National Forest Trail Sign
Typical Hawksbill Trail
Mountain Rhododendron
Typical Table Rock Trail

The second week of May 2018 my brother and I camped at the foot of Hawksbill Mountain. We hiked to the summit that day and the next day we drove south to hike to the summit of Table Rock Mountain. The campsite is popular with campers despite having no amenities or access to a water source. Because the camp site is close to the road where there is parking for hikers to the Hawksbill Summit the lack of amenities is not a problem. Previous campers have gathered rocks to build a fire pit and there are several clear areas to pitch tents. We stayed one night but the weather turned foul and we broke camp in the evening of the second day.

Note: Click on the pictures for a larger view or here to scroll through the photo gallery consisting of 51 photos plus 4 maps and 14 photos of flowers. The Photo Album will pop up in a separate window and there is a link at the bottom of the page in the navigation icon area to get back here but I suggest just closing that window. The link is provided for those who turned off allowing websites to open a separate window. These photos were taken with a PENTAX K-50 DSLR camera.
  • Brown Mountain Overlook View

    Heading north on SR181 you pass Hawksbill Mountain on the left. The video was taken from the Brown Mountain Overlook that is situated just off the road. Brown Mountain is part of the Brushy Mountain range which is an isolated "spur" separated from the Blue Ridge Mountains by the Yadkin River valley. Brown Mountain is on the right of SR181 and Hawksbill Mountain is on the left side approximately three miles away from the overlook.

  • The first time I shot the video from the overlook I thought Chestnut Mountain was Brown Mountain as it is the most prominent feature on that side of the overlook. After reading the information posted there I discovered this is one of the favorite spots to catch a glimpse of the Brown Mountain Lights, a series of ghost lights reported near Brown Mountain in North Carolina.

  • Hawksbill Campsite

    The campsite provides no amenities and the nearest water source is the Gingercake Creek about a mile away 570 feet below, north of the campsite. There are several cleared areas that previous campers built fire pits from rocks shown below. These two photos were taken from a snapshot within a video clip using a video editing program.

  • Because it had stormed the night before we selected this site which sheltered the fire pit from the rain. The fire pit was located under a rock outcropping. Unfortunately we neglected to bring firewood and the logs left behind were too wet to burn properly. My brother managed to get a fire going enough to cook a hobo meal I prepared for the trip but the chicken was slightly pink inside and the potatoes were still hard. I ate mine and survived but my brother elected to eat only the potatoes and carrots.

  • Hawksbill Summit

    The view from the summit. See my previous hiking and camping trip on Hawksbill Mountain that I took with my grandkids in 2017 for more photos of Hawksbill Mountain.

  • View from the Summit

    The 1.5-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain (elevation 4,009 ft.) has an amazing payoff with panoramic views of the canyon of Linville Gorge Wilderness Area - with the valley floor and Linville River 2,000 ft. below you.

  • Table Rock Summit Trail

    The next day we drove south to the parking lot of Table Rock Mountain. Although this trail is rated as ‘more difficult’ by the North Carolina Forest Service this trail sees a lot of day hiker traffic. Unfortunately morons vandalized the signs on the trail making it confusing if you never hiked this trail before. After this sign there are no other signs on the trail that remain intact.

    We noticed two hikers taking the trail at WP1 (see map below) to the right and followed them. After a while we lost sight of them and the trail became a narrow path at the foot of a cliff. This path turned out to be for mountain climbers to access the cliffs on the north ridge. We turned back at WP3 to WP1 and headed north to WP4 on the proper trail.

  • South Side Cliffs

    The cliff face on the Climbers Path rose approximately eighty feet on one side and dropped sharply away on the other. In places the path was only 4 foot wide and mostly rocky. The hardy Mountain Laurel grew everywhere even where the soil was a thin layer over rock bed as seen in the photo below.

  • Hanging Cliff Face

    This is a short video of the cliff face showing the overhang of tons of rock that overhang most of the climbers path trail. This was taken at WP3 where the trail was narrow. On this trail you had the cliff face towering over you on one side and a sheer drop off on the other.

  • View from the Summit

    The 2.2-mile roundtrip trail of Table Rock is a bit strenuous having some steep climbs but the views of Linville Gorge are spectacular from the 3930 foot peak.

  • Satellite Map

    This is a Google satellite map of the area including the forest roads. We drove south on FR210, which is a gravel road and very bumpy, approximately 1.5 miles before turning right on FR210B. After another 1.5 miles we turned right on the national forest road, which is paved, to the parking lot approximately another 1.5 miles.

  • Table Rock Summit Trail Map

    In the articles above I have indicated where photos were taken by the letters WP and the number which corresponds to the numbers in the yellow circles on the map to the left. The map to the left has several paths that have changed. There is now a short cut from WP1 and WP2 and I believe the climber path connects to the summit trail north of WP9. At WP4 the Little Table Rock Trail heads northwest and then east to FR210 at Spence Ridge 1.1 miles away. At WP5 the Table Rock Gap trail also heads north following the wilderness boundary for 1.2 miles before connecting to other trails which make up part of the Mountains to Sea Trail.

  • Garmin GPS Map

    Despite receiving data from up to 24 GPS and GLONASS satellites I found that the track recorded by my eTrex 10 GPS unit had some interesting results. The image to the left shows the Table Rock Climbers Path as tracked by the unit. This trail was approximately 4 feet wide at it widest yet the two paths (where we turned back on the same path) are shown to be at least 70 feet apart on the map. The steep cliff face proved to be difficult for the eTrex 10 to determine from satellite feeds where I was at the time it recorded the track. Oddly the waypoint information provides the correct coordinance of the path.