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Winter backpacking Big Scaly Mountain

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Big Scaly Mountain, NC
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Mar 6 2021  9:30 am >> Sun, Mar 7 2021 2:00 pm
Registration Opens: Thu, Feb 25 2021 6:30 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Mar 5 2021 10:00 am
Event Duration:1 Days 4 Hours 30 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult (Exploratory)
Distance:11 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Bob Bunner
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 9 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

Note: This is an "EXPLORATORY" trip. This means that there are parts of this trip, or perhaps the whole trip, that is new to your Trip Leader(s). However, they are confident that this will not be an issue.
This note is here so that you can make an informed decision. When a Trip Leader isn't personally familiar with a trip, there is an increased chance of things not going as planned and you need to be prepared. The Trip Leader may have additional details in the itinerary.


Big Scaly is the mountain just below Standing Indian.  This backpack is a loop of about 11 miles and has about roughly 2,500 feet of elevation.  If you have not completed a D5 hike or backpack recently, expect to have some conversation with the trip leaders prior to the event. 

We will start by crossing Scaly Ridge and then go down to Beech Creek (be prepared....could be a "wet foot" crossing!). We will follow the creek up scenic Beech Creek Gorge and start up the switchbacks under the cliffs of Big Scaly Mountain. We will take the quarter mile side trail to view the 200 foot High Falls.

Once we reach the top of the cliffs (4-5 miles in and 2000 ft in elevation gain), we will select a campsite along the high flat valley below Big Scaly Mountain along the approach to Case Knife Gap. There is a nice small creek running through the area for a water source.  After setting up camp we gather wood for a fire, prepare water and then hike about .5 mile to the summit of Big Scaly Mountain at 5,060 feet for the sunset and enjoy long range views. We can have dinner before or after sunset. 

On Sunday we'll get up, may do a short hike to the AT and south face of Standing Indian Mountain, then we break camp around 10:00 and continue down Chimney Rock trail. There is an optional quarter mile side trail to the left to view Chimney Rock.  You can climb Chimney Rock and enjoy the unusual view.

Then we go down to end of the road we parked on. We will walk about a mile down this road to get back to the cars .

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT A BEGINNER BACKPACK *** You must be in good physical condition and be able to hike long distances and keep a moderate pace. ***

(Thanks goes to Scott Kozlowski for this original write-up) 

Required Items to Bring:

Sleeping Bag/Sleeping pad
Appropriate clothing for winter camping conditions
At least 2 L of water and/or sports drink
Good hiking boots/shoes
Meals (lunch, dinner, breakfast, snacks)
Cash for the carpool
Rain gear, just in case

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Hiking pole or poles
Water filter

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Take I-85 N to I-985 N which turns into US 23/441 to Clayton GA. Pit stop at Chik Fil A! (For bathrooms and "to go" only - we do not plan to sit down and eat.)  Then go West on US 76 about eight miles. Turn right on Persimmon Rd, near the volunteer fire department and sign for Tallulah River Campgrounds. Continue about 4.2 miles to left at Tallulah River Rd. This road will turn to gravel after a mile or so and leads thru gorge to Tate City. Follow to NC state line. Trailhead parking will come up soon on the left.

(34.9954, -83.5553)



* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.