Hiking Trombatore Trail
Trombatore Trail is a 2.4 mile (each way) trail that leads to Blue Ridge Pastures, a grassy bald with spectacular views. The trail offers a vigorous hike with considerable up-and-down elevation change, through a forest with clear mountain streams. When you reach Blue Ridge Pastures, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the Hickory Nut Gorge and Bearwallow Mountain. If you want to continue your hike, the Trombatore Trail now connects to the new Strawberry Gap Trail.
Length: 2.4 miles one way, 4.8 round trip
Great For: Hiking, Views, Photography, Wildflowers, Picnics
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How to Get to the Trombatore Trail
The trailhead is on Bearwallow Road, near Fairview, NC. It is directly across the road from the Bearwallow Mountain trailhead.
The Trombatore Trail starts at the same parking area as Bearwallow Mountain Trail. Please respect the adjacent property owner by not blocking the gate, road, or driveway across from the parking area or using it to turn around. The trail begins on the same side of the road as the gravel parking area, opposite the Bearwallow Mountain trailhead.
Trombatore Trail Map
What to Look For on the Trail
- Giant buckeye tree, estimated more than 150 years old
- Clear mountain streams that flow into Upper Brush Creek
- Blue Ridge Pastures, a grassy bald at the end of the trail
- Phenomenal views of the Hickory Nut Gorge
- Views of Mt. Mitchell on a clear day
Please keep in mind that these trails cross private land, which the landowners have generously opened to the public. Please show respect for the landowners, your fellow hikers, and the natural community.
- Stay on designated trails/areas.
- Keep pets on leash and under control.
- No dogs are allowed past Blue Ridge Pastures (mile marker 3 and start of Strawberry Gap Trail)
- Do not disturb plants, animals, or other natural or cultural resources.
- No campfires or camping
- No hunting, trapping, or firearms
- Hiking only. No bikes, horses, or motorized vehicles.
- Park in designated areas only. Vehicles outside of this area will be towed at owner’s expense.
- No commercial activity (unless permitted by Conserving Carolina)
- Trail open dawn to dusk
- No alcohol or illegal substances.
- Do not litter. Pack in, pack out. This includes dog poop! Bag your pet’s poop and carry it out with you.
- Hike at your own risk.
Hiking the Trombatore Trail
The Trombatore Trail begins at the Bearwallow Gap trailhead, on the opposite side of the road as the Bearwallow Mountain trailhead. You will pass through the Upper Brush Creek watershed on your way to the exceptionally scenic Blue Ridge Pastures.
After passing the trailhead kiosk, hike down toward Upper Brush Creek via a series of switchbacks. After about a half mile, you can see a picturesque tree with a uniquely curved trunk. Only 100 yards past that, the trail passes another interesting tree. Look below you to the right to spot a giant buckeye that is the largest tree on the entire property. Its many burls may be the reason that loggers who once timbered the tract chose to leave it standing. The tree now stands more than 100 feet tall and is likely more than 150 years in age.
At 1.1 miles, the single-track trail junctions with a grassy road. Turn right and follow the road uphill, following signs at several more junctions until trail resumes as a single-track path, 1.8 miles in. Another uphill climb will take you to the grassy meadow of Blue Ridge Pastures at 2.4 miles. Turn left and walk to the summit to enjoy panoramic views of the Hickory Nut Gorge, including Bearwallow Mountain, Florence Nature Preserve, Little Pisgah Mountain, and Wildcat Rock. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountains to the north.
At Blue Ridge Pastures, the Trombatore Trail connects to the new Strawberry Gap Trail. If you’re ready to go back to your car after enjoying the beauty of Blue Ridge Pastures, you can simply hike back the way you came. Because this hike to Blue Ridge Pastures involves both a descent and an ascent, keep in mind that the return trip to the trailhead is also strenuous. The out-and-back hike is nearly 5 miles with more than 1,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain—with much of that on the way back!
If you decide to continue on Strawberry Gap, be prepared for the steep hike back over both trails.
Shuttle Hike of Trombatore and Strawberry Gap
You also have the option to set up a shuttle hike starting from the Bearwallow/Trombatore parking area. You can leave a car at the Strawberry Gap parking area—a convenient shuttle with short drive times between the start and end points. This shuttle hike is 5.4 miles long and predominantly downhill.
Land Conservation and Trail Building
The Trombatore Trail is named for the Trombatore family, who generously donated a public trail easement across their land. While this is private land, they made it open to the public to share the natural wonders of their property.
Blue Ridge Pastures is protected by a conservation easement held by Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. It is also on private land that is open to the public for hiking.
Future Trail Expansion Plans
In partnership with Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Conserving Carolina plans to extend the hiking opportunities from the end of the Trombatore Trail with the future Blue Ridge Pastures Trail, which will continue three miles to Hickory Nut Gap on Highway 74A. Construction of this trail is planned to begin in 2019. Our vision is to eventually create a 20 mile loop trail in the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge as part of the emerging 130+ mile Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail network.
If you enjoy natural places like the Trombatore Trail, please consider making a gift to Conserving Carolina. Your support helps us protect more great places and build more trails so we can all get out and enjoy the mountains!
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Trombatore connects to more awesome trails. And there are many more places where you can get outside to hike, picnic, paddle, mountain bike, walk your dogs—whatever you love to do in nature!