Summary: The hike begins at Sams Gap and hike North on the AT. At 2.0 mi the trail crests a hill with a small campsite on the right then emerges for your first look at Big Bald. At 2.6 mi you reach Street Gap the AT follows a dirt road and leaves the CNF. At 3.6 mi the AT reenters the CNF and descends along the side of a ridge. At 3.8 there's a campsite and a blue blazed trail for water. At 4.0 mi is Low Gap. At 4.5 mi the trail reaches another ridge top and provides another view of Big Bald. At 6.5 mi you reach the edge of Big Bald and follow white blazes on post to stay on the AT. At 6.8 mi is the high knob of Big Bald and a great lunch spot. At 7.9 mi is blue blazed trail for the Big Bald Shelter. At 8.3 mi is another campsite and water source. After a few ups and downs you climb Little Bald at 9.3 mi. There are many wildflowers here. At 11.6 is a side trail to High Rocks which offers more great views. Backtrack to the AT from here is a 2-mile hike down to Spivey Gap.
Trailhead: For a car shuttle hike:
One car at Sams Gap: From Irwin take I-26 for 20 miles and Exit for US 23, parking area for AT. Look for AT sign and blazes and hike North.
One car at Spivey Gap: From Irwin take US S to Exit 12. Turn left to go under US 23, and immediatley turn right onto US 19W/TN 352. Im 1.0 mi turn left onto US 19W (Spivey Gap Rd) and go south for 7.6 mi. After passing state border at gap crest and USFS Spivey Gap Rec Area sign go 0.3 mi farther to large gravel pullout on right.
For alternative one car hike; park at Sams Gap and hike north to Big Bald for an out and back for a 13.6 mile hike as well (Lat:35.95497 Lon:-82.56084)
Trail Guides for AT Sams Gap to Spivey Gap:
Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Georgia North Carolina Tennessee (Exploring the Appalachian Trail)
by Doris Gove (Stackpole Books)
White Blaze Fever
by Bill Schutte (Virtualbookworm.com)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Watauga Ranger Station 423-735-1500
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Bobby Trotter, who has posted 74 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by as on 6/26/2011
loved this hike...
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Keys: Tennessee Hiking, Tennessee Trails, Tennessee Hikes, Unicoi County Hiking, Unicoi County Trails, Unicoi County Hikes