Hiking in the Brushy Mountains of NC

The Brushy Mountains are located in west-central North Carolina.  They are a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but separated from the main mountain chain by the Yadkin River Valley.  This Google map is useful to get oriented; our destination is pegged by the red marker, and the green band of national forest land to the west roughly follows the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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At the southern end of the Brushy Mountains, we discovered a great day hike destination.  Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area is a county park in Alexander County.  Restrooms and a picnic shelter are located at the park office near the entrance.  At the time of this post, there were no day use fees, parking fees, etc.

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Rock climbing is popular on the “rocky face”.  Needless to say, we observed the climbers but did not participate.

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More at our speed, more than 5 miles of hiking trails crisscross the park and offer plenty of options including some significant inclines.  The trails intersect, allowing various combinations to reach your desired mileage.  Many of the trail surfaces are dirt and free from obstacles…

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Others are more rocky.  Notice the orange spray paint on protruding rocks and tree roots.  This is for the benefit of folks who run the  trails for fun and also in competitions.  It does somewhat detract from the sense of being in nature, but is useful in that it allows your focus to be on the surrounding scenery instead of looking down to place each step on the more uneven trail segments.

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Spring wildflowers were sitl blooming through the leaves and in the rock crevices….

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Views from the granite dome outcroppings extend to the surrounding ridges….

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and also look out on the surrounding farms…

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All in all, this is a great day hike destination for the west central NC region.  Due to the nature of the trail surfaces which become slippery or muddy when wet, we would not recommend it after heavy rains.  And of course, due to the exposed sections near the summits, never hike on this type of trail if lightning strikes are possible.  But on a nice dry day, rock climbers, hikers or trail runners should definitely give it a try.


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