Appalachian Trail - North Carolina - Deep Gap to Betty Creek Gap
Nearest Town: Hayesville, North Carolina
Trailhead Location: USFS 71 Parking lot ( top of dirt road)
Trail Length: Approx. 12.2
Trail Marker: White Blaze
Directions: Take US 64 to USFS 71. The road will quickly turn to gravel. Continue along USFS 71 until the top where there is parking for the Appalachian Trail at Deep Gap.
Before our cross country trip this summer we did some backpacking along another small section of the Appalachian Trail. This section follows my previous post on the Appalachian trail in North Carolina from Deep Gap to Betty Creek Gap or just South of it actually. Looking at a map of the A.T. you can see the trail seems to want to return to Georgia at the Deep Gap/Standing Indian area where it hooks southeast towards Georgia before correcting and heading northwest further on into NC.
In my opinion, the A.T. becomes more forgiving along this stretch compared to the 81 or so miles in Georgia (including the Approach Trail). There are some moderate climbs and descents but nothing too brutal. Views of the surrounding mountains are possible ( trail right ) on the ridge beyond Carter Gap where a rock outcropping clears out a natural lookout. We stopped here for a while on the way out and took some pictures. One of which is at the top of this post. For me, this was the highlight of the trail and made it well worth the trek in and out.
We ended up camping about 3/4 of a mile beyond the lookout along a ridge just off the trail. We had a group of 5 this time so the spot we found worked out well. It was spacious enough for our five tents and a fire ring.
One thing we all found amusing that night while sitting around the fire was that someone had buried several sardine cans just below the surface right next to our tents. Call me over cautious but I don’t like giving bears any reason to want to visit when I’m camping! The next morning it was clear so we were able to look off the ridge at what I think is called Pickens Nose on the next ridge.
There are quite a few trails which intersect with the Appalachian Trail along this stretch like the Timber Ridge Trail, Kimsey Trail etc.. so if your looking for a good day hike this area has a lot to offer.
Here is the mileage for the various key points you’ll come across along this portion of the trail:
|Betty Creek Gap||94.6|
|Carter Gap Shelter||90.9|
|Timber Ridge Trail||90.5|
|Lower Trail Ridge Trail, Standing Indian Mountain||84.8|
|Standing Indian Shelter||83.3|
|Deep Gap, USFS 71||82.4|