Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Iron Mountain Gap to Hughes Gap

Located high atop Iron Mountain on the TN/NC line is an old apple orchard, a remnant of a farm that once was here. There are now only a few remaining trees (see above), though efforts have been made to plant others in hopes of maintaining the area. I took the AT out to the first rock outcropping listed below for a nice out-and-back day hike. Along the way, I saw lots of wildflowers - including this beautiful patch of trillium. Most of the trail is moderate in terms of grade, although a few sections get somewhat steep. During winter months, this section of trail offers nice views of Roan Mountain to the east.

The AT section from Iron Mountain Gap to Hughes Gap is approximately 9 miles in length.
0.0 Mi. - TN 107/NC 226 - Small Parking Area at the state line (elev. 3723 ft.)
0.5 mi. - View of Pinnacle Mountain to the west (see previous post here)
0.8 Mi. - View of Unaka Mountain to the west (image right)
1.2 mi. - Old Apple Orchard
2.3 mi. - Rock outcropping (elev. 4426 ft.)
3.4 mi. - Reach summit of a knoll (elev. 4332 ft.)
4.1 mi. - Greasy Creek Gap
6.0 mi. - Blue trail to Clyde Smith Shelter (200 yards)
6.2 mi. - Reach summit of a knoll (elev. 4640 ft.)
6.8 mi. - Cliff overlook (Click here for images and discussion)
6.9 mi. - Reach high point of AT on Iron Mtn near Little Rock Knob (4918 ft. elevation)
9.1 mi. - Reach Hughes Gap (elev. 4040 ft.)

Directions: Take TN Route 107 (Limestone Cove Road) ten miles east from Unicoi, TN, or NC Route 226, four miles west from Buladean, NC to the state line, where there is a wide gravel pull off area. After parking, look toward the TN side and across the road and you'll see where the AT heads north toward Hughes Gap.

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