Three hours and forty five minutes from the parking area in Celo. The Black Mountain Crest Trail is a high meadow walk between Celo Knob and Gibbs but between Winter Star and Gibbs it was a lot more interesting. The ice storm they had the previous week had left several thousand ice chunks in many places, which along with the leftover sheet ice and snow made microspikes a necessity for a safe transit of the trail. There was a nice viewpoint off to the northwest from the marked summit however.
The trail is rough and very narrow at points, with brush inches from your face on either side. There are 2 great vistas about 1/3 of the way up. There are a half dozen good camp sites to use and a very small spring half way up the trail.
A long day but this was my favorite with a steep approach from both sides of the crest trail. The only one where I gave a cheer at the summit top. Also one of a few that had a benchmark at the summit
My first hike. I did a point-to-point, finishing atop Mt. Mitchell. At that time I was not yet afflicted with peak-bagger's disease, so I don't know if I made sure to stand on the high point.
Colbert ridge to Deep Gap, then Winter Star. 2-4" of snow with frozen undercrust starting at about 3500' . Lots of bear tracks, turkey tracks, Bobcat ran across the trail ahead of me & I was buzzed by a pheasant. Snow was untracked until I took care of that. Great day out.
Up colbert ridge to Deep Gap, then to top of Winter Star. Good hike! I like this much better than the Mount Mitchell trail.
Damn good hike.
Crossed (rain, mist and sleet) on my loop---12 hrs. 1 hr to Horse Rock trail, then up, over to the Bowlen's Creek end of Ridge Crest Trail, turned and went to Mitchell, before coming back to Deep Gap, down most of Colbert's Ridge, and then 'bushwack' to Locust Creek and White Oak Creek.
Winter Star is where I stop to call my wife during long walks. During the winter, the cold is terrible. Within a minute one can lose use of your fingers. I have found no cell reception of the Mitchell side of the Ridge Crest Trail, or I would not stop.
Winter Star also seems to define two weather micro-climates. The Mitchell side is the colder, icier during the winter.
I've climbed this mountain twice prior to my posted summit day. This one has what it takes to keep bringing me back; relative solitude, a steady uphill climb, and virgin spruce/fir forest in the higher elevations!
via Colbert Ridge Trail.
A great summit with beautiful views toward Celo Knob. The wildflowers were really out in profusion: bluets between Mitchell parking lot and Mt. Craig and trilliums everywhere. The BMCT is rough, but it's one of my favorite hikes.
coming north from Deep Gap. But it's a whole lotta fun!!
The trail kind of vanishes after Deep Gap heading north. We found our way to the top though. Not much to see from the summit of this one. Beyond Winter Star the trail really gets, ahem, interesting (difficult)
My wife Jennifer and I hiked Winter Star Mountain early in the summer on our traverse of the Black Mountain Crest Trail which begins at the Mt. Mitchell picnic area. This continuously rolling, steep and slippery trail (especially past Deep Gap) hits 7 named Southern Sixers (Mt. Mitchell, Mt. Craig, Balsam Cone, Cattail Peak/Potato Knob, Winter Star Mountain, Gibbs Mt. & Celo Knob).
The views on this were some of the best on the east coast. Late spring & early summer are good times to attempt a traverse of the North Carolina Blacks. The wildflowers at this time are showing their colors, the ferns are unrolling & the Balsam forests are alive with all kinds of wildlife. Also, the brutal heat and humidity that characterize summer in the South usually does not set in, in earnest until mid-June
I climbed Winter Star using the Deep Gap, Bolens Creek Trail (aka Black Mountain Crest Trail). The views along the hike to the summit of Winter Star from Deep Gap are so striking and so numerous that hiking the peak is something of an overwhelming experience. You have to stop every few steps to enjoy the vistas.