Current Conditions in the Highcountry

It’s downright nasty outside this weekend as a full-on winter storm bears down across the Cumberlands and rest of the Appalachian chain. If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, though, you’re probably less interested in the weather forecast for your town and more interested in what’s going on across the higher elevations. After all, official weather forecasts…

Breaks Interstate Park Trails

It’s not a stretch to claim that the Breaks Interstate Park, located between Haysi, Virginia and Elkhorn City, Kentucky, is one of the most unique state parks in the eastern United States. The Breaks (as locals call it) is one of the few state parks anywhere in the nation that straddles two states – hence…

Pine Mountain Trail (Pound Gap to Raven’s Nest and Austin Gap)

Length/Type: Approximately 1.6 miles one-way, out-and-back; Difficulty: Moderate (some moderately steep but short climbs, poor footing in several stretches); Other Considerations: Access issues and a lack of reliable parking information are a challenge at the trailhead – see parking considerations in the introduction of this post. A detailed trail map is available via the park’s website. The 44 mile-long Pine Mountain…

Little Hump Mountain via Hampton Creek Cove (NC/TN)

Distance: Approximately 5.5 miles one-way; Difficulty: Strenuous (long, sustained climbs; occasionally harsh, high-elevation weather conditions; nearly 3000-foot elevation gain); Other considerations: see more info on the hike and natural area (prior to the AT junction) here and plan your trip carefully using information from a variety of sources. We occasionally feature hikes outside of the immediate…

Appalachian Trail (Walker Gap to Chestnut Ridge)

Length/Type: Approximately 3.15 miles one-way, out-and-back; Difficulty: Strenuous (some steep grades, travel in isolated areas, and difficult access at the trailhead); Other Considerations: Please see the information in the directions at the bottom of this post about vehicle access at Walker Gap. If you’re from Southwest Virginia, you’ve probably heard of Burke’s Garden. Chances are high, in fact,…

Viewing the Cumberlands at High Knob Tower

This post isn’t necessarily a hike summary, but it still features one of the Cumberland Mountains’ must-see sites: High Knob. “The Knob,” as locals often refer to it, is the highest point in the Cumberland Mountains at 4,223 feet above sea level and is a towering peak on the longer ridge of Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain…

Pine Mountain Trail (Pound Gap to Twin Cliffs Overlook)

Length/Type: Approximately 2.2 miles one-way, out-and-back; Difficulty: Moderate (some moderately steep but short climbs, poor footing in several stretches); Other Considerations: See parking considerations in the directions at the end of this post. A detailed trail map is available via the park’s website. The 44-mile long Pine Mountain Trail is paradoxically one of the central Appalachians’ most scenic and underused long-distance…