If you read my post last week then you know that Kyle and I took a Weekend Getaway to the Tri-Cities Tennessee. I always like to take mini-vacations whenever possible. One of the main reasons I wanted to go to the Tri-Cities area was to hike the Hawksbill Mountain Trail in the Linville Gorge Wilderness. My co-worker told me about this hike and, after looking at the gorgeous pictures on Google, I knew I had to go check it out for myself. There are so many awesome hikes outside of Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that I have yet to experience, so I’m glad I got to check this one off the list.
The Hawksbill Mountain Trailhead is about a 3 hour drive from Knoxville and is part of the Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. You could make it a day trip if you wanted, but I prefer not to drive that much in a day. The trail is about 2 miles round trip. It is a good hike for the whole family, doggies included.
Hiking the Hawksbill Mountain Trail in the Linville Gorge Wilderness
To be honest, the first half of the hike was kind of… well, boring. It was flat and easy to hike.
There was a ton of coverage from the sun because of all the trees. So, that was nice. It was still super humid, though. (That’s what happens when you hike in the middle of summer.)
Maybe halfway through the trail, there is an opening with a really nice overlook.
That’s when I started digging the hike.
Alright, after this part the hike starts to get slightly more difficult, but not bad.
Until you get to the sign that says “Hawksbill” with an arrow pointing to the left.
Then it gets bad.
I’ll get to that in a minute.
Kyle read online that the “best views” were to the right. So, we went the opposite way on the trail, leading to who knows where. I didn’t see any good views that direction. All I saw were a ton of flying insects. We walked on this trail for about five minutes before turning around and heading the correct way.
Ok, so we pass the sign, and continue the correct way on the trail. Then the trail becomes very steep. You basically climb up rocks the last third of the trail until you reach the top.
Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But it was steep.
And, I don’t know what it was, maybe a mental thing, but I was huffing and puffing to try to get to the top. The idea of an easy, 2 mile hike made me think I wouldn’t have to push myself as hard as I did. I hiked the entire 8 mile Ramsey Cascades Trail with no problem. How bad could 2 miles be? Well, it was rough. But 100% worth it.
Just look at the views!
We sat at the top of Hawksbill Mountain for a while, enjoying the breathtaking views.
I also recently purchased a new camera body, a Nikon D750, so I was going picture crazy on my first outing with the new camera.
This is when the story gets a little crazy. We kept hearing thunder, on and off, throughout the hike. We happened to turn around and see a HUGE black cloud rolling in. So, of course, we flipped the F out and started RUNNING down the mountain. First of all, I didn’t want to get my camera soaked. I just bought it and had nothing to protect it with. Secondly, I didn’t want to get struck by lightning, and being on top of a mountain is not the best place to be during a storm.
So, we ran like two crazy people down the mountain.
And it didn’t rain. At all. Not even a drop.
I guess the moral of the story is to check the weather before you hike to the top of a mountain.
The Hawksbill Mountain Trail in the Linville Gorge Wilderness is one of my new favorite day hikes. The short 2 mile hike definitely rewards you with AMAZING views. I would hike this trail again, just on a cooler, clearer day. (With a zero percent chance of storms.) I’d highly recommend this hike!
I’d love to hear from you about some of your favorite day hikes in and around the Knoxville, TN area. Also, I’m looking forward to sharing my next post about my favorite local cidery, Gypsy Circus! Don’t forget- you can sign up for my email list to receive weekly emails when I have a new post!