Ascent of Cottrell Knob Northeast on 2013-03-29

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Friday, March 29, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cottrell Knob Northeast
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:2666 ft / 812 m

Ascent Trip Report

This peak is unnamed on the quad and is also known simply by its spot elevation, Peak 2666. Cottrell Knob is a subpeak to the west.

If the spot elevations are correct, this is a P1K peak--one of 95 in NC with at least 1,000 feet of prominence. I think that nearby Gill Knob is also a contender for this honor, though its spot elevation of 2655 is 11 feet shorter. Both top out in the 2640 contour, and Gill Knob has a larger summit contour, though probably a little flatter.

There's no competition when it comes to view, however. Peak 2666 has a man-made bald that offers a western panorama, including Grandfather Mountain, Big Bald (the one in Avery County NC), Mount Mitchell, and Table Rock. Trees on the south side prevent a clear sighting of Gill Knob.

The hike is easy, assuming the gate is open on the road to the Buffalo Cove gamelands. From NC 268, go 1.8 miles on Buffalo Cove Road. Just after crossing a one-laned bridge, turn R onto unpaved Cove Branch Road. After another 1.3 miles, you'll reach what appears to be a dead-end with two mobile homes and threatening signs. However, the driveway to the double-wide on the right is actually the start of the state road leading into the gamelands. Just past the trailer is a gate that is open during hunting seasons. The road is rough around the gate but pretty good the rest of the way. Cars could probably make it carefully, though high clearance would be better. Inside the gate, continue 2.3 miles to a large graveled parking area on the ridge near Durham Gap.

There are two gated roads here. Go left (north) to Peak 2666 or right (southeast) to Gill Knob. Also, unranked Licklog Mountain is a short walk up, starting to the R of the gate to Gill Knob.

From the parking lot, the hike is 2.1 miles roundtrip to Peak 2666. The first 0.4 descends 100 feet. Then take the uphill fork, passing a second gate at 0.75 miles. Just beyond this, an abandoned road forks to the L and leads straight up to the open summit, which can be seen from the fork.

If the gate at the bottom of the mountain is closed, it would be a 6.8-mile roundtrip hike, climbing 1400 feet. You could take a mountain bike almost all the way.

The NC 268 corridor includes several historic sites, including Fort Defiance, Patterson School, one of Daniel Boone's homesites, and the graves of poor Laura Foster and Tom Dula, made famous in the folk song, "Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley."
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:366 ft / 111 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.1 mi / 3.4 km
    Trailhead:Durham Gap  2500 ft / 762 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail

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