June 12th, 2008 - I'm leading a hike up Rattlesnake Ridge (on Unaka Mountain) for the Unicoi County Mountain Expo on June 21st, so decided to head out today and scout the trail.  I'd hiked this trail a few months ago (see here), but wanted to make sure it was still in decent condition.


I started at Rock Creek Campground at 2200' elevation, and made my way up the northwest side of the mountain.  The trail is quite steep in many places but was in reasonably good shape except for lots of weeds and underbrush growing into it.  I meant to bring my hand-pruners, but I unfortunately forgot.  By the time I made it to Pleasant Garden, my legs were all scratched up from briars and weeds.


It was a nice hike nevertheless, but very tough in the high heat.  This climb ascends from 2200' to 4800' in just four miles so it's a pretty good workout.  I spent a little bit of time at Pleasant Garden with my map and compass, spotting the surrounding mountains before I made my descent.  I may try to come back one more time before the Expo hike to do a little cutting on the briars and weeds.         


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Pretty Views Looking East About Halfway Up

  View of No Business Knob and Temple Hill
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Mountain Laurel in Bloom   Forest of Ferns
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Galax or "Beetleweed"... 

Yes, the Town in VA is Named After this Flower

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Overgrown Trail... This was Typical in Many Areas   Vista from Pleasant Garden
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More Vistas   Possum at Pleasant Garden
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Elevation 4800'   Pretty View Looking Southeast
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Rhododendron Tunnel   More Mountain Laurel
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Camouflaged Frog   Rock Creek

Total Miles Hiked:  8.0  

Getting There:  


Driving - From I-26 take the Erwin Main Street Exit (#36), at the end of the ramp turn left towards town and you will immediately arrive at a stop light. Turn right onto Rt. 107 and drive 1/2 mile, turn left at stop light onto Rock Creek Road (Rt. 395).  Continue on for 3.1 miles, turn left at entrance to Rock Creek Park.    


Trails - I parked at the bathhouse for the pool and walked up the road for just a few yards.  The Hemlock Trail will be on your left.  Take this nice graveled trail for 0.4 miles until you see the bridge & the Rattlesnake Ridge sign.  You will take a left, crossing this bridge, and then you will walk a couple more tenths of a mile and the trail will split again where you will go left (again, there is a Rattlesnake Ridge sign).  You will ascend quite quickly up this trail until you come to another intersection at Dick Creek Gap.  Look for Rattlesnake Ridge trail on your right and continue climbing.  Pleasant Garden is approximately 4 miles from the bathhouse at Rock Creek Park, and a half mile higher in elevation!


  THE A.T.