Swannanoa Rim Explorer series heads to Buckner's Knob

Staff reports

After a fun August Rim Hike through the misty rain to Walker’s Knob Overlook, the Swannanoa Rim Explorer Hike Series continues on to Buckner's Knob in September.

The hike’s namesake peak, which is now known as Craggy Pinnacle, was originally named in honor of the Buckner family, one of the earliest families to settle on the Barnardsville side of the Craggies.

John Buckner holds a photo of one of his ancestors herding sheep on the very spot he is standing.

This 3.5-mile, moderate hike begins at Craggy Pinnacle parking lot and extends to Craggy picnic area at Bearpen Gap.  From the Craggy parking lot hikers will ascend to Buckner’s Knob, where they can view almost the entirety of the Swannanoa Rim.

From Buckner’s Knob, hikers will need to use caution as they descend through rhododendron thickets choking either side of the narrow trail.

After navigating through the Appalachian thickets of rhododendron and blueberry, the hike will continue on the Mountains to Sea trail towards Craggy Flats. Hikers will stop for lunch at a shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

After lunch, the group will continue out onto the "Flats of Craggy." It was here that Van Burnette’s great-uncle, Oden Walker, a popular writer for the Black Mountain News during the late 1940's into the early 1950's, got married. It was a large wedding and everyone camped for several nights at Craggy after making the journey on horseback.

The Flats were also the spot where the boys from North Fork side of the Craggies and those from the Barnardsville side would meet for baseball games and campouts. It was a very popular event back in the early years of the 20th century. The flats were much more open then due to the grazing of cattle and sheep for many years.

The hike will end at the Craggy Gardens picnic area early in the afternoon after a short hike though the old growth birch trees and fern patches just above the picnic area.

Those participating are asked to bring their lunch and plenty of water. Wear good hiking shoes and socks and long pants. It is also best to bring sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, hiking poles, rain gear, and any personal medications that may be needed. Please have all gear not being worn in a day pack to keep hands free while hiking.

Reservations are required. To register please contact the museum at 669-9566 or by emailing Cost is $35 for members of the museum and $50 for nonmembers.