Hiking from Carver's Gap to Hwy. 19 on the AT

Carver's Gap Trailhead, Bakersville, North Carolina, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Point-to-Point

  • RT Distance:

    20.7 Miles

Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

This point to point hike from the Carver's Gap Trailhead is a challenging single day hike, but a great overnight or multi-day backpacking trip with a good exposure to the Appalachian Trail.

The AT from Carver's Gap to HWY 19 is about 14.5 miles, but with side adventures, it could be roughly 20 miles. The trail crosses the road and continues up about a 400 ft. elevation gain to the first of the balds. This section of the AT is beautiful at near 6000 ft. above sea level and you will get a great view of Roan Mountain. You can take some pictures at Round Bald and up to Jane Bald, giving you a full 360 degrees of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The trail travels 3.7 miles to the Stan Murray shelter and traverses down the ridge switchbacking through the woods. Next you will begin the to climb the rest of Little Hump Mountain, which will is tough. About a 1,000 ft. elevation gain over 2 miles or so. You will then come through the tree line and again there will be a 360 view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and possible high winds.

The climb to the top of Hump mountain can only be described as gnarly. It is straight up with a 400 ft. elevation gain in about .25 miles. From the top of Hump mountain you got a perfect view of Grandfather Mountain, Sugar Mountain, and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.

The rest of this section of trail was rolling until turning to left near a fence line. The next section of trail will go back down the ridge through the woods. After winding down the trail and going through switchback that drop almost 1500 feet in elevation the trail comes across a clearing where there was a campsite and a few opportunities to get a view of the area around Hwy. 19.

Its a .3 mile walk down the road back to Mountain Harbor, which is a great place to drop your car off or pay for shuttle service up to Carver's Gap or other areas of the AT.

Pack List

  • Backpacking gear
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking clothes (be prepared for wind)
  • Water/ purifier
  • Food
  • Headlamp
  • Stove
  • Utensils
  • Hat/ sunglasses
  • Sunblock
  • Gloves
  • Extra socks
  • Lighter
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Reviews

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I did this trip in two days. The first day we hiked to the Overmountain Shelter- highly recommend this option! Then we hiked the rest of the trail to 19E the second day. We shuttled to Carvers Gap by using the shuttle service provided by Mountain Harbor Hostel- I also highly recommend using these guys. When we got back to the hostel our car was safe and sound. Cars parked at the Carver Gap parking lot have been broken into and vandalized and being over 5 hours from home I didn't want to risk it. This is also a great option for a first time backpacker who really wants a good example of what backpacking can be like!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Great trip. Starts out with a pretty steep/rocky trek, then levels out. Spent night at the Overmountain Shelter--amazing views and would make sure to crash there for the night for the view, though does make for a little bit of a short day 1/longer day 2. Views from Little Hump and Big Hump are great--be wary of false summits and push on to the top. After Big Hump, a good bit of downhill elevation change.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This was a great hike with awesome views but be prepared for the heavy winds and steep climbs! Total mileage is a little more than 15 miles.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

This is a mid-level 2-3 day trip, but just super fun and mellow and great for your intro into overnight trekking

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Jess Fischer Explorer

A little adventurer with a big love for the great outdoors.

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