Mount Pisgah Summit Trail: East Fork, North Carolina

Mount Pisgah is easily spotted with the transmission tower on top, but loved for its rapid, rocky ascent. In the fall, this quiet corner tucked off the Blue Ridge Parkway is awash in a sea of red, orange and gold.

Get Ready: Take the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville (we get on at the NC Arboretum) to milepost 407.6.

Get Set: Park in the lot to the left before you get to the Pisgah Inn. Go to the back of the lot to find the trailhead. Or, you can park in the next lot down, on the right. This lot has a sign for campsites and bathrooms that’s visible from the parkway. The trailhead here is tucked away on the right of the parking lot.

Go: If you park in the lot on the left, your hike will lead you 1.5 miles to the top of Mt. Pisgah (three miles round-trip). If you park at that next lot on the right, you’ll add about a mile to the hike. The path is not marked once you’re on it, but it’s easy to tell whether you’re in the right place by your proximity to Mt. Pisgah. The second half is a steep, rocky incline, that weaves up the mountain top, eventually bringing you to the summit. Climb the steps to the lookout perch for the best view. You can explore behind the TV transmission tower, too. Return the way you came.

Effort: The hike is quick, but it will make you sweat. If you’re not used to hiking, you’ll definitely need to take a couple breaks along the trail. If you’re super fit, you’ll love the burn. Nonetheless, the 360 degree view is worth the effort. Bring a picnic and soak it up!

Takeaway: This is a great hike if you’re looking for a quick summit that tests your endurance. I’d recommend it along a planned parkway drive, or as a weekend destination of its own.