Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Southern Nantahala Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Overall really great hike with some amazing views at Standing Indian and Albert Mountain. I drove in friday night and hiked in about 1.5 miles to the first campsite. Woke up the next morning and hiked to a campsite about 3 miles passed Albert, not a very long day, ended up at camp around 1pm. Next day hiked to the top of Standing Indian and camped at the top, which one of the best decisions ever. Had an absolutely insane sunrise and sunset around the fire. Hiked out the remaining 4 or so miles on the Lower Ridge Trail the next morning which was all downhill, but the trail is poorly marked and overgrown. Only problem with this hike was the water sources. You definitely want to fill up on the north side of albert, right before Beech Gap, and at Betty Creek. Everything else was rather dry, and I carried anywhere from 64-90oz of water at all times. Made things a little difficult especially for two and a half days, but overall great hike with some great views. Appalachian portion of the trail is very well maintained and marked compared to Long Branch trail.

Hiked this trail 5 years ago and loved it, so my son and I went last weekend (10/5/2019) for some bonding. We knew the weather forecast was crappy but decided to do it anyway. We basically hiked in a cloud both days so there were no views, but that's not the trails fault. The good news is that the temperatures had dropped. Normally I would not write a review, but I wanted to give a water update and talk about our experience doing the hike in only a day and a half. We have a 5 hour drive and he could not get off work to get there before dark on Friday and did not want to get home too late on Sunday, so our plan was to set ourselves up for a short hike on Sunday. We started our hike at 7:30am on Saturday going clockwise from the campground. There are water sources along the Long Branch trail, but since that is only the first two miles it's only helpful if you want to top off often. Normally I would have stopped for a long break at Albert but there was nothing to see, so we took a quick break and moved on. The last time I hiked this trail there was water everywhere and I only carried a liter at a time, but a lot of sources were very dry. so I carried two liters. This allowed me to easily make it to Betty Creek, where we stopped for a break and to load up on water. You have to go down the Betty Creek trail, but not too far and it's a good source. We had lunch at the Carter Gap shelter around 1:30 and since we were making good time we took a long break to rest and make some coffee. We were told that there was a good water source crossing the trail just before Beech Gap, which turned out to be true (you can't miss it). If the weather had been nice we would have continued to Standing Indian to see sunrise the next day as we still had several hours of daylight left. With nothing to see, tired old legs (I'll be 60 in a couple of months), and the prospect of a long uphill we decided to camp at Beech Gap. It was a good thing we had loaded up on water because the water source there was dry, which was sort of ironic because it rained on us all night. On Sunday we decided to take the shorter Lower Ridge trail back. Having gathered extra water the day before we had a liter and a half left after breakfast, which tuned out to be enough to get almost back to the campground before filtering more water. Even though this was my second time, the path through the campground back to the information center was still confusing. Two takeaways: 1.As of last weekend, you still needed to be aware of the water situation and plan accordingly. 2.This trail can be done in a day and a half by someone in reasonably good shape. In fact, I want to come back next summer when the days are a bit longer and try to do it as a day hike. I figure with a sub- 4 pound pack and more time for rest breaks it might not be much harder than what we did. .

We parked at the Standing Indian Backpacker's Information stand (a sign with little to no information) and got on the trail at 4:30 PM. We made it to Albert Mountain at 7:15 PM. 2 tents fit at the base of the fire tower and there was room nearby for another 3-4. The sunrise from Albert Mountain was amazing. The next day we set out for Carter Gap. The only water between Albert Mountain and Carter Gap was at Betty Creek. Carter Gap has a small stream nearby and ample camping space. On day 3 we went from Carter Gap to Standing Indian Mountain. The only water source was at Kilby Creek. Standing Indian Mountain has a campsite at the very top that we almost missed. It provided the best sunset I've ever seen. We woke up on day 4 and hiked out. All in all a great trip.

This trail offers an opportunity to experience the Appalachian trail without having to backtrack. Expect two to three days depending on your pace. [Counter clockwise] If you want to extend it about 30 miles park at Rock Gap and take Standing Indian road to Kimsey Creek Trail an on to the AT back to Rock Gap parking.

stock up on water at broad Creek, Betty Creek, and north side of Albert mountain. The trail is currently pretty dry. It is a beautiful hike. Enjoyed it alot

8/30/19 - AT to Longbranch to Kimsey mileage is 25.9. Parked at Deep Gap and headed counter clockwise. No camping at deep gap due to environmental damage. Standing Indian AT shelter closed - bear activity. Only 3 full flowing water sources between deep gap and Albert mountain. 2 other workable sources. Camped 1st night on summit of standing Indian. Amazing sunset views. Next day hard 13.2 miles to mount Albert. Some sections of trail overgrown with tall wildflowers, hard to see roots, rocks etc on trail. Approach to Albert as hard as they say. Camped 2nd night at base of Albert fire tower. Bit crowded. More amazing views from tower. When leaving Albert plenty of water after mile 3. Long branch in good condition. At end of long branch when you get to road turn right and trail continues on left to right of information board. When you hit next road turn left, cross bridge and Kimsey creek trail on right. Kimsey is lovely trail. Muddy. Steep in sections. I lost the trail about 1:5 miles from end and followed forest road back to car. Feel free to ask me questions matt dot ward at live dot com.

Parked at the Backcountry Info Booth at Standing Indian Campground. Took Long Branch Loop to AT, and then on to Albert Mountain. The view from the fire tower is great! Going clockwise on this route let's you hike down the very rocky descent, rather than do a hard rock climb going up. A good number of hiker's were on the trail, but it was Labor Day weekend. Camped at Betty's Creek Gap, then on day 2 continued on the AT up to Standing Indian Mountain. Some very overgrown areas where you could barely see the trail under the tall weeds as you pushed through. But nothing too bad. On top of Standing Indian Mountain I was blessed with a very clear day -you could see forever. Wish I had camped on the mountain, but was running low on water and thought there might be a source at Standing Indian shelter, so I hiked down. There wasn't a water source at the shelter, but I spent the night there anyway. That's when my phone died, and so did my battery backup! So the map doesn't show that I hiked about a mile the next morning and caught Kimsey Creek Trail. It was really wet and only got wetter as I got closer to Standing Indian RV Campground. But the creek was beautiful the entire length of the trail, and the upside was that there was plenty of water for filtering! All told, great trip and great trail. Definitely recommend it and I will probably do it again sooner rather than later.

Great, well keep trial. Intermetiate with a few good inclines to break a sweat.

Great trail and experience. A little overgrown in spots, but overall a good time for beginners.

hiking
over grown
3 months ago

great hike. trails need some weed maintenance badly

hiking
over grown
3 months ago

great hike. needs trail maintenance bad. weeds over taking trails.

A good trail with many ups and downs. Bly Gap is a worthy destination with many campsites. No great views along the trail, mostly in the “green tunnel”. At plumorchard Gap there are two waters sources. The one in the direction of the shelter (east) is far better as there is a pvc pipe to concentrate the flow. The other is just a trickle.

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Great loop trail. We started at backcountry parking area and hit the soft ascent to the Mt Albert Firetower. Great views, lots of water, and nice niche campsites. Saw lots of wildflowers and snails. Hike rounds the ridges 280 degrees from Mt Albert to Standing Indian (watch sunset if you can! Beautiful western views into Georgia). The last drop into Kimsey Creek is a terrific descent along the creek with streams converging every couple hundred yards.

It's a nice hike. They cleaned up parts of the trail but more need to be done in the upper sections few down trees that we had to climb over. They replaced some of the boards on one of the bridges but it's still a little sketchy. I would definitely bring your trekking poles.

Fun trail but very crowded along the AT. We ended up taking the lower ridge trail instead of Kinsey creek trail. A little more challenging, but saw no one and was incredibly peaceful. That was our favorite trail!

hiking
closed
8 months ago

Roads from both directions are closed until April 1st- . Drove a lot today to find that out! No formal notices posted as to why, one showed a detour which was still closed, one was just a closed gate.

Trail was fun, but horribly mismarked and it caused us some strife in planning for our hike. based on the other hikers we passed our mileage was off by as much as 5 miles in total. lower ridge trail has a lot of brush that's grown over the trail. the stretch from Albert mountain to Standing Indian seemed to be the part that was hard to be precise with. sunrise at the Fire Tower was completely awe-inspiring. Took some rookies with me, they handled it like pros and they overcame every little setback greatly. overall completely awesome views, but it NEEDS better mileage markings and a little bit of maintaince on Lower Ridge. Did the route Clockwise.

Hiked this clockwise over 2 days. Started day one by hiking to Carter Gap Shelter and staying the night. Then continued day 2 back to the backcountry info booth. 4 star because Long Branch and the A.T were great but Kimsey Creek trail is not maintained at all and was pretty sparsely blazed. I would recommend clockwise but taking the Lower Ridge trail down from Standing Indian right to the Kimsey Creek Campground.

This is a great in and out hike with good cardio in mind. Our favorite rock for lunch is 3.36 miles in.

I really enjoy this area.... Hiked this loop twice and thoroughly enjoyed it each time. Very easy for a weekend hike that isn't too rushed... Day 1 ends camping at Standing Indian summit (lots of people camping up here on weekends), with a great view to wake up to in the morning. There is water a little bit further back down the trail. Day 2 takes you to the summit of Albert Mtn. at the fire tower. Camp sites are limited here so get there early if you want a good one. Very little light pollution, so we had full Milky Way views both nights on Albert Mtn. Then wake up and quick hike back to your car to finish it out.... One of my favorite 3 day loops in the state by far.

hiking
Sat Oct 20 2018

Short hike and pretty waterfall. Me and my husband was only ones on the trail. Must watch out for the roots when hiking.

I hiked a similar portion connecting Kimsey Creek to AT to Long Bridge trail. The same is the same once you get on the AT.. fully endorse this hike! Here is full text: I am so glad I picked this trail. We started from Backcountry Info Booth, right near Standing Indian Campground. We started counter-clockwise on the Kimsey Creek Trail from the Campground and hiked about 5 miles until we reached Standing Indian shelter, where we camped for the first night. Day 2 we walked around 15 miles northbound on the AT. When you reach the junction to get on the AT at the end of Kimsey Creek, make sure you go North, which will be to your left (this happens before Standing Indian Campground). We hiked all the way until the summit of Albert Mountain and camped at the top. The best parts of the trail are immediately before you begin the ascent to Albert Mountain and the views here. I would also recommend staying at Carter Gap shelter if you’re looking to shorten the mileage / day. We stopped here for lunch around 4:00 pm after leaving Standing Indian Shelter at 11:00 am. Day 3 was very quick, purely downhill 5 mile finish back to our car. Nothing too remarkable. Overall, some inclines that are challenging, but the two newbies with me never felt really exhausted. I would recommend going clockwise if you want to avoid a very steep climb over rocks up to Albert, but those with some experience I do endorse the counter-clockwise route. Great weekend!

backpacking
Tue Oct 16 2018

I am so glad I picked this trail. We started from Backcountry Info Booth, right near Standing Indian Campground. We started counter-clockwise on the Kimsey Creek Trail from the Campground and hiked about 5 miles until we reached Standing Indian shelter, where we camped for the first night. Day 2 we walked around 15 miles northbound on the AT. When you reach the junction to get on the AT at the end of Kimsey Creek, make sure you go North, which will be to your left (this happens before Standing Indian Campground). We hiked all the way until the summit of Albert Mountain and camped at the top. The best parts of the trail are immediately before you begin the ascent to Albert Mountain and the views here. I would also recommend staying at Carter Gap shelter if you’re looking to shorten the mileage / day. We stopped here for lunch around 4:00 pm after leaving Standing Indian Shelter at 11:00 am. Day 3 was very quick, purely downhill 5 mile finish back to our car. Nothing too remarkable. Overall, some inclines that are challenging, but the two newbies with me never felt really exhausted. I would recommend going clockwise if you want to avoid a very steep climb over rocks up to Albert, but those with some experience I do endorse the counter-clockwise route. Great weekend!

Trail was mostly good. Was overgrown near Bly Gap with weeds which made hiking very wet

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