (park office) and crossed so the other side of the ridge could be logged. Camp Alice was a logging camp, then a toursist camp run by the logging company.
After being denuded, and 4 years after Perley and Crockett halted logging operations, the RR grade then became a toll road in 1922, providing access to what had become a state park in 1915, with land aquisitions continuing for many years. The Weeks act spurred aquisition of land in the area beginning in 1914. The 2 men most resonsible for land aquisition were Gov Locke Graig (for whom Mt Craig is named) and John Holmes (state forester, and namesake of the Holmes State Educational Forest, overshadowed by the larger and better known du Pont SF. The logging RR from Black Mt to the parkway can be hiked and is the location of the marathon race in the spring. The grade that climbs from the parkway to Camp Alice and Maple Camp Bald is now the Buncombe Horse trail.
For reading suggest Mt Mitchell and the Black Mts by Timothy Silver and History of the Mt Mitchell and the Black Mts by Kent Schwarzkopf.
Blue Ridge Parkway North of Mount Mitchell Finally Reopens
May 13 2006, 10:01 PM
The Blue Ridge Parkway north of Mount Mitchell which had been closed because a landslide from a 2004 hurricane in finally open.
<!--more--> Entire Blue Ridge Parkway to open for first time since 2004
Myrtle Beach Sun News - Myrtle Beach,SC,USA
An 11-mile stretch from <strong>Mount </strong><strong>Mitchell </strong> State Park to NC Highway 80, closed since last November for tunnel repair and other modifications, is to be open by mid <strong>... </strong> See all stories on this topic
The closure of the bridge will result in bicyclists taking US 221 from Holloway Mt Rd to the Blowing Rock cutoff. The loop (from Boone to Blowing Rock around Grandfather and back to Boone)is a heavly used cycling route Although the elevation gain is less steep heading north on 221, the road is narrow and will be traffic filled. The 1.5 mile climb up the parkway from Sims Creek is brutal. Rode it 2 weeks ago.