Photo Trip ReportI climbed Hawksbill Mountain with my son Andrew and my friend Rob and we used the Devil's Hole Trail for our approach. Using this approach requires a ford of the Linville River.
We were on a two night backpack in Linvlle Gorge. On Friday night we camped on the Linville Gorge Trail (LGT) just south of the Pinchin Trail. On Saturday morning we hiked the LGT and grabbed the first backcountry campsite north of the bridge at Spence Ridge.
We left our campsite at 3 PM to start what we estimated to be an 8 mile loop. We made it to the ford after about one hour.
We ascended Devil's Hole Trail to the junction with the Jonas Ridge Trail and took that to reach the trail to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain.
On our descent we attempted taking the Ledge trails to Spence Ridge Trail. This would eliminate the need to hike on the road to reach Spence Ridge. We ended up on the Hawksbill Mountain Climber's Trail and lost the trail where it petered out, so we retreated to the road.
It was getting late by the time we reached the road, and it was doubtful that we were going to make it back to camp before dark. There was a gentleman setting up camp at the nearby campsite and we asked him for a ride to the Spence Ridge Trailhead. He kindly took us, which saved us probably an hour. We descended Spence Ridge Trail, in the dark, back to the LGT and finished the quarter mile hike back to our campsite.
Helpful HintsSarcasm intended...
That trail that veers to the right where the Jonas Ridge Trail ends is NOT the Ledge Trail, but the Hawksbill Mountain Climber's Trail. You might want to make a note of that!
It's always a good idea to have your headlamp with you when you go on hikes late in the afternoon, in case things don't go as planned and you end up hiking in the dark. Having that extra light sure makes filtering water on the Spence Ridge Trail a lot easier. Just sayin'!
When you are descending Spence Ridge Trail and you see that sign that says "S Ridge", don't just walk by it. It really is the trail for Spence Ridge. Taking that right hand turn just may save you some time. Not that I have any experience making such a stupid mistake like that!