Trail: Crawford Path > Appalachian Trail
Miles: 9.8
Hours: 5:15 of hiking; 6:45 total
Level: Moderate

May 27, 2017

The trail to Mt. Pierce (4,311’) and Mt. Eisenhower (4,780’) is not considered a loop but can be done as a loop if you either have two cars or walk 2.3 miles on the road. We did not have two cars nor did we want to walk on the road, so we chose to hike this as an out-and-back trail summiting Mt. Pierce first.

NOTE: The trail gains over 3,000 feet of elevation over 5 miles, so it isn’t super difficult, but there are quite a few steep sections.

All I wanted for my birthday (May 25th) was to hike, so that’s exactly what we did! Alex and I began this hike around 10:30 AM on a cloudy day with high humidity. I read that Mt. Eisenhower has one of the best summit views, so we began the hike hoping the clouds would disperse once we reached the summit. It was a bit chilly for a May morning, so we packed layers knowing the summit would have even cooler temps. The beginning of the hike was uneventful until about 0.6 miles in when we reached a small path pointing to Gibbs Falls. The waterfall wasn’t huge but it was beautiful!

Soon after we finished taking pictures of the falls, it began to drizzle. I wasn’t the happiest bee in the hive. However, I quickly got over it as I began seeing the beauty it created. As I said before, it was a humid day, so there was so much fog. The trail was covered in moss, which was beautiful in itself, but the fog and mist made the forest seem magical! I took a few pictures along the way while Alex kept stopping to take A MILLION pictures. As much as I love him, I was becoming annoyed with having to stop every five seconds to photograph moss… I’m not sure how many pictures one needs of moss, but Alex apparently needed a million. (His pictures came out gorgeous by the way, so I should have just let him do his thing rather than complain- sorry Alex!) The rest of the trail to Mt. Pierce’s summit climbed steadily with a few breaks.

Foggy Trail to Mt. Pierce -  Photo by alex iby

Foggy Trail to Mt. Pierce - Photo by alex iby

After hiking for what seemed like an eternity, we finally reached the top of Mt. Pierce around 12:30 PM. It was very cloudy which limited the views, so we didn’t stay too long. The beginning of the ridge to Mt. Eisenhower was a nice break from the steep inclines. There was even some snow on the trail! The ridge had a few viewpoints, but the clouds were so thick, we couldn’t see 10 feet off the cliff. The last 0.4 miles to Mt. Eisenhower’s summit is tough. The trail becomes very steep with rock scrambles. The rocks were slippery from the rain which made for an even more fun climb (JK)!

When we reached the summit around 1:15 PM, I was so disappointed. The view consisted of gray masses. The clouds hadn’t cleared up one bit. I pouted for a bit while eating my lunch. Alex decided to enjoy my silent treatment by meditating. I wanted to head back down the trail, but Alex said we should wait. About 20 minutes later, the clouds began to move, and I was jumping for joy!! Eventually, the clouds dispersed leaving us with INCREDIBLE views. I was so happy I almost cried – seriously. It was one of the most beautiful 360° views we had seen. Now it was my turn to take a million pictures, but how could I not with the view?!

After enjoying the amazing view and wiping away my happy tears, we began our descent back to Mt. Pierce around 2:30 PM. The lookout points on the ridge were as beautiful as we thought they would be and made the hike back more enjoyable. We reached Mt. Pierce around 3:00 PM and stayed for about 15 minutes. The summit didn’t have 360° views, but it was still beautiful.

The hike down was tiring. Our muscles did not enjoy the cooler temperature at the summits. The descent felt like it took 8 hours because all we wanted was our car, warmth, and more food (yes- we eat a lot). We had to be careful, though, since everything was still wet. It made for some tough patches once we got to the steeper sections. We finally reached the car around 5:15 PM. We beat our ascent time only by 15 minutes, but we were happy about it!

Overall, it was a challenging but very rewarding hike. And it doesn’t hurt that we crossed two 4,000-footers off! I would definitely recommend this hike, even if you choose to do one summit.

Have you hiked these two peaks together, or did you hike them separately? If you have any questions/comments, please leave them below!