Explore the most popular Camping trails in Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
blowdown
rocky
scramble
14 days ago

I did this hike with my dog on 2019-11-06. The directions to the trailhead are spot on and FS 62 to Big Fat Gap is in excellent condition. As the hike takes place in the Slick Rock/Joyce Kilmer wilderness area it is not marked except at the trailhead and at the trail intersection on top of the mountain. Nevertheless, it is easy to follow. There is one spot within the first five minutes of climbing where the trail swings right and doesn't look like a trail and a false trail goes straight ahead. Apparently many, as I, have been fooled. It comes to a sudden halt. Rather than going back because the ridge was not wide we just bushwhacked straight up and quickly picked it up again. If you find yourself in that position it is only a short distance back to the point of the mistake. Some branches should probably be dropped right at that point to help others not to make the same mistake. I'm sorry I didn't do it myself. The hike can be divided into two parts. The first part goes pretty much straight up the ridge. In parts it is very steep but the footing is very good and it is not difficult. About halfway up you come to a plateau like area about a half mile long known as Grassy Gap. This is a beautiful Appalachian Forest type area that is like a walk in the park. Once across the gap the second part begins. The second half which leaves the ridge and angles diagonally up the side of the mountain is at times diabolical. It doesn’t have the steep sections of the first part, but it's still steep and the footing is gnarly, rocky and soft in places requiring edging. There are downed trees, rocky ledges and boulder outcroppings which while never really difficult they still had to be scaled. For the most part you’re lucky if the trail is 18 inches wide. In many places it isn’t, in fact there are some stretches where there is merely the slope of the mountain you must cross to reach the trail on the other side. There are no streams to cross but the soil at times can be soft and moist requiring in places some careful edging. On the upside, though, I will have to say that as you work your way up in this section you do start to get some great views which always lift the spirit and from my dog's standpoint he was able to find a few spots where a seep afforded a small puddle of water he could drink. Once on the top the trail from there to the Hangover is in excellent condition and you very quickly reach the end where you are treated some of the greatest views in North Carolina. At this point you know that it was definitely worth the effort to reach that spot. There are some excellent camping spots up near the hangover. I also saw a few back down in Grassy Gap. However, if you plan to camp be sure to bring plenty of water. Because of the view this definitely is a five star hike. We saw only one other person all day. Also the hunters who were parked at Big Fat Gap all seem to have descended from the parking. Non of them went up the Hangover Lead trail.

This is an excellent hike that I hope stays mostly unknown. This is the one and only hike that I have ever completed where I did not see a single other human. Which, to me, is absolute bliss. The hike was not nearly as hard as advertised and was short and sweet. The colors were almost peak when we went (10/27). The views rival any hike I've been on in the east and might be my new favorite in the area.

I honestly thought this hike would be harder than it was based off of the elevation profile and other people's reviews. There are some steep parts, but it's really pretty gradual and there's a lot of flat portions to catch your breath when needed. Other than that, let me just say, that this is one of my new favorite hikes in TN/NC area. We didn't see a single other person all day, and the view at the top is awesome. You are taller than everything around you. The views are also phenomenal at the top! We watched all of the clouds roll away.

hiking
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

We did this trail starting at Slick rock all the way up to naked ground cross to Haoe trail and down through hangover trail and back to starting point. About 25 miles splited in two days. Steep climbs and steep downs take plenty of water and breaks. Very hard loop

Great trail! Heavily wooded! Magnificent Hardwood Trees! Trail is full of roots and rocks so definitely bring a hiking stick! Forest was lush, green and full of birds! It was cool and serene!

Great trail for a leisurely hike with dogs and children. Well marked with excellent vegetation views and well maintained.

This is a beautiful forest! Loved the history of it and all the amazing trees! Take your time so you can appreciate every inch of it!

So many snaaaaakes this time! But nothing poisonous, and the trail is beautiful as always.

hiking
2 months ago

top view well worth the hike. roundtrip 4:35h

Big awesome trees and awesome woods

A fun and moderately strenuous hike. Absolutely beautiful forest. A must do if in the area.

Easy hike but with lots of roots to watch out for. Gorgeous big trees especially on top loop. Come back in spring for a billion wildflowers

Short, easy hike. A lot of people on the trail. Beautiful trees!

hiking
3 months ago

Took us about 1hr 40min to complete both loops. We had kids so went at a leisurely pace. Great trail. Lots to look at and see. We went left to start and then left at the memorial rock so clockwise around the whole trail. I would recommend do it that way as it was enjoyable and was downhill mostly to end. Trails well marked. There were lots of people out there, but still was very serene. Highly recommend!

hiking
3 months ago

Very fun hike. We started to the left and when we got to the big memorial rock we went left as well. Fun for kids and lots to see. Took us about 1hr 40min at a leisurely pace.

Spectacular views. Had time for only one hike on one day at RMNP and this was perfect for me and my boys.

Easy hike. The huge trees are in the upper loop, so you’ll miss them if you stick to the short loop.

hiking
blowdown
over grown
rocky
4 months ago

My son and I hiked this trail yesterday (my first time in 22 years.) It was a fairly grueling trip. The first quarter mile out of the Big Fat Gap trailhead will provided a needed gut-check. If you are still alive, just keep going:) The views up top are spectacular!!! And you will have earned the rest! This is a seldom hiked hidden gem. We saw not another soul the whole day...

hiking
blowdown
over grown
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Beautiful view for miles, once you get there. This is a tough hike. Plenty of uphill on the way there, and all downhill on the way back. You will run into downed trees, rocks to climb over, wet and soft spots, and some narrow paths, overgrown in a few areas but the trail was still easy to follow. Still worth it. It is not maintained as well as trails over in SMNP. Great wilderness hiking.

Nice trail! The path is a little narrow, has a few muddy slips, and even with bug spray on, I was followed by some persistent buggers from about half way until the end. But it’s easy to access and a short loop, and I have taken my dog there before (which is nice and works because the loop trail is directional and most people follow it, unlike out and back trails where you are always walking off the path to leave room for people passing and you need room to control your pet. Also there are places where your dog can drink from streams which is great for hydration and general enjoyment!) On a Wednesday late afternoon, there was only one car besides mine in the lot when I arrived and only my car when I left.

Load More