- Distance: 4.2 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 1300 ft.
- Difficulty: Strenuous (very steep)
Around 1890, the Shut-In trail was created by George W. Vanderbilt to link his Biltmore home with his hunting and outdoor lodge at Buck Springs (Near the current Pisgah Inn). While many think of this trail as following the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s actually the other way around, since the parkway wasn’t built until the 1930’s. Since it does parallel the parkway, it has a certain benefits, not the least of which is you’re never very far from help. It follows the series of ridge lines from the French Broad (mile marker 393.5) at about 2,000 ft. elevation to the Pisgah Inn (mile marker 408). I’ve divided it into several smaller hikes because it’s an easy drop-off, and pick-up by car by your friends who want to remain car bound.
Some of our Elk Pasture Gap Hikes:
Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My! Today, I ran up on some really fresh bear scat. It was actually fairly large. This trail is fairly heavily traveled, so bears don’t usually hang around. I never heard him so I guess he was long gone. So, I kept on going without letting it bother me.
We caught the timing right to see the bluets! Their seeds wash into rock crevices and the sides of the trail where they are caught by brush and plants. They are one of my very favorite wildflowers. Their blooms are no larger than a dime and look like little blue stars.
It was another beautiful day on the ridge. The sun dappled thru the trees and it got a little warm. The ferns were so large, they looked like they belonged in a Jurassic Park movie.
Today Phil took another Friday off and we hiked a new section of the Mountains to the Sea Trail. This section merged with the Shut-In Trail where we began at the Pisgah Mountain Trail parking lot and headed north. The trail immediately started up, gaining 300′ feet of elevation in just a few hundred yards. … Continue reading Shut-In Trail: Pisgah to Elk Pasture Gap