Rumbling Bald Hike
Rutherford County, NC
Sunday, April 7th, 2013
Over a year ago Keith stumbled across my blog and emailed me about some waterfalls on Little Cove Creek that my buddy Andy and I had found. I volunteered to take him to visit these waterfalls. Over a year has passed and our schedules have never matched up.
I knew I wanted to get out hiking this past Sunday, and since Little Cove Creek in on NC Gamelands, it is best to plan to visit on a Sunday since hunting is not allowed. So I eMailed Keith to see if he was available.
It turned out that he already had a hike to Rumbling Bald planned with some of his buddies and asked if I wanted to join up. Rumbling Bald is one of my favorite mountains and it had been several years since my last hike there, so I eagerly accepted Keith's invitation! Charlie, Bob, and Kim would also be joining us on this hike!
Group Photo from the hike
L to R: Bob, Keith, Charlie, Me, Kim
I have always hiked Rumbling Bald the hard way which involves starting at the base and gaining over 2,000 feet in elevation over the first 1.5 miles. Partially because I enjoy a good work-out, but mostly because parking on the northern end is a bit sketchy.
Fortunately Keith knows one of the property owners at the north-west end so we would be able to park a vehicle there to begin our hike which would now be a mostly down-hill shuttle hike.
From the Shumont Road access where we began our hike it only took about 20 minutes to arrive at Eagle Rock which offers some spectacular views.
View from Eagle Rock looking at the Rumbling Bald Ridgeline we would hike
It is a bit of a scramble to get up and down from various parts of the rock. Nothing too difficult, but definitely not 100% safe! It is best not to try and scramble up and down these rocks on a solo hike!
Climbing down from Eagle Rock
Next up we took a side trail that leads to the summit of Shumont Mountain. Both Keith and I have been to the summit before and there are no views and not really anything to see. However, what intrigued us was an exposed rock area on the western side of the mountain that is clearly visible from Google Earth. We wanted to see if we could get there!
About half-way up to the summit of Shumont an obvious side trail heads off to the right. We followed that until it started turning to the east. From there it was a bit of trial and error, but mostly easy bushwhacking until we arrived at the exposed rock area. I am not sure if this has an official name, but I am calling it Shumont Rock.
The gang on Shumont Rock
We took a break here to enjoy the views before continuing our hike.
View from Shumont Rock
We could have easily back-tracked to the main trail, but the side trail we were on did start heading to the east which was the direction we wanted to go, so we followed it.
It soon fizzled out, but we were far enough along that we knew we would get the main trail if we just continued on to the east, so the bushwhacking began.
Bob and Kim on the Bushwhacking portion of our hike
There were some rocky areas, rhododendron, briers, and deadfall to navigate around, but for the most part it was fairly easy bushwhacking and before long we were back on the main trail.
From here the trail, which is actually a wide track old jeep road, follows the ridge line of Rumbling Bald Mountain. There are not many wide open views, but since most of the trees have not sprung their leaves yet, there are plenty of views to be had in all directions.
View from the trail looking back at Eagle Rock
While we were hiking mostly downhill, there were some uphill sections as there are three obvious humps along the Rumbling Bald Ridgeline.
This was definitely not a wildflower bonanza, but we did see a nice display of bloodroot, toadshade trillium, and several other common varieties that I failed to get any good photos of. I didn't bring my Macro Lens along so my wildflower photos were less than desirable.
Bloodroot blooming behind a toadshade trillium
One of the main highlights of the hike is Party Rock which offers what I believe to have the best overall view of Lake Lure. We took our last break of the day here to soak in the scenery!
Keith on Party Rock
Bob on Party Rock
Charlie and Kim on Party Rock
Not only do you get some great view of the lake, but also some nice views across the gorge of Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Falls.
Distant view across the gorge of Hickory Nut Falls
Due to the haze, this photo worked much better converted to Black and White
The last portion of the hike was all downhill. Most of the trail is actually drivable, and the parts that are not drivable, people still attempt to drive every now and then. However, even the most well equipped 4x4 would have a tough time getting through some of the rocky and badly eroded sections of this road! Here is what happened to one truck that attempted to drive up Rumbling Bald!
The weather was absolutely perfect for hiking! And it was great to meet and hike with Keith, Charlie, Bob, and Kim!
The complete set of photos is posted here