Hike the Iron Mountain Gap to Hughes Gap

Rate this Adventure North Carolina Iron Mountain Gap Trailhead

Added by The Outbound Collective

Take in amazing views of Pisgah National Forest, Iron Mountain, and the Appalachian Trail on this 9 mile hike.

You will start this hike at a small parking area at the state line (~3700 feet). From here the first thing you'll see is the view of Pinnacle Mountain and Unaka Mountain to the west. Take the time to shoot these from different angels.

Not much happens for another 2 miles (some orchards and random outcroppings) and decent elevation gains. About 4 miles in you will reach Greasy Creek Gap, which may be a good place to stop and eat a little and rehydrate. Then in another 2 miles you will see the Blue Trail to the Clyde Smith Shelter, you will also see the start to a cliff overlook which is great for photos.

In another mile you will reach the high point of the Appalachian Trail on Iron Mountain near Little Rock Knob. Continue on for another 2 miles until you reach the Hughes Gap at a final elevation of 4040 feet.


Directions: Take TN Route 107 (Limestone Cove Road) ten miles east from Unicoi, TN, or NC Route 226, four miles west from Buladean, to the 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.

Photos: Brenda Wiley, Brenda Wiley, Rebecca

Pack List

  • Hiking gear
  • Hiking boots
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Sunblock
  • Hat/ sunglasses
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



9 Miles

Elev. Gain:

300 Feet


Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby

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Added by The Outbound Collective

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