Ascent of Elk Knob on 2013-06-29

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Saturday, June 29, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Elk Knob
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5520 ft / 1682 m

Ascent Trip Report

I found two of the rare Gray's Lilies blooming along the trail in the heath bald near the summit. After an unseasonably cool spring, flame azaleas were just past their peak, and blueberries were ripening.

The roundtrip hike is usually 3.8 miles but I made it a little longer by doing the last section twice in search of the lilies. If you find them, take only pictures--they won't transplant and they are endangered. They grow only in the highlands of NC, VA, and TN. They are named for pioneering botanist Asa Gray, who discovered them in 1840 on Roan Mountain.

This was my 30th ascent of Elk Knob, and only the second time I have seen the Gray's Lilies in bloom.

See my 2011-09-04 trip report for more details about the mountain, the park, the trail, and the amazing hundred-mile views.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1160 ft / 352 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1160 ft / 353 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:960 ft / 292 m
    Distance:1.9 mi / 3.1 km
    Start Trailhead:State Park trailhead  4560 ft / 1389 m
    Time:1 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1160 ft / 353 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 960 ft / 293 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Gain on way out:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:2.3 mi / 3.7 km
    End Trailhead:State Park trailhead  4560 ft / 1389 m
    Time:40 Minutes

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