High Rocks Vista

  • Highlights: Views, Appalachian Trail, wildflowers
  • Distance: 3.7 miles out and back
  • Elevation Change 1,095 feet
  • Trail Surface: Dirt with numerous rocky sections
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Spivey Gap AT Trailhead, US 19W, small parking area at the AT crossing, room for 6-8 vehicles; 8.8 miles from the Erwin TN exit on Interstate 26 
  • Trail Markings: White AT blazes, blue blazes on spur to High Rocks
  • Website: AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Mars Theater Brewing Co.—Snake Island Stout & Scuba Juice IPA & World’s Edge IPA

Trail Map:

The Hike:

Last year we hiked to Big Bald on the AT and it was one of our favorite hikes of 2023. This hike on the AT approaches Big Bald from the north. We didn’t have time for the 13 mile out-and-back to Big Bald, so we squeezed in a shorter hike to High Rocks Vista.

The Spivey Gap AT trailhead parking area on US 19W is unmarked. It hold 6-8 vehicles and is located at the AT crossing on the right side of US 19W coming from the interstate. The AT is always well marked and well maintained. Follow the AT southbound past a small stream crossing and campsite.

This section of the trail passes through a nondescript hardwood forest with numerous rhododendron thickets. A huge rock outcropping on the left is the bottom of High Rocks. Just beyond the outcropping is a sign for High Rocks and a blue-blazed spur trail on the left. 

Follow the spur trail for a short, but steep, climb to the top of High Rocks. Squeeze through a narrow opening in the rocks to reach the broad expanse of High Rocks. Views to the south and west open up. Some of the views are partial due to tree cover. The fall foliage season and might be the best time to complete this hike. Enjoy the views and then backtrack to the trailhead. 

Hike Photos:

Beer Pairing:

Mars Theatre Brewing Co. in Mars Hill NC is about 40 minutes from the trailhead. It wins the prize for the coolest brewery we have visited in a long time. Located in a 1940s movie theater, this brewery has 8 taps of craft beer, a variety of great food options, live music on weekends, and a movie every Sunday. Mars Hill NC is a fun college town and we really liked this brewery. 

Kathy loves hazy IPAs and Scuba Juice Hazy (6.5% ABV) is a tasty New England-style IPA brewed with Mosaic, Citrus, and Cascade Hops with notes of pine, pear, and mango. Our AirBnB was a few hundred yards away, so Pete enjoyed several beers. World’s Edge (7.2% ABV) is an excellent west-coats IPA. Snake Island Stout (5.2% ABV) is a great Irish oatmeal stout with malty-sweet chocolate flavors and coffee characteristics of black malt and roasted barley.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.