Hickory Branch Falls and Buckeye Knob
Mackey Mountain Area of the Pisgah National Forest
Dayhike with Andy, Bob, Andy #2 (Bob’s Son), Joel, and Boone
Near Old Fort, NC
Sunday, April 26th, 2009
Photos are posted here:
With the beautiful weather forecast, I was definitely going hiking this weekend. What the heck, I’ll go hiking both days!
Andy suggested some hike possibilities in the Mackey Mountain area. I have never even heard of this area, much less hiked it. So even though it was a little further than I normally like to drive for a day hike, I jumped at the chance to explore some new territory.
We agreed to meet up at the Wal-Mart in Marion, NC. As usual, I was early, but what really surprised me was that Andy was early as well! Of course he was traveling with Bob, which I am sure had something to do with Andy’s early arrival.
Joel arrived right on time. We combined into (2) vehicles and we made the short drive to the trailhead. Along the way we made several detours to scope out some potential areas to drop off one of the vehicles for a shuttle hike. We could not find a spot that wasn’t posted “no trespassing” so we decided to settle for an out and back hike from the Curtis Creek Campground.
We took the Hickory Branch Trail, which was loaded with a spectacular display of wildflowers. This well maintained trail climbs about 900-ft over about 2-miles. It passes by two “better than I expected” waterfalls along with several other smaller cascades. There are several creek crossings, but they can all be rock-hopped without getting your feet wet.
Once the trail starts climbing away from the creek, there are a couple of nice views, but no spectacular vistas.
The Hickory Branch Trail ends at a T-Intersection where we took a break for lunch. Joel and Andy#2 were not up for any more climbs, and elected to stay behind and take naps while Bob, Andy, Boone, and I did some more exploring.
Andy wanted to check out Mackey Creek. I was a little concerned since my map did not show a trail heading down that way. But, Andy’s much more detailed map did, so we decided to go with Andy’s map.
There was definitely some sort of trail that we started on, but it obviously is not maintained. Lots of deadfall made it very easy to loose the trail. The further down we went, the less obvious the trail became until we eventually completely lost it.
We knew that we would eventually hit the trail alongside Mackey Creek if we continued bushwhacking downhill, but this did not sound appealing to any of us, so we decided to turn back.
Somewhere during our return bushwhack I was viciously attacked by a downed tree and my leg was bleeding in three different places. Fortunately none of the cuts were deep enough to cause any major issues, so we continued on.
There was still some time left, so we decided to climb Buckeye Knob. Andy mentioned that this trail might also be a bushwhack, but it turned out to be in much better condition than we expected.
Buckeye Knob turns out to be a PUD (pointless up and down). There is somewhat of a view through the trees, but nothing that would make me recommend it as a must see destination.
The return hike went much quicker as it was all downhill and we didn’t stop to take anywhere near the number of photos we took on the way up.
Photos from our hike are posted here: