North Mountain (Catawba) Trail
Basics — Length 13.4 miles. Difficulty: Strenuous. Carpool Fee: $4.00 (unless we have enough people to do a key exchange). What to Bring: 10 essentials for hiking, lunch, and money (or car) for the carpool. Highlights: Pleasant woods and occasional views.
Details — Parts of the North Mountain Trail were a former alignment of the Appalachian Trail during the period when McAfee’s Knob and Tinker Cliffs were removed from the trail over land rights. Unlike the spectacular AT through the corresponding section, the North Mountain Trail is a typical rolling ridge that is common in the Alleghany Mountains. Don’t be fooled, though — North Mountain has knobs upon knobs, making this a challenging hike. Rather than starting at the Andy Layne Trailhead and connecting to the NMT via the Catawba Valley Trail, we’ll instead drive to the northern terminus of the NMT at Stone Coal Gap then hike back to the Dragon’s Tooth Parking Lot.