Appalachian Trail: Lemon Gap to Hot Springs is a 28 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hot Springs, NC that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from March until October.
I covered this section as part of a two day hike that began at the Waterville exit, off I-40. At Lemon Gap, the AT immediately ascends up to the Walnut Mountain Shelter, followed by a descent down to Catpen Gap - to my tastes, the prettiest camping spot of my trip. A further ascent to the top of Bluff Mountain provides an awesome view of the Black Mountain Crest to the east. From Bluff, its a long 4 mile descent to Garenflo Gap. The AT then continues for another 6-7 miles up and along the Deer Park Mountain ridge before descending down into Hot Springs.......where a tasty IPA awaits at the Iron Horse - Cheers!
Great section of the AT. The shelter has some rats though.
My daughter and I did this trail as part of a Mag Patch to Hot Springs, NC hike. While this hike showed just how how out of shape we are. That being said, we both enjoyed the hike and I would definitely do it again.