Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Sylva Pinnacle

For many years I have been meaning to hike to the summit of "The Pinnacle" above the town of Sylva. I think I have covered such place names in the past. There are literally hundreds of mountains in the eastern USA called "The Pinnacle". When it comes to mountains, the locals seem to run out of options really fast and start repeating themselves. For instance, there are two mountains called "Green Knob" within a few miles of one another here in North Carolina. It's ridiculous!

So, I decided to call this particular "The Pinnacle", Sylva Pinnacle, so that we'd all know which one I'm talking about.

This summit is a tad over 5,000 feet in elevation,which sounds really high by eastern standards, until you add in the fact that it stands around a number of really high mountain peaks that scrape, or exceed 6,000 feet in elevation. Also, the Great Smoky Mountains are nearby, and they are nearly the kings of eastern mountain ranges (second only to the Black Mountains).

This peak is protected within a city park called, appropriately, Pinnacle Park. It is well over 1,000 acres in size and was once the watershed for the city of Sylva. These days it's a wonderful public park with tons of great hiking opportunities. They even allow back country camping in the park. For free.

One thing that had initially attracted me to wanting to climb Sylva Pinnacle is that I'd heard that it was a scramble to reach the top. That is, you had to use all four limbs to attain the summit. Such peaks are very rare in the east, so it was high on my to-bag list. Alas, once I got to the top, I realized that all of those stories were just hot air. It's a rocky hike, for sure, but it's not a scramble.

I highly recommend a trip to the top, or just a visit to Pinnacle Park if you're in the vicinity of Sylva. It's a great place, and I'm glad the city was able to protect this spot.

Blackrock Mountain and Waterrock Knob.
Perry Top.

Self-portrait.

Very nice trail system!


Looking down toward Sylva from the cliff top.

Nice signage!

Some people mistakenly turn around here, thinking this is the end of the trail to the Pinnacle. In fact, the trail continues past these two campsites, just to the left of the second one.

This is called "Split Rock" and is a popular bouldering destination.

Split Rock as seen from the main trail.

Reminder that this park was once the town's official watershed.


3 comments:

Lawrence Roy Aiken said...

Hulk say, "Got your GREEN KNOB right here, puny human!" I'm 52 years old and that's the first thing that came to my mind when I read "Green Knob." I should get help.

Kent Tankersley said...

Great photos! And surely a wonderful hike. In that one shot, the self portrait one, it almost looks like you're in a cloud forest in the tropics. Also, seeing Waterrock Knob mentioned here brings back good memories.

James Robert Smith said...

Roy: People who grow up don't make good writers. Stay silly, my friend.

Kent: I've hiked Waterrock a few times. The next time I go I plan to hike a faint trail from there that leads to a couple of other major peaks in the Plott Balsams. One thing about Waterrock is that it's a REALLY rugged summit.