Ascent of Hibriten Mountain on 2013-01-12

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Saturday, January 12, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hibriten Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:2239 ft / 682 m

Ascent Trip Report

Hibriten Mountain offers rewarding views of Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge around Blowing Rock, once you get past more than a dozen towers along the summit ridge. The hike is 5.4 miles round trip, climbing 740 feet on a gated gravel road. I've heard that access was restricted in the past, but now it's open to the public if you approach it the right way. (Avoid Prestwood Drive SE, which some maps show as a route to the summit but dead-ends in private property where you might get arrested.)

Approaching Lenoir on US321 northbound, exit at Connelly Springs Road. At the top of the ramp, turn right (away from Connelly Springs Road) and take Hibriten Road. After 0.1 miles, turn R onto Starcross Road, then go 0.3 miles and turn L onto Hibriten Mountain Road. Continue 0.9 miles to the end of the two-lane pavement, where there is an unsigned gravel parking lot on the right. As the road narrows into a driveway, there is a sign saying "No Trespassing by Motorized Vehicles." Hikers, mountain-bikers, and hang-gliders evidently are welcome to trespass.

After a short distance, the paved driveway turns R and the gravel summit road continues straight ahead, soon passing a locked yellow NC Forest Service gate at the Lenoir city limits sign. At 1.0 miles, you cross a power line right-of-way and see the peak to the L. It looks like it would be possible to follow the right-of-way up the steep south side of the peak. But it's better to stay on the road, which switchbacks up to the summit ridge at 2.0 miles and then follows the ridgeline to the top. There is a mountain-bike trail that intersects the road at miles 1.1 and 2.0.

On top is an old firetower that's fenced and unsafe to climb. Beyond that is a large metal grid with lights that display a Christmas star or an Easter cross, visible from the city of Lenoir, 1000 feet below. At the end of the summit ridge is a launch ramp for hang-gliders. On the morning I hiked, thick fog had settled into the valley just below the peak, and it looked like you could step off the ramp and walk on the clouds.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:819 ft / 249 m
    Extra Gain:40 ft / 12 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.4 mi / 8.7 km
    Route:Hibriten Road
    Trailhead:Hibriten Road  1500 ft / 457 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Drizzle, Pleasant, Calm, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 10 Minutes

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