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  1. #1

    Default Day Hiking on AT near Wolf Laurel, NC

    Help!! I am having a difficult time trying to find a map of the area of the AT that runs right by Wolf Laurel Ski Resort up in Mars Hill, North Carolina. I am going up there the weekend of March 9-11 and want to do a day hike on the AT while I am up there but have had little to no luck finding any information on exactly where the trailhead is for getting on the AT from Wolf Laurel. Anyone ever been up in this are that can give me some pointers or know which website to send me to to get a map/information on this area of the AT? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all.

    Steph

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by love2runusa View Post
    Help!! I am having a difficult time trying to find a map of the area of the AT that runs right by Wolf Laurel Ski Resort up in Mars Hill, North Carolina. I am going up there the weekend of March 9-11 and want to do a day hike on the AT while I am up there but have had little to no luck finding any information on exactly where the trailhead is for getting on the AT from Wolf Laurel. Anyone ever been up in this are that can give me some pointers or know which website to send me to to get a map/information on this area of the AT? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all.

    Steph
    I've only been through that area once, but I'm looking at my map (Tennessee-North Carolina MAP 3 Indian Grave Gap to Allen Gap dtd 2005).

    I don't see how you can get there via Wolf Laurel Ski Resort, but from Mars Hill, N.C. You can go north on I-26 (9 or 10 miles) at which point it crosses the AT (Sam's Gap). It also crosses US Highway 23. According the the map there is a parking area if you take a right on US 23, maybe 0.1 mile from the trail.
    If you walk north on the AT there are some good views on Big Bald (~6 miles) and High Rocks, another 4 miles from BB.

    If you have two cars you can park one at Sam's Gap and the other one at Spivey Gap, which is on US 19W and also has a parking area. The total distance from Sam's Gap to Spivey Gap is about 13 miles.

    CLARIFICATION: Spivey Gap is north on the AT from Sam's Gap. You will pass one shelter: Bald Mtn Shelter (~7 miles from Sam's Gap).

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    Spot on John Gault,
    Wolf Laurel slopes are visible from the AT, and the Trail Head at Sams Gap is only appx 5 miles from the resort. Any day hike starting at Sams Gap is gonna start on a pretty good uphill ascent and to reach the Big Bald and get back to Sams would be pretty aggresive (around 13 mile rounder). High rock and Hogback shelter to the south is little more friendly (4 or 5 mile rounder.)

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    I know that you can access the AT from Wolf Laurel because when doing trail maintenance on that section a few years ago we drove through Wolf Laurel to access the trail on Big Bald. I don't remember quite how we did it, but I am sure anyone at Wolf Laurel can tell you. There is a gravel road that runs from Wolf Laurel up to the bald. The hike either way from the road is nice.

    Julie

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    My wife a I drove through the gate at Wolf Laurel and went to the back side of the resort and walked up the gravel road to the AT. There is no trail head parking and we were there only a hour or so. The closest trail head would be at Sams Gap and we had a hard time finding the trail head there. That is why we ended up going into Wolf Laurel. The AT at Wolf Laurel is one of the Balds and is close to Bald Mountain shelter.

  6. #6

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    I've done that hike a few times. The old way was to use I-26 where there is a semi pull off in Sams gap. However if you look out from the semi pull off you can see the real trail head off of old hwy 23. Mapquest Mars Hill to give you an idea of the area. It looks like exit 3 might be the one. I would not use I-26 as you have to go down to Tennessee and turn around not to mention the planners of why 26 probably would like you to use the real trail head on old 23. Its a nice hike from sams gap to big bald. As far as using wolf laurel as the trail head, I guess you could email wolf laurel for info.
    TB
    Madness does not always howl. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "Hey, is there room in your head for one more?"

  7. #7
    Easy Strider, section hiker hiker33's Avatar
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    I maintain the section from the Wolf Laurel access road at Big Stamp ("Double Springs") to the top of Little Bald. Wolf Laurel has really tightened up on gate access in the past year or so. Unless you know someone who owns property there you won't likely be allowed through the gate. Closest access, as others have said, is from Street Gap or Spivey Gap, either of which makes a long day hike.
    Last edited by hiker33; 02-25-2007 at 11:58. Reason: typo
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    If you know the hermit of Big Bald, one of the shelter maintainers, you could walk up with him.

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    There's a church and a road north of Spivey Gap. Up that road is a trail that leads to Big Bald Shelter. Ask the locals.

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    Easy Strider, section hiker hiker33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Blazer View Post
    There's a church and a road north of Spivey Gap. Up that road is a trail that leads to Big Bald Shelter. Ask the locals.
    About 0.3 miles north of the shelter there's a side trail to the west leading to a spring, which I also maintain. From the spring there appears to be an old, overgrown trail continuing down into TN. I assume this leads to the same road.

    How close can you drive to the shelter, Gray? I pack out a lot of party trash from the shelter, so I have always figured there was access somewhere other than through Wolf Laurel.
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    Default AT from Wolf Laurel

    Are you planning to go skiing at Wolf Laurel? If you are going to be a paying guest, I suggest you ask the guard at the entrance gate how to get up to the AT. There is a heavy gate separating the Wolf Laurel resort from the AT. The entrance gate guards have a key. They might not want to loan it to someone who is not there on official AT business. I think you can hike around the gate -- not sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hiker33 View Post
    About 0.3 miles north of the shelter there's a side trail to the west leading to a spring, which I also maintain. From the spring there appears to be an old, overgrown trail continuing down into TN. I assume this leads to the same road.

    How close can you drive to the shelter, Gray? I pack out a lot of party trash from the shelter, so I have always figured there was access somewhere other than through Wolf Laurel.
    Yeah, that's the trail. You can see the church from the overlook on Little Bald. The hermit told me he lived down there. He told me he maintains the log at the shelter. You'll have to ask someone who lives on that church road where the trailhead is. Thanks for maintaining that trail. One of my favorite sections. One of these days I'm gonna get rewarded with a sunrise on Big Bald. Just fog so far. I don't know if you noticed, but one of the slides in the WB screensaver looks like a section between Whistling Rocks and Big Bald.

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