If you have ever driven on Route US-321 towards Lenoir, North Carolina, you likely have seen the big hill perched in the horizon. At 2,211 feet above the surrounding topography, the Summit of Hibriten Mountain marks the western most point of the Brushy Mountain Range and is home to one of the most important fire towers in Western North Carolina.
The 5 mile hike up and back to the summit of the mountain begins at a small parking lot graciously provided for use to hikers by a private land owner. At the most there are 5-6 parking spots available so make sure to get here early especially on weekends as this is a very popular hiking and walking spot among the local college students. The parking lot specifically says no overnight parking is allowed on the premises and towing would be unforced.
After parking follow the paved road for about 200 feet before you reach the entrance to the trail. A map is located to the right of the fence and there is a little opening on the left where you can pass.
The trail is relatively wide and weaves between wooded areas and open spots. If you are hiking in the summer make sure to apply sunscreen and bring a lot of water. The incline is pretty steady and steep at times. A few shortcuts have been cut between the trees which can save you some walking but make sure that you are able to see where the other side ends, as a few of them lead nowhere.
You’ll know you are at the top of the mountain as the terrain becomes flatter. The trail leads you passed the electric tower and electricity buildings before opening to the stunning views of the valley which could best be taken in on the gliding platform.
Several rocks are conveniently located next to the platform and make for a great resting spot. Right by them is a memorial granite plaque that pays respect to the young hand glider Steve Green, who lost his life while test-flying a friend’s hand glider.
Perhaps the most impressive draw to the summit of Hibriten Mountain if not the spectacular views is the massive metal star/cross light display build in 1954 and first lit up for Christmas of the same year. Following the great success of it the Cross was lit up for Easter the following year.
Hibriten Mountain offers not only a great hang gliding opportunity, but great outdoor activity for all ages. The annual Hibriten Hill Run for children featuring a 5k and 10k race has grown in popularity in recent years bringing crowds of people from all over North Carolina supporting the great cause and challenging their skills.
We hope you’ll give this trail a go and if you do make sure to let us know how you liked it on our Facebook or Instagram Page. You can find the parking lot leading to the trail if you search Hibriten mountain, Lower Creek, NC 28645.