Rube Rock to Groundhog to AT Loop
A very challenging 10+ mile loop trail that begins and ends at Brown's Gap on the AT, a few miles southbound from Max Patch.

I followed the AT southbound from Brown's Gap, went down Groundhog Trail and up Rube Rock. Map here.

This is an incredibly tough hike, both for the elevation gain/loss, but also due to the downed trees along the way. Carolina Mountain Club has made a HUGE dent in that in early 2013, making a huge difference along Rube Rock, but there still is lots of scrambling under, over, and through downed stuff.

You'll not find a more remote trail anywhere, and yet one of the weird contradictions is that this trail brings you almost right down to Interstate-40, just a few miles into NC from the NC/TN state line.

But also in this same area, there are incredible displays of raging creeks and rivers. Tom Hall Branch was raging so loud that it drowned out the nearby traffic noise from I-40!!

And wildflowers galore!! I captured just a few of the many I came across!

Complete Trip Report here.
42 photos · 38 views