Revisiting the MST – FS816 to Skinny Dip Falls


As I’m writing my book Walking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail: a 1000 miles through North Carolina, I want and need to revisit certain places on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. And besides, that gives me a chance to hike.

So I went on the Carolina Mountain Club half-day hike yesterday. We hiked 5.3 miles from FS 816 to Looking Glass Rock Overlook, mostly downhill. Lots of changes from the last time I did it. Even before we hit the trail, we noticed changes.

The major change is that the Blue Ridge Parkway is not mowing the sides of the road. All the National Parks have suspended mowing since the death of a Parkway worker. The grass is lush and tall and will get taller while the Park Service reviews its procedures.

They are not allowing weed whacking on trails either. So the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will be harder to navigate through the summer. So please be understanding as you walk the trail. Our CMC volunteers will get to it as soon as we’re given the word that we can weed whack again.

MSTtoskinnydipfalls-kidsontrailNone of that was apparent on the section of the trail that we walked. It’s a rocky section. We started high off of FS 816 in Pisgah National Forest, admiring the view. See above.

A mother and two adventurous boys joined us. We rarely get children on any of our hikes, but there’s no reason that families can’t join us. They had fun, even though they probably would have wanted to go faster.MSTtoskinnydipfalls-falls

I told them that if they followed the white circles, they would eventually get to the ocean. I would see their imagination going.

The highlight was Skinny dip Falls. I have been there several times but for the first time, I had the time to look around, photograph and even take off my boots. That water is cold.


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