- Pressley Cove : 1.1
- FR #5098: .2
- Black Mountain: 5.1
- Buckwheat Knob: 1.5
- Bennett Gap: 2.9
Total Distance 10.8 miles (per map)
Total Elevation Gain: 3162′
This is a very hard hike. What makes it hard is the elevation gain … going down hill … and having to re-climb the same 500 feet … over and over. In my opinion, it is easier to hike counter-clockwise. You climb a lot of the elevation early in the hike while you are still fresh. We’ve hiked it clockwise, but that way, 2/3 of the hike is uphill.
The Pressley Cove trailhead is approximately 2 miles on the right on Forest Service Road #477 after you turn off Highway 276 from Brevard. Take a right where Pressley Cove trail intersects FR#5098 and walk .2 mile to Pressley Gap. Take a left on Black Mountain trail. Hike 3 miles to the Buckhorn Gap shelter. Continue for 2.1 miles to Club Gap.
At Club Gap, take the Buckwheat Knob trail (1.5 miles) to Bennett Gap trail. You will remain on Bennett Gap trail for 2.9 miles back to where you started the hike.
This trail is popular with mountain bikers. It is best hiked during the late fall, winter and early spring (cooler) months for several reasons. This trail is popular with mountain bikers and there will be a lot less bikers during the icy months. The second reason is that the leaves are off the trees and you can see further. There are nice views of “Looking Glass” mountain that you can’t see from any road.
Take plenty of water and some food. You will need it!