The Pinnacle and Blackrock Mountain Pinnacle Park, NC
miles
LENGTH 10 MILES
DIFFICULTY 27.8 Hard
DURATION 5-6 hours
ELEVATION GAIN
3230
feet
TRAIL TYPE
Loop
The Pinnacle and Blackrock Mountain

Reap the rewards of two amazing near 360° views on this challenging 10 mile hike at Pinnacle Park just south of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Sylva, North Carolina. Steep hills and rocky terrain won't keep you from soaking up a couple of the best views in the southeast, but prepare for a workout.

Park at the end of Fisher Creek road. A moderate size lot can get crowded on the weekends. Make sure to mind the no parking signs to leave room for bus and emergency vehicle turnarounds. Parking is free, but make sure to fill out the permit information and leave it in the drop box before you head out.

The way this page describes the hike, we'll be taking the West Fork Trail up to The Pinnacle, doubling back to Blackrock Mountain, then finishing out the loop down the East Fork Trail. Mix it up and take the East Fork on the way up for a different experience if you feel so inclined.

Begin the hike by heading around the metal gate and heading up the extremely rocky old road bed. You'll pass a few smaller side trails, following the purple and gold blazes at intersections. Major intersections also have signs. Take the West Fork at the intersection, passing a large boulder with a massive crack on the way. The rocky nature of this section of the trail combined with the 1700 feet of elevation gain makes the going slow.

At 1.9 miles, turn left to take the 2.7 mile round-trip trail to the Pinnacle. Drop down through a rhododendron thicket before arriving at the Pinnacle. Climb out onto the elevated rock formation to take in views in all directions.

Backtracking to the previous intersection, follow the signs for Blackrock Mountain, passing the second intersection with the East Fork Trail. At 6 miles a sign takes you off the road bed, heading straight up to the ridge. This is by far the most difficult section of the hike, both up and down. You'll climb almost 700 feet in less than half a mile. The steepest section rises at a steep 1700 feet per mile rate.

There is some re-routing work being done and the trail is less defined in some places. Make sure to look for branches blocking side trails. A couple places the trail looks like it goes around both sides of large rock formations, but look for the purple and gold blazes on the rock overhead. The first goes under the rock steeply downhill to the left then right back up. The second will be on the right side. This is the summit. Go under the rock, then loop around to the left to climb up on it.

From the summit, you'll have massive near 360° views. Take a break and soak up the view and the sun, because the way down is just as treacherous, if not more so. Loose rocks, mud, and leaves make the steep descents from Blackrock Mountain and down the East Fork Trail difficult, so take your time. The first half of the East Fork Trail is easy with few rocks and a gentle slope. The lower half is a different story, with additional challenges like crawling over, under, and around trees and rocks.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length10 miles
difficulty27.8 Hard
duration5 - 6 hours
trail typeLoop
blazePurple and Gold
elevation gain3230 ft.
park/forestPinnacle Park
visitor infoSylva Parks and Recreation
828-586-2719
parking feeNone (Donations Welcome)
trailhead coordinates 35.422717, -83.19121 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°25.36, W 83°11.47 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°25'22'', N 35°25'22'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
35.422717, -83.19121 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°25.36, W 83°11.47 most GPS units use this one
N 35°25'22'', N 35°25'22'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
The parking lot is at the end of Fisher Creek Road. The trail begin behind the metal gate. Make sure to fill out a permit before heading up the trail.
Parking Capacity
12-15 vehicles. Do not park past the posted signs to leave room for bus and emergency vehicle turnarounds.
Notes
Make sure to fill out a permit before heading up the trail.
This hike is very rocky, especially the West Fork Trail, to the point where there are sections that every step is on loose rock or at an angle.
There are several steep sections that make going downhill difficult, especially if wet or covered in leaves. Take your time.
When climbing up to the Pinnacle, the summit of Blackrock Mountain and along the ridgeline near it, caution needs to be taken around the sheer drop-offs that would most certainly result in not having a good time. Watch children closely.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (1)
hikethesouth-1 week ago
Epic Is About Right
Bag two amazing views from the Pinnacle and the summit of Blackrock Mountain on this tough day hike loop. The trail is rocky, steep, and lacks some direction near the top. And it's 100 percent worth it. These views will be hard to beat.
Hard | Hiked Fall 2018
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