A trek once enjoyed by a great American poet and author, Big Glassy Mountain is perched behind the idyllic Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flat Rock, North Carolina.
The Carl Sandburg house is your starting point, as you ascend 1.3 miles up Big Glassy Mountain. Stop to visit the beloved goats that call the property home on the way down.
Get ready: The Carl Sandburg National Historic Site is located in the charming town of Flat Rock, North Carolina, close to Hendersonville. The 267 acre property was donated to the National Park Service by Sandburg’s wife after his death. The two called “Connemara”, as its known, home starting in 1945. Now, visitors can walk through Sandburg’s beautiful mountain home, as he left it, and stroll five miles of trails once traversed by the Sandburgs. It will take you about 40 minutes to get there by car from Asheville to the north.
Get set: Park in the lot with the marker for the site. Follow the path down toward a small lake. Pass the visitor’s center (there’s only a fee if you’d like to tour the house) and continue up the path toward the house. You’ll find the Big Glassy Mountain trail behind the house (you can also hop on it by crossing the field across from the famous goat barns).
Go: The trail is mostly wooded and fairly steep. You’ll rise 1.3 miles up, passing a small reservoir and several exposed granite slabs. There are benches along the way to rest your feet.
The top is a large bare faced rock where you’ll see South Carolina to the south, and, on a clear day, Mount Pisgah to the northwest.
Return the way you came. Check a park map for more trails to explore.
Effort: With a 523 foot elevation gain, the trek will test your endurance, however, the distance is not so much that the less experienced hiker should shy away. While exhilarating, I found the hike to be very peaceful.
Takeaway: I would bring the entire family to the property for a day of fun, getting a good taste of what Western North Carolina nature has to offer and learning some American history in the process. I first visited the property when I was a child, and seeing Sandburg’s untouched house (it’s literally the way he had it when he passed away) stayed with me forever. The goats are pretty fun to see, also. If Big Glassy is too challenging for your little ones, there are a few other trails that are better suited to short legs.