This hike in North Carolina, located about an hour outside of Asheville in Nebo, was one of our favorites in Pisgah National Forest. From the top of Shortoff Mountain, you are afforded stunning views of Linville Gorge and Lake James. This hike is fast paced. You gain 1,312 feet of elevation over the course of this 4.5 mile round-trip hike but most of that elevation is within the first mile. The last mile or so of the hike is quite level and open with plenty of spots to take panoramic pictures. Our picture above is from Table Rock.
FYI: This post was written based on a trip taken in late November
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Finding the Shortoff Mountain Trailhead
Finding the Shortoff Mountain trailhead/parking area can be very difficult. Unknown to us when we were searching for it, most parking areas/trailheads are not well marked in Pisgah National Forest and Shortoff Mountain is no exception to this fact. To find this trailhead, type in “Wolf Pit Trailhead” to Google Maps. Although it is the Shortoff Mountain Trailhead you are looking for, it is at the end of Wolf Pit Road and this should bring you to the right spot. Wolf Pit Road is a dead-end and unpaved road that you drive on for 2.5 miles until you get to the end/trailhead. When we first turned down this road, we thought we were going the wrong way but soon enough, we saw a homemade sign, pointing us to Shortoff Mountain and Wolf Pit (pictured above on the left).
When to Hike Shortoff Mountain
Try to visit in fall for stunning vistas of color! We visited in late November and the fall colors were really beautiful then. The weather was not bad at that time either as it was in the mid 60’s (28 degrees celsius) by late morning. We imagine this hike would be really pretty with a fresh layer of snow too!
Shortoff Mountain Trailhead is about a 1 hour drive east of Asheville. Definitely make sure to check out this town the night before or the afternoon after your hike. This town is full of very hip restaurants, local breweries and eclectic shops. We recommend checking out Asheville Brewing Company for some delicious pizza and beer options. This pizza tastes extra amazing after a hike. Also consider checking out Vortex Doughnuts. This donut shop was unfortunately closed when we were in town, but we have friends living in North Carolina who rave about the specialty donuts here.
Some other hiking to consider doing if you have more time in Asheville:
- Skinny Dip Falls (0.9 Miles Round-Trip)
- Linville Falls (2.2 Miles Round-Trip)
- Frying Pan Mountain Tower (1.5 Miles Round-Trip)
- Sam Knob Trail (2.2 Miles Round-Trip)
- Craggy Pinnacle Trail (1.0 Miles Round Trip)
We did not have time to do these hikes but for more information on each, please see Asheville Trails.
Bonus: Add-on a Trip to Great Smoky Mountain National Park (1.5 hours from Asheville). Please see One Day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park post
Where to stay to hike Shortoff Mountain
We stayed at a cozy Airbnb on the east side of Asheville. The simple yet very nice accommodations were perfect for just passing through. The host here also made us some homemade cake that we really appreciated after a long day of hiking. Another option is to stay in one of the many tiny homes in the area listed on Airbnb. Consider this option if you are looking for a really unique experience and staying more than one night.
We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to hike Shortoff Mountain. Anything you’d add to our guide on hiking Shortoff Mountain? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions. Please leave us a comment!
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