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Home / Hikes / Big Scaly


Big Scaly Mountain Loop




Hike up a scenic gorge to high falls and great views as you summit Big Scaly Mountain

Event Hiking
Location Big Scaly Mountain, NC
Date(s) & Time
Sign up deadline
Duration Day trip
Difficulty (1 - 6) 5. Difficult
Distance 11 miles
Adult Leaders Albert Bodamer,
  Cost   Bring money for fast food stop on way home.
Who may attend Scouts 13 and older, First Class & above & registered Scouters in the Troop. Must have successfully completed a prior hike > 6 miles.
Big Scaly is the mountain just below Standing Indian. This is a loop hike of about 11 miles and has roughly 2,500 feet of elevation gain (and loss...see trail profile below). If you are unsure of your capabilities, discuss with the Adult Leader prior to signing up.
We will start by crossing Scaly Ridge and then go down to Beech Creek (be prepared....could be a "wet foot" crossing!). We will follow the creek up scenic Beech Creek Gorge and start up the switchbacks under the cliffs of Big Scaly Mountain. We will take the quarter mile side trail to view the 200 foot High Falls, and then come back to the main trail to continue the climb. (We will have our lunch at High Falls or the Summit of Big Scaly, depending on our pace.)

Once we reach the top of the cliffs at Case Knife Gap(4-5 miles in and 2,000 ft in elevation gain), we will  take the +/-1 mile (round trip) trail to the summit of Big Scaly Mountain at 5,060 feet and enjoy fine long range views (see pic above). 


After taking pictures to commemorate our achievement, we will continue down Chimney Rock trail. There is an optional quarter mile side trail to the left to view Chimney Rock. You can explore Chimney Rock and enjoy the unusual view if the crew is so inclined.

Then we go down to end of the road we parked on. We will walk about a mile down this road to get back to the cars.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT A BEGINNER HIKE *** You must be in good physical condition and be able to hike long distances and keep a moderate pace. ***

Directions to trailhead: At the intersection of US23/441 and US76 in Clayton, take US 76 west for 7.8 miles and turn right on Persimmon Rd. This turn is clearly marked. Drive 4.1 miles on Persimmon Rd and turn left on to Tallulah River Rd. There's a small brown and white sign indicating camping down this road. The first mile of this narrow road is paved and is residential, so drive slowly. At the end of the pavement, look to the left for the Tallulah River Campground. It's a forest service campground that stays open all year, so you have this option if drive time is a problem. Info on the campground can be found here. From here, the narrow gravel road follows the beautiful Tallulah River through Georgia as FS70, but then re-enters North Carolina as FS56 before the trail head. There are 2 other seasonal campground along the river between 4 and 5 miles down the road. The first is the Tate Branch Campground and the second is Sandy Bottoms. All these campgrounds are first come - no reservations. Just after the last campground, enter the little community of Tate City. At about 7.5 miles total down Tallulah River Rd, look carefully on the right for a carsonite stake at the Beech Creek trail head - trail #378. Drive a very short distance past this and pull into the parking area on the left.
Pack List:
  • Day pack
  • Appropriate clothing for weather conditions
  • Socks/liners
  • Good hiking boots/shoes that fit and are broken in
  • 2, 2 Liter Nalgenes of water/electrolyte drink
  • Rain gear
  • Hiking pole(s), optional
  • Cash for food on drive home
Permission Slip
Pack List
Difficulty Ratings:

1. Easy

  Generally 4 miles or less, leisurely pace, and/or gentle elevation gain (less than 400 feet)
2. Easy to Moderate
  Generally 6 miles or less and/or moderate pace, gentle to moderate elevation gain (less than 1000 feet).
3. Moderate
  Generally 8 miles or less and/or increased elevation gain (less than 1500 feet) and/or faster pace.
4. Moderate to Difficult
  Generally 10 miles or less and/or more challenging elevation gain (1500 to 2500 feet) and/or faster pace.
5. Difficult
  Generally 15 mi or less and/or challenging elevation gain (2500 to 4000 feet) and/or seasonal conditions or special considerations.
6. Strenuous
  Generally distance of 15 mi+ and/or challenging elevation gain (4000 feet or more) and/or seasonal conditions or special considerations.
©2017 Boy Scout Troop 629, Johns Creek, GA|Atlanta Area Council, BSA   All rights reserved.  

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