TNC §11: Spivey Gap (US-19W) to Sams Gap (US-23/I-26)

Tennessee-North Carolina §11 spans 13.4 miles. Parking is available for three mileposts.

Mp 0.0/13.4: US-19W

Locate: {36.03171, -82.42005}

Orient: The AT crosses US-19W at Spivey Gap 8.9 mi southeast of I-26 exit 43 in Erwin, TN, and 20.7 mi northwest of US-19E in Burnsville, NC.

Park: Room for a half dozen cars in pull-off on south side of road, a few yards southeast of crossing. Additional parking for a few cars looks possible 0.3 mi farther north in a pull-off on the south side of US-19W; look for USFS sign (Spivey Gap Recreation Area?).

Connect: Look for log steps and blaze post in embankment on north side of road. For AT northbound, take steps onto footpath. For AT southbound, take footpath on opposite side of road.

Mp 11.1/2.3: Street Gap Road/Right Higgins Creek Road

Locate: {35.96892, -82.54007}

Orient: The AT in Street Gap crosses a gravel road at the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. In TN, the road is (apparently) Right Higgins Creek Road; in NC, it is Street Gap Road. The AT guidebook notes that this road is "barely passable by low-clearance vehicles" in the vicinity, but it does not elaborate on the extent. Going south, Street Gap Road leads 0.6 mi to paved Puncheon Fork Road. From I-26/US-23 exit 3, in Mars Hill, NC: turn east from ramp onto US-23 ALT; follow US-23-ALT for 0.2 mi (from southbound I-26) or 0.1 mi (from northbound I-26) to right at stop sign, remaining on US-23 ALT; follow US-23 ALT for 0.6 mi to left onto Laurel Valley Road [NC-1503]; follow Laurel Valley Road for 0.2 mi to left onto Puncheon Fork Road [NC-1502]; follow Puncheon Fork Road for 5.0 mi onto gravel Street Gap Road; continue on Street Gap Road, becoming rough, for 0.6 mi to crossing.

Park: Room for a few cars.

Note: From Street Gap heading north, Right Higgins Creek Road merging into Upper Higgins Creek Road leads 3.7 mi to I-26/US-23 exit 50, in Flag Pond, TN. That's according to Google Maps, but other maps show gaps in this road. The AT guidebook and the Stackpole guidebook suggest that the road does continue north. The AT-P/A comments say that the road does not continue into TN.

Mp 13.4/0.0: Flag Pond Road

Locate: {35.95252, -82.56087}

Orient: The AT in Sams Gap crosses Flag Pond Road about 3 mi north of I-26/US-23 exit 3 in Mars Hill, NC, and about 6 mi south of I-26/US-23 exit 50 in Flag Pond, TN. Here, in NC, the road is called Flag Pond Road. In TN, 0.2 mi farther north, it is called Old Asheville Highway. From exit 32: turn east from ramp onto US-23 ALT; follow US-23-ALT for 0.2 mi (from southbound I-26) or 0.1 mi (from northbound I-26) to left at stop sign, remaining on US-23 ALT; continue north on US-23 ALT for 3.0 mi to parking on left. From exit 50: turn left onto Upper Higgins Creek Road; follow Upper Higgins Road Creek for 0.6 mi to left onto Old Asheville Highway; continue on Old Asheville Highway, becoming Flag Pond Road, for 5.6 mi to parking on right.

Park: Room for a dozen cars in paved lot on west side of road, just south of where the road passes under the I-26/US-23 highway. Overflow parking for another dozen cars combined looks possible on the opposite side of the road in pull-off and along shoulder.

Note: The road may also be US-23 or possibly (a continuation of) US-23 ALT. In TN, it may be labeled TN-81 as well.