OHA Best Hike: Pinnacle Point

In accordance with this week’s theme, I plan on delivering to you the best hike of 2007. Through extensive research, my boys down at the hike lab have compared trail length, hike-ablity, view, and overall joy to compile a list of the top 300 hikes in the greater Western North Carolina area. After slaving away for almost two weeks, chasing down leads and pouring myself into this search, I am confident to say that I have come up with an adequate Outhouse Award for best hike. So here we go, as voted on by me, confirmed by no one, in probably the same article I would have written anyway with a new introduction; 2007 hike of the year: Pinnacle Point.The goods for this hike include only a short drive from Cullowhee, a medium strenuous 14 miles, and a 360-degree view from 2,500 feet overlooking both Sylva and Cullowhee that will absolutely take your breath away. Basically, this hike is one of the best I’ve found. I encourage you to ascend and bellow a barbaric yell with all your might. If for some reason you aren’t a mountaintop-screamer, I highly recommend it; you’ll see why.The Pinacle Point hike, though long, is not a difficult walk. The hike rests in the Jackson County-owned Pinnacle Park, famous for its views and beautifully maintained hiking trails. The maximum slope you will be expected to ascend is no more than a 10 degree incline. Aside from the incredible view at the top, the hike itself is extremely enjoyable. The trail weaves its way up the side of the mountain, completely sheltered from the wind by tree cover. Approximately ten minutes into the hike, adventurers will find a thirty foot boulder right off the trail that is a great stopping point for those interested in a little close-to-ground climbing. Also, the river seems to follow you up the mountain to create a serene atmosphere the entire way.Allow an hour and forty five minutes for each leg of the trip, bringing the total time for the hike to around three hours, plus however much time spent at the top. As usual, wear comfortable shoes, dress in layers that can easily be removed or added, and bring plenty of water. Don’t be ashamed to rest on this one! A fourteen mile hike sounds intimidating, but think of it as great exercise rewarded by an eagle’s perch on top of the world.To get to Pinnacle Park, take HWY 107 towards Sylva. From downtown Sylva, take Skyland Drive east (SR 1432) and turn left onto Fisher Creek Road (SR 1446). Fisher Creek Road turns to a gravel drive for about 100 feet before ending in the parking area in front of the gate that will start the hike. The Pinnacle Point trail begins immediately behind the gate, and is marked by purple and gold spray paint markers all the way to the top. The trail is easy to follow, but stay to the left about 2/3 the way to the top when the trail forks.