TNC §9: Iron Mountain Gap (TN-107/NC-226) to Nolichucky River

Tennessee-North Carolina §9 spans 20.1 miles. Parking is available for eight mileposts.

Mp 0.0/20.1: TN-107/NC-226

Locate: {36.14287, -82.23304}

Orient: The AT crosses TN-107/NC-226 in Iron Mountain Gap at the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. North of the border, the road is TN-107; south of the border, it is NC-226. The crossing is 11.2 mi southeast of I-26 in Unicoi, TN, and 3.8 mi northwest of Hughes Gap Road [NC-1330] in Buladean, NC (see Mp 0.0/20.1, above). From I-26 at exit 32: follow TN-173 southeast for 1.0 mi to left onto TN-107; continue on TN-107 for 10.1 mi to pull-off on right, at junction with John Goodin Road (dirt) on right. Or from US-19E at US-321 in Hampton: follow US-19E south for 4.4 mi to right onto TN-173 [Simerly Creek Road]; follow TN-173 for 6.5 mi to left onto TN-107; continue on TN-107 for 4.6 mi to pull-off on right.

Park: The AT coincides with the road briefly between northbound and southbound footpaths. Parking is available in two pull-offs on the west side of TN-107/NC-226 at each junction of road and footpath. Room for 15 cars in pull-off opposite junction of road and northbound footpath; this is north of John Goodin Road. Room for 4–5 cars in pull-off adjacent to junction of road and southbound footpath; this is south of John Goodin Road.

Mp 7.4/12.7: FR-230 [Unaka Mountain Road]

Locate: {36.12751, -82.30862}

Orient: The AT skirts FR-230, here Unaka Mountain Road, 3.2 mi northeast of TN-395/NC-197 in Indian Grave Gap; see Mp 11.8/8.3, below.

Park: Look for several pull-offs in vicinity, each with room for a couple of cars.

Connect: Find AT via short track(s) south from road. For AT northbound, turn left. For AT southbound, turn right.

Note: Gravel FR-230 connects TN-395/NC-197 at Indian Grave Gap in Erwin with TN-107 at Red Fox Road in Unicoi, over about twelve miles. The AT guidebook reports inconsistency in maintenance, so that the road's suitability for standard-clearance vehicles may be hit-or-miss. The Stackpole guide describes the road as rough and rocky but does suggest that it is passable. The AT-P/A notes suggest that the 2–3 mi drive eastward from Indian Grave Gap to Mp 7.4/12.7, Mp 8.0/12.1, and Mp 9.5/10.6 enjoys a well-graded road safe for standard-clearance cars. Those notes also remark that the 8–9 mi westward drive from TN-107 in Unicoi may be rough in places. Thus approaching this section's parking option on FR-230 westward from Unicoi may be a poor choice for standard-clearance cars.

Mp 8.0/12.1: FR-230 [Unaka Mountain Road]

Locate: {36.12130, -82.31820}

Orient: The AT at Deep Gap skirts gravel FR-230, here Unaka Mountain Road, 2.8 mi northeast of TN-395/NC-197 in Indian Grave Gap; see Mp 11.8/8.3, below.

Park: Room for 2–3 cars in pull-off on north side of road.

Connect: Follow short track from south side of road to AT {36.12105, -82.31788}. For AT northbound, turn left. For AT southbound, turn right.

Note: See remarks on FR-230 under Mp 7.4/12.7, above.

Mp 9.5/10.6: FR-230 [Beauty Spot Gap Road]

Locate: {36.11786, -82.33237}

Orient: The AT at Beauty Spot summit skirts FR-230, here Beauty Spot Gap Road, 1.9 mi northeast of TN-395/NC-197 in Indian Grave Gap; see Mp 11.8/8.3, below.

Park: Room for a dozen-plus cars at end of long driveway (possibly FR-230A) branching south from FR-230.

Connect: Follow track across field southeast for 100 yd to AT {36.116715, -82.332578}. For AT northbound, turn left. For AT southbound, turn right.

Note: See remarks on FR-230 under Mp 7.4/12.7, above.

Mp 10.7/9.4: FR-230 [Beauty Spot Gap Road]

Locate: {36.11606, -82.34901}

Orient: The AT crosses FR-230 between Beauty Spot and Indian Grave Gap 0.7 mi northeast of TN-395/NC-197 in Indian Grave Gap; see Mp 11.8/8.3, above.

Park: Looks like roadside parking may be possible for a car or two.

Note: See remarks on FR-230 under Mp 7.4/12.7, above.

Mp 11.8/8.3: TN-395/NC-197

Locate: {36.11070, -82.36096}

Orient: The AT crosses TN-395/NC-197 in Indian Grave Gap at the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. West of the border, the road is TN-395 [Rock Creek Road]; east of the border, it is NC-197. The crossing is 6.1 mi southeast of Main Street [TN-107] at 10th Street in Erwin, TN.

Park: Room for at least a dozen cars combined in parking area on north side of road and in shoulder along south side of road.

Mp 20.0/0.1: via Jones Branch Road from recreation area

Locate: {36.10275, -82.44727}

Orient: To cross the Nolichucky River in Erwin, TN, the AT coincides with Chestoa Pike for 0.1 mi between Jones Branch Road along the river's east bank and Unaka Springs road along the west bank. Nearby parking is available at the USFS Chestoa Recreation Area. From I-26 exit 32 in Erwin: head east on TN-36 [Jackson Love Highway] to right onto TN-36 [Temple Hill Road]; follow TN-36 for 0.8 mi to left onto Unaka Sprigs Road; follow Unaka Springs Road for 0.5 mi to left onto Chestoa Pike; follow Chestoa Pike for 0.1 mi to right onto Jones Branch Road; continue on Jones Branch Road for 0.2 mi to parking area.

Park: Large parking lots for USFS Chestoa Recreation Area (Cherokee National Forest) straddle both sides of Jones Branch Road; seasonal vault toilets, changing rooms, picnic tables.

Connect: Walk north along Jones Branch Road for 0.2 mi back to Chestoa Pike. For AT northbound, turn right onto footpath. For AT southbound, turn left for bridge over Nolichucky River.

Mp 20.0/0.1: Chestoa Pike and Jones Branch Road

Locate: {36.10517, -82.44655}

Orient: The east end of the brief road-walk along Chestoa Pike in Erwin, TN, meets the northbound footpath at Jones Branch Road; see Mp 20.0/0.1, above.

Park: Room for a half dozen cars in pull-off on west side of Jones Branch Road, just south of Chestoa Pike. Room for 1–2 cars in each of two additional pull-offs farther south on Jones Branch Road (north of recreation area).

Mp 20.1/0.0: Chestoa Pike and Unaka Springs Road

Locate: {36.10536, -82.44849}

Orient: The west end of the brief road-walk along Chestoa Pike in Erwin, TN, meets the southbound footpath at Unaka Springs Road; see Mp 20.0/0.1, above.

Park: There are pull-offs along the southwest corner of the intersection of Chestoa Pike and Unaka Springs Road. Room for 2–3 cars along south shoulder of Chestoa Pike. Room for 2–3 cars along west shoulder of Unaka Spring Road.