the north face hedgehog guide gtx A Guide to Hiking Buck Mountain
I grew up in a valley community, and the Blue Ridge Mountains encircled my hometown like big, safe shoulders. Despite living minutes from the Appalachian Trail, one of the best known hiking destinations on the east coast, I never even set foot on a hiking trail until I was in college. My freshman year, a professor led a small group of us up to McAfee Knob, a rock outcropping that juts out over the valleys below to reward hikers with an awe inspiring, 270 degree panorama of Catawba valley, Roanoke valley, North Mountain and Tinker Cliffs.
Compared to Buck Mountain, however, my 5 ish mile (about 8 kilometer) hike to McAfee Knob was a bunny slope. At 11,938 feet (3,
638 meters), Buck Mountain, located toward the middle southwestern corner of Grand Teton National Park, poses quite a challenge. However, it does have several well established summit approaches, most of which you can climb from the valley in a single day. For hikers who are eager to take their scrambling and climbing skills to the next level, Buck Mountain might just be the perfect 10,000 plus feet (3048 plus meter) starter destination. In summer, the terrain is green and gentle at the base of the mountain and grows rockier, with scrubby vegetation and year round snow caps as you gain elevation. In fall and winter, the mountain is blanketed with heavy snow, and in spring, avalanche risk and wet conditions make hiking Buck Mountain unadvisable.