Western North Carolina Hiking: Albert Mountain & Pickens Nose
By Elizabeth Hart
The Great Smokey Mountains provide great hiking trails of all difficulties. A common attraction winding from Georgia to Maine is the Appalachian Trail (AT). For those not ready to attack the multi-day (more like multi-month!) AT, there are great trails that intersect or follow the AT briefly that make for great day hikes!
During my last trip to Otto, NC I got the itch to do a day hike, or two. After reviewing maps of hiking trails my buddy and I decided to venture out to Albert Mountain and Pickens Nose. These two trails were the perfect combination hike for a relaxed afternoon of hiking!
Be sure you have proper hiking clothing and equipment before setting off on an adventure like this!
Important Clothing Features:
Albert Mountain, NC
Easy Hiking, Beautiful View!
Albert Mountain, NC is a rewarding little hike in the Natahala National Forest, just west of Franklin, NC. The hike to the top is approximately 0.2 miles of the AT from the parking area, but the summit sits just about 5,000 ft. The winding drive up the mountain is breathtaking - because of both the beautiful mountain views and the narrow, gravel, one-lane forest service road. Park in the dirt parking lot and begin a short jaunt to the summit. Enjoy the breathtaking views, and for the daring, climb the secured firetower for an even more impressive view!
To increase the length and skill level of this trail, park further down the mountain where the road intersects the AT. Once you arrive at the fire tower you can either turn around or continue on the AT. According to my hiking buddy, from atop Albert Mountain, you can see three states!
From the Summit of Albert Mountain:
Pickens Nose, NC
Easy Hiking, Daring Rock Outcroppings!
Picken Nose, NC is a similar hike to the Albert Mountain. The roundtrip hike to the 5,000 ft summit and back to the trailhead is just over a mile (1.4 mi). This trail follows the mountain ridge, and side excusions to incredible rock outcroppings provide spectacular views! These rock outcroppings provide a perfect setting for an afternoon picnic!