Summary: After arranging a car shuttle, start the trail by heading north on the Appalachian Trail from Garenflo Gap. The first one mile is a steep ascent of about 1,000 feet. The trail is clearly marked and there are a few vistas during the fall and winter months when the leaves are down. Then gradually descend to the Deer Park Mountain Shelter at the 3 mile mark. This is a nice area to relax, have a fire and eat lunch. There is a small spring/creek w/in 100 meters of the shelter. After the shelter stop, start a steep climb of about 300 feet, then start a straight down hill hike of 1,200 feet, over a two mile stretch into the city of Hot Springs. There are some nice views of the city during the descent.
Trailhead: It is necessary to park a car at the USFS parking area on the north end of Hot Springs, where the Appalachian Trail enters the town.The trail head can be reached, with another vehicle, by taking Hwy 209 south out of Hot Springs. At approximately 6 miles, turn right onto Bluff Road and follow about 1 mile until it dead ends at a gate. There is parking for about 5 cars and there is a sign noting the Appalachian Trail. (Lat:35.51 Lon:-82.52)
Trail Guides for Garenflo Gap to Hot Springs:
North Carolina Hiking Trails
by Allen de Hart (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Appalachian/French Broad Ranger District, 828-622-3202
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Tom Duchac, who has posted 23 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Bob on 3/7/2008
This is a beautiful easy-moderate family hike. The Deer Park Mountain shelter is in a very pretty area. I suggest hiking Shut In Trail (2 mi) up to Garenflo Gap, which makes the total hike 8.6 miles. To reach the trailhead, take 25/70 north out of Hot Springs and turn left on Upper Shut In Road.
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