Ascent of Snake Mountain in 2007-05

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:May, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Snake Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5560 ft / 1694 m

Ascent Trip Report

Snake Mountain (5560+) is the second highest mountain in Watauga County NC and the HP of the Amphibolite Range. This craggy range has been proposed as a possible alternative route for the AT between Roan/Yellow Mtn and Mt Rogers.

I parked at Rich Mountain Gap on the unpaved Rich Mountain Road (between US 421 and Meat Camp Road), crawled under the barbed-wire fence, walked a couple of hundred yards up a steep pasture, and then followed the ridge to the summit. No trail was evident (except at the top where the Sunalei resort has marked a route with yellow blazes). This was my first effort at bushwacking and I never felt lost, though on the descent I did have to backtrack after running into a dead-end on a cliff. Watch out for hawthorn bushes and you have to thread through thickets near the top. The view from the summit is special.

To reach the HP of Johnson County TN, continue along the ridge to the north summit (5518). COHP'ers can find a more direct and open route to the north summit from Meat Camp Road. See my 2010-09-05 report.

Acreage on the eastern flank of Snake Mountain was recently acquired by the state of NC as part of Elk Knob State Park. No trail there yet.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1160 ft / 353 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:No trail; followed ridge
    Trailhead:Rich Mtn Gap  4400 ft / 1341 m
    Route Conditions:
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 

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