Ascent of Horseblock Mountain on 2015-02-23

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, February 23, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Horseblock Mountain
    Elevation:1504 ft / 458 m

Ascent Trip Report

The USGS map actually calls this peak "Horseblock Mountain" not Horseback. I have to say too, I strongly recommend not doing this as a drive up. There is actually a very nice way to earn this peakbag. Do not park at the overlook. If you do, you are essentially doing a drive up and that is no fun. Why not earn the view?

Just a few tenths of a mile down from the overlook, is a dirt pull out on the west side of Skyway Mountainview Drive 281 and on the east side there is a pull out with a gated dirt road. Do not take the gated pull out on the east side park on the west side where there is no apparent road. Plenty of parking there. Then look for a US forest trail marker FT 589 (on the USGS map) and a mound of dirt preventing vehicles from accessing. If you look on your Google maps up very close this road will actually show up (as does it on the USGS map) and is called as Cheaha Road.

Now here is the beauty of this hike. Cheaha Road is no longer a road but a nice wide roadbed that winds through the deep ravines and valleys down below and west of Horseblock Mountain. The roadbed is not steep but it takes you through a mixed pine and oak hardwoods. There are no people but the roadbed has some old limestone walls that build up the curves that looks like a project from the old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The road feels like a wide trail and is very sinuous. I wanted to hike down to make the stream crossing my TH so I had a measurable elevation to make my ascent and there lies the unexpected sweet thing of the hike.

At the bottom there is a beautiful abandoned arch bridge made of stone standing there like someone spent some real time and money to build this (looks like a CCC project) and the stream was the nicest waterway I have seen in AL. The USGS map calls the creek Hillabee Creek. The water was clear, had some rapids, and some deep pools 4 to 5 deep. It was flowing strong today like a small river. This is a nice place to "start your hike." If it were not so cold out, the water looked inviting. I wondered if locals come down there and fish it? Then I hiked all the way back up the way I came, and then up to the overlook parking lot and found the easy HP in the grass and enjoyed some views off to the west.

Although I parked at the turnoff, hiked down to the arch bridge, hiked up to the overlook and back to my car at the turnoff, I am logging it for ease as if I started and ended at the bridge so the additional gain does not distort the route. The mileage and gain is the same either way. So it was really a 50 minuted down to the creek and up the overlook and 5 minutes back to the car (55 minutes) but logging it as a 30 up 25 down order.

Total day including the hikes over at Hernandez Peak was over 8 miles of hiking and about 1,700 feet of gain.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:714 ft / 216 m
    Total Elevation Loss:714 ft / 216 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:649 ft / 197 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 584 ft / 178 m; Extra: 65 ft / 19m
    Loss on way in:65 ft / 19 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.7 km
    Route:See Trip Report Route 589
    Start Trailhead:Arch bridge  920 ft / 280 m
    Time:30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:649 ft / 197 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 584 ft / 178 m; Extra: 65 ft / 19m
    Gain on way out:65 ft / 19 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.7 km
    Route:followed abandonded Cheaha Road
    End Trailhead:same  920 ft / 280 m
    Time:25 Minutes

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