The trail (#271) to the cliffs is listed at 1.7 miles and easy, but if you're not in decent shape you'll argue with the easy part. I'd give it a moderate rating because of a steeper section and some tricky footing along parts of the trail. The trail is easy to follow, but at the end it bears to the left to head out on the cliffs. If you take the fainter trail straight ahead at this point, you come out in a really nice camp site. The color in the tree tops along the trail was really nice, but not yet peak.
|along the trail to Big Lost Cove Cliffs|
There's ample room on the rocks to lounge around and enjoy the excellent view towards Grandfather Mountain and the Parkway. If you bring kids, keep a close eye on them. They call these cliffs for a reason - if you fall off you die. Here are 3 pictures, then a video with me walking around the area with a GoPro.
We spent a good amount of time here and had the place to ourselves the entire time. We wanted to get in an afternoon hike also, and decided on the nearby Little Lost Cove Cliffs. The trail to these cliffs (#271A) has 2 trail heads along FR464. We picked the first one we came to heading back down 464. This trail is listed at 1.3 miles and most difficult, but we didn't see anything difficult about it at all - another moderate if you are in decent shape. You don't do the entire trail either - you go up, then come back down the same way to your vehicle. The tricky part is remembering which way to go on the trail once you leave the cliffs. The way we went, the side trail to the cliff area is on the left, so coming back out you would turn to the right to get back down. If you turn left on the main trail by mistake, you'll end up at the other parking area and have more than a mile hike along the road back to your vehicle - that is if you walk the correct way along the road.
|along the trail to Little Lost Cove Cliffs|
Anywho - it took us about 15-20 minutes of steady uphill hiking to get to the side trail to the cliffs. The color along this trail was even nicer than along Big Lost Cove Cliffs. The side trail is obvious, but isn't marked. It leads a short distance to a big rock, then you climb up for your first view. After that, look to the right for some more rocks that you have to climb up through for the better views. There's plenty of room up here also, but again - steep drop offs. The view is in the same direction as from Big LLC, but from a different angle. Below are some photos and when I get the time, I'll add a video.
Again, we had the place to ourselves for a couple of hours. We got back to the camp site around 5, so I headed to the back of the campground and up the Thorps Creek Trail for about 5 minutes to the waterfall. The light was fading fast, but it was better than trying to shoot in the middle of the sunny day. After our showers, we enjoyed another delicious meal that Cindy had prepared and another chilly evening around the campfire.
|waterfall on Thorps Creek|