Hikes close by
hiking trail on old logging road. Take NC 226A to
Fish Hatchery Road
(1443). Trail head
begins past hatchery parking lot. Distance 6 miles, easy-moderate.
BAD FORK 2940 ft. Primitive trail connects with
Armstrong Creek Trails. Take NC 226A to
Fish Hatchery Road
(1443). Drive 3 miles
to trail head on left side at confluence of Bad Fork with Armstrong Creek.
Distance 8 miles, moderate.
3160 ft. Old logging road trail, with views of
, intersects Little Buck Creek Trail and ends at
Woods Mountain Trail. Take US 221, north of
Left on Tom's
(1434). Take first right onto dirt road. Trail head is second dirt road on left.
Distance 9 miles, easy-moderate.
BLUE RIDGE PINNACLE 5665
awesome views. Begin at swing-bar gate on road at Parkway Milepost 354.8.
Distance 3 miles, easy.
20-minute trail. Breathtaking views and unusual
hemlocks. Take I-40 westbound to
exit. Turn onto "Old US 70." Park at
Overlook. Distance 1 mile, moderate.
LEAD MINE GAP 3460 ft. Mixed forested environment with long range views.
Curtis Creek Road
from US 70, east of Old Fort. Continue about 8 1Z?2 miles to trail head. Trail
ends at Hickory Branch Trail, which after 2 miles rejoins
at lower point.
Distance 5 miles, moderate.
LINVILLE GORGE 3400
most scenic and rugged gorge. On NC 183 in village of Linville Falls, turn right
at dirt road (Kistler Memorial Highway, #1238) 3/4 mile from intersection with
US 221. There are multiple strenuous trails accessible from
. Obtain Linville
Gorge Wilderness Map from
Forest Service Grandfather District Office in Nebo, 828-652-2144
BUCK CREEK 3600 ft.
Excellent views of
. Take US 70, west of
. Turn right on NC 80 and go
. After crossing bridge over
lake headwaters, turn right onto dirt road. Turn left at first intersection and
go 1.5 miles to trail head (at turnout with USFS sign and gate). Distance 5.8
MACKEY MOUNTAIN 3400 ft. Excellent
views in bear sanctuary. Take
, off US 70, east of
Old Fort. Trail head is 9 miles at entrance to
. Distance 16 miles,
NEWBERRY CREEK 4300 ft. Scenic trail ends at Parkway. Take
, off US 70, east of
Old Fort. Left at
Newberry Creek Road
482A). Trail begins after 4 miles at end of road. Distance 5 miles,
WOODLAWN FITNESS TRAIL 1600 ft. Fitness trail consists of 7 stations, 2
exercises per station, on a 1/4 mile jogging path. Additional 1-mile loop
surrounds exercise trail.
6 miles north of
US 221. Trail is behind picnic area on left. Distance 1.25 miles, easy-moderate.
WOODS MOUNTAIN 3600 ft. Excellent views of
, Little Switzerland, Armstrong Creek watershed
area, and Table Rock from section of
's "Mountains to
Sea Trail." Trail begins near Buck Creek Gap overlook at intersection of
and NC 80. Trail may
be exited on US 221, at US Forest Service rest area near Woodlawn. Distance 13
YOUNG'S RIDGE 3165 ft. Trail begins at Old Fort Picnic Area. Incredible
where trail ends. From US 70, west of Old Fort, take first right onto
(1407). Old Fort
Picnic Area is several miles on left and marked by National Forest Sign.
Distance 7 miles, easy-moderate. Close to campground.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry
can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards
and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from
volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and
proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this
Hikers unfamiliar with local trails should acquire appropriate maps
from the US Forest
Service. For more hiking information, contact our local
Service office at 828-652-2144..
NC's Grand Canyon
Linville Gorge Wilderness Area
(Gravel Road, Steep and Winding, very tight for two cars)
This drive is worth the trip any time of the year, but it is absolutely incredible in the fall of the year. It will take at least 1/2 day to do this trip to give it justice. Pack a picnic lunch and have a picnic at Wiseman Overlook. Set your odometer you will be going 13 miles to the first major turn at Wal-Mart. From the campground go back to Exit 73 entrance and turn left to go into Old Fort, at the stop light after the railroad track turn right on Hwy 70. Follow this road to the intersection of Hwy 221, (next to Wal-Mart), turn left. You will follow 221 (21 miles) to Linville Falls turn right on Rt. 183. (There are several restaurants and gas station at this corner) Go 3/4 miles and Linville Gorge Wilderness Area entrance will be on your right. There is a welcome center at the start of the road. This road is a total of 15 miles and the most speed you should do is 10 miles per hour. You will come upon a fork in the road (within 1 mile after the visitor center) with a sign pointing to the left to Wiseman Overlook. Follow this sign to a parking area and follow the walking trail to the overlook. There is a bathroom in a small block building at the parking lot. There is also a wheel chair path; the path is paved and very good. I won't even try to describe this overlook, it is breathtaking. There is a grass area to have a picnic (watch your children, the overlook is on the edge of a long cliff). After returning to the road follow the road back down the mountain, there are many hiking trails along the way you can stop and enjoy Towards the bottom of the road you will see an incredible view of Lake James. The road will soon turn into a highway, at the first stop sign turn right on Hwy 126W follow this to Hwy 70W and turn right, this will take you into Marion. Turn right on Main St (the courthouse is on your left). Follow this through the five lane to Hwy 70W stop light (there are two left turning lanes) This will take you past Wal-Mart on your right and back to Old Fort.
Curtis Creek State Park
(Gravel road, Steep & Winding)
If you are wishing to drive on the Blue Ridge or visit Mt. Mitchell this is the
way to go. From the campground go back to Exit 73 entrance and turn left to go
into Old Fort, at the stop light after the railroad track turn right on Hwy 70.
Travel past Ethan Allen Plant and IAC Plant; make your first left after the IAC
plant and the Emergency Services, turn on Curtis Creek Road. Follow this road into the State park; the road will turn into gravel. This road winds and curves up the mountainside and will soon intersect the Blue Ridge hwy. Turn left; you will soon reach the entrance to Mt. Mitchell State Park on your right. Follow this road to the top. For your return trip you can continue west on the Blue Ridge Pkwy to Asheville or go back East to Little Switzerland or Boone. You can spend the entire day traveling the Pkwy and not see all the sights
Right here on the campground
The first trail up the mountain from Old Fort to Ridgecrest followed the
Catawba River. It was called the 'Suwali' trail. It may have been in use by the
Cherokee thousands of years before the Spanish explorers in 1550. The gap traversed by the trail was know as
"Suwali-Nunnaki". The first road followed this trail. It is believed
that a section of
this trail is still preserved and visible running through Catawba Falls Campground, on
Catawba River Road. Click on picture for a full size view. Come and walk the
In the early 1800s, the route between Old Fort and Ridgecrest was changed.
The stage coach traveled beside Mill Creek to the mouth of the Little Swannanoa
River by the Old Fort Picnic Grounds, and followed it to the Swannanoa Gap. The
Western Turnpike occupied the same roadbed.
When the Western Carolina Railroad was built a new stage road followed the
railroad through the Gap. It later became NC 10. Next came US 70, which curved
around the North side of the hills and ran past Point Lookout, which in turn,
overlooked the Royal Gorge.
In 1962, a section of I-40 was started, running straight up the slope from
Old Fort along the ridge between the two waterways, south of the Kitasuma Peak,
and through the gap to Ridgecrest, a new "Suwali-Nunnaki" (Story taken
from article by Binkie Adams, The News Bulletin, Old Fort, NC.)
There is no one else closer to these magnificent falls. Spend a day or two to
explore this one of a kind waterfall.