View – the top of High Windy provides a view of the Swannanoa River valley including the town of Black Mountain, the Seven Sisters ridge to Graybeard Mountain and the high mountains of the BRP to the north. Other view spots on the trail overlook parts of Fairview and the Swannanoa Valley.
Hike Profile – the out and back hike is a continuous moderate ascent that is strenuous at times up to a ridge in the Blue Ridge Mountain range that is a part of the Eastern Continental Divide. The end of the hike is the highest point on the ridge at an elevation of 4334 feet where a telecommunications tower is located. There are other view spots that can be visited on the return to the trailhead.
Trail Surface – the trail is generally wide and quite well worn so is mostly dirt with some loose rocks in places.
Environment – the trail starts out by a mountain steam but then climbs steadily through a woodland of tall trees with some rhododendron and laurel.
Navigation – there are a number intersecting trails in the Blue Ridge Assembly hiking area. However the High Windy Trail is marked with signs or wands and is easy to follow. On the return trip at the point on the ridge where the High Windy trail goes right and starts the steep descent off the ridge, if you continue straight for a short distance you will come to a good view spot on the left and another view spot on the right a little farther down. To continue the return trip to the trailhead, backtrack until you come back to the High Windy trail and take a left to start the descent.
At this point you have an option for the return route. You can return on the same route as the ascent or you can moderate the steepness of the descent by following the High Windy trail down off the ridge until you see a trail branching off to the right. This trail goes past another view spot and eventually connects with the Carolina Loop trail and returns to the shelter at the intersection of the High Windy trail. Refer to the High Windy Alternate route on the trail map. The trail statistics assume the alternate descent route.
Directions to Trailhead – take US 70 west from the town of Black Mountain, turn left on Blue Ridge Road and in about a half mile turn right onto Blue Ridge Assembly Drive on the right. This road leads directly into the entrance of the facility. Continue on the entrance road until you come to Gym Road on the right. Follow this road a short distance and take a right onto Cottage Circle and go up the side of Lee Hall. Park in the area behind (uphill side) of Lee Hall. To reach the trailhead walk up the paved road that goes uphill from Lee Hall past the amphitheater. Take a right onto a dirt road and walk another short distance to the trailhead. The trailhead is well-marked and is located at a sharp bend to the right on the dirt road.