Parking on the TN/NC Appalachian Trail

Section 4 - Wilbur Dam Road to Dennis Cove Road (USFS 50) Displayed from North to South

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  Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club chair @ Damascus, VA to Spivey Gap, NC

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Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles Map   &  
Wilbur Dam Road
  Poor            Great

From Elizabethton, take Hwy 91 toward Shady Valley, continue for approximately 4 miles and turn right onto Blue Springs Rd. When Blue Springs curves sharply to the left (approx. 1 mi.), go straight onto Steel Bridge Rd. After 0.8 miles, turn right and go across the Steel Bridge, then follow signs to Wilbur and Watauga Dams. The trail is .9 mile before Watauga Dam visitor building. picnic tables, restrooms, short walk to view of dam and "morning glory" valve. 2/1/06 4
The marker on the attached map inicates the point where the AT crosses the road to Watuga Dam. This is the south end of section 3 and the north end of section 4. 11/20/08 1
at @
From the intersection of US 19E and US 321 in Hampton, proceed northwest on the latter about 2 miles to the community of West Point. Go right on Siam Road. Thre is a sign for Watuga and Wilbur Lakes here. Follow Siam Road 4 miles to a T intersection. Go right here. I think this is still called Siam Road, but somewhere the name changes to Wilbur Dam Road. In about another mile at another T intersection, go right. Pass Wilbur Dam and cross a bridge over one arm of the reservoir. Just beyond this bear left. Again there is a sign for Watuga Lake. The road starts to climb. The AT crossing is at the top of the climb. I believe there are hiker logos just before the crossing. The parking lot alluded to in the AT Guide to TN/NC is about 5 parallel parking spaces on the north side of the road. Thre is a sign for the AT on the north side of the road announcing that this is Iron Mountain Gap (different from the one in Section 8/9).. Total distance from the intersection of US 19E and Siam Road is 8.8 miles (by my odometer). Note: One could also go southeast on US 19E from Elizabethton to West Point and the intersection with Siam Road. There are actually several routes that one could take but this is one I know works. The southbound trail meets the road at the parking area, goes right for about a hundred feet, then goes left into the woods. 10/27/09 5-6 1
dlcul @
Shook Branch Recreation Area
  Poor            Great

See next listing (Mile 4.2) for directions to the Shook Branch Recreation Area on Watuga Lake. There is a fee to enter. Drive to the circle at the end of the road. The point is indicated by the gren arrow on the attached map. Parking is along the road. The park is apparently only open during daylight arrows and thus would probably be unsuitable for overnight parking. The southbound AT comes out of the woods just to the west of the end of the road in the recreation area.. The trail follows the road a short distance, goes across a grassy area, then goes right through a strip of woods to meet US 321/TN 67 at the intersection with Shook Branch Road). 12/04/09 Ample 1
dlcul @
US 321/TN 67
  Poor            Great

The AT is easily accessible from US 321 at the southwest corner of Watauga Lake. It should also be noted that hikers should park at the highway not on the side roads near private residences. 2/1/06 10
From the intersection of US 19 E and US 321/TN 67 in Hampton, go east on the latter. The crossing is about 3 miles further according to the Google Map. (My car did not tenths of miles on the odometer so I could not get an accurate distance). There are hiker logos on signs just before the crossing. Parking is available about 0.1 miles to the west on the north side of the highway. This is at the sign for Cherokee National Forest. One may continue a little further on the highway then go into the Shook Branch Recreation area and park there. SEE MILE 6.1
From the Shook Branch Recreation Area the southbound trail passes through a thin strip of woods to reach US 321/ TN 67 at the intersection with Shook Branch Road (Marker A). The latter is followed south. Click on the camera icon at A to see the vicinity of the intersection. Marker B is at the parking area (Marker B). Click on the camera icon by B and rotate to the north to northeast to see the parking area. 12/04/09 8-10 at area along highway 1
dlcul @
Hampton Blueline Trail
  Poor            Great

This is a blue-blazed trail. Vandalism has occurred to cars parked overnight at this trailhead. 2/3/2006
From the intersection of US 19E and US 321/ TN 67 on Hampton, follow the latter east about 1.5 to the trail head for the Hampton Blueline Trail which is on the right side of the road. There is a USFS sign calling this the Laurel Fork Trailhead. The marker on the attached map is close to the entrance to the parking area. Rotate the street view to the east to see that entrance which is on the right. The Hampton Blueline trail reaches the AT in about a mile. The parking area is about 1.5 miles from the AT crossing of US 321/ TN 67. This route avoids the long climb and descent on Pond Mountain. It is 6 miles via the AT from US 321/ TN 67 to the intersection with this trail. 11/20/08 10-15 1
dlcul @
Dennis Cove USFS 50
  Poor            Great

Paved USFS 50 is 4.1 miles from US 321 at Hampton, TN 2/1/06 10
01/29/08 1
at @
From the intersection of US 19E and US 321, follow the latter north (actually compass east). In 0.8 miles go right towards Dennis Cove. There are signs to Dennis Cove. I forgot to record the mileage from this intersection to Dennis Cove, but according to the Google map, it is 4 miles over a paved but narrow and winding road. The parking area is on the left. The northbound AT (to Section 4) goes left (if coming from Hampton) from the parking lot towards Laurel Falls. The southbound trail follows the road about 100 feet past the parking area, then goes right into Section 5. 07/13/09 6-8
dlcul @

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Page last updated: 9/19/2016 3:21:47 PM