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Swain County North Carolina Hiking Trails

Yellow Creek Mountain Trail

Pets must be restrained or on a leash at all times while in developed recreation areas.

Nantahala National Forest

Length: 9.3  miles
Rating: Strenuous

The trailhead is marked by signs and a small footbridge that crosses Meadows Branch. You will begin a steep switchback climb to the ridge line. Just short of 1½ miles you will be in Bearpen Gap with overhead power lines as a landmark. Scenic views will vary with the seasons of the year. Generally you will have views of the Cheoah River and Cheoah Valley. There are a number of old roads and trails that intersect Yellow Creek Mountain Trail. These should be avoided. The trail is marked with a blue blaze on trail side trees. At 1.8 miles you will come to SR-1249, Oldfield Gap Road. Cross this road and take a left to go up to another ridge line.

From this point on it is a series of up and down slopes through several gaps. At 7¾ miles you will come to the trail intersection with Lookout Rock Trail which leads to Fontana Village. At 9.3 miles you arrive at the terminus of Yellow Creek Mountain Trail. Here it intersects with the Appalachian Trail. At this point you can backtrack; go 2.7 miles north on the AT to Highway 28 above the Fontana Village swimming pool; or go south on the AT for 3.7 miles to Tuskeegee Road at Yellow Creek Gap. Transportation arrangement would have to be made for your pickup at either of these through points.


The Yellow Creek Mountain Trail is located about 15 miles from Robbinsville. Take Highway 129 North to Tapoco. As your driving along the Cheoah River, on your right look for the Meadows Branch intersection with Highway 129. The trailhead is just a short distance form the highway. Park on the roadside of Highway 129 and walk to the trailhead on Meadows Branch road. The trailhead is located on Meadows Road about 25 yards from the intersection with Highway 129.

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