Just to have up to date info. There is an official trail to the summit, both from the south and north. We climbed from 197, and it's a real steep hike, gaining 1200 feet in the first 1.2 miles, and close to 2,000 overall feet for the out and back from that location. Once you gain the ridge, however, there are some enormous trees and really awesome high country glens. Surprisingly, there aren't many spruce or balsams this high up. Not much of a view at the top, but still an awesome hike and views of Mitchell on the way up. Should be counted in the southern sixers just as an honorary inclusion. Great mountain.
Hiked up the Big Butt Trail from NC Hwy 197. It's quite an ascent with lots of switchbacks near the road. The unofficial trail to the summit is well maintained and easy to follow. There was lots of frozen fog plastered to the vegetation when I was up there.
There is no official trail to the summit, but a few humans and some bears keep a faint path to the top open. (I'm not kidding about the bears.)