Sunday was a beautiful day in North Carolina, so my buddy David and I saw it fitting to find and explore a new hike after church. I decided on something close(r) to Charlotte (where I live), but still up in the Pisgah/Grandfather district. I pulled out some maps and found Big Lost Cove Cliffs, a 3.5 mile round trip hike with some stellar views of the Linville range, Blowing Rock, Sugar Mtn, and more.

Finding the trail was a little tricky at first because of some admittedly confusing online directions. But in hindsight (and getting directions from a local at the Dollar General near Pineola), it’s actually really close to the parkway and easy to find with directions below.

Data

Trail Difficulty Distance 
Big Lost Cove Cliffs Trail Medium, Hilly 1.2 miles there, 1.2 miles back (2.4 round-trip)

Description from HikeWNC:

Ascends moderately through mixed hardwoods and then runs slightly downhill along the crest of the ridge on an old logging road. It descends steeply for a brief stretch into the flats right above the cliffs, in an open oak forest. There are a couple of old logging roads that diverge here; keep left at a couple of faint intersections to reach a fantastic viewpoint at the top of the cliffs. Grandfather Mountain looms in the background above Lost Cove. Stay back from the edge and don’t trample the moss that grows between the rocks.

You’ll notice I bolded the sentence about staying left at a intersection. If the trail fork you’re at has a right path that steeps downhill very drastically, you went the wrong way. That’s an old logging path. Go back up the hill and take the left instead. You’re close to the cliffs then. 🙂

Finding Big Lost Cove Cliffs Trailhead

  • Trailhead: Right behind Long Ridge Church off of Old Jonas Ridge Rd. and Mortimer Rd.
  • GPS Coordinates: Mortimer Rd Newland, NC 28657 36.000975, -81.875178
  • Directions: Once you get on 181 going North, you’re golden. Use your map or GPS app of choice to get you there (most of you will get there from 40). Trailhead is very close to 181 and the BR parkway. Essentially, all you have to do is get on an old dirt road called Old Jonas Ridge Rd. You can get on it from a number of roads (by turning right off NC 181 North): Quarry Road, Pitmann Gap Road, are a few). It’s not a long road, but you wanna be on the southernmost end of it: that’s where the trailhead is. The trailhead is right behind the Long Ridge Church (an old white church, can’t miss it).

The easiest way to get to the trailhead is this:

  1. Be driving on NC 181 North.
  2. Look for a white square sign that says ‘Pittman Gap’. This road on GPS might be called Stacy Ct or Stacy Rd. That’s the same road, turn right on it.
  3. Follow this road all the way until you see the opportunity to turn left or continue straight. Go Left.
  4. The church will be about 2 minutes down the road. There’s a super clear dirt road that runs right beside the church down into the trees. The trailhead is down that road about 2 minutes!

I’ve attached a mobile-friendly link to the GPS location, and a few overhead photos of where the trailhead is off 181N. Hope you find it! If you have any questions, ask the local at the Dollar General just a little further down the road on NC 181. 🙂

Now… pictures!

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Additional Resources:

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