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Appalachian Trail: Sam’s Gap to Big Bald

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Cherokee National Forest

Appalachian Trail: Sam’s Gap to Big Bald is a 13.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mars Hill, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 13.6 mi Elevation gain 3,231 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Backpacking Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife
Description
Waypoints (0)

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (101)
Photos (303)
Recordings (110)
Completed (250)
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Mary McCorkle
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Hiking

We leisurely hiked this, not all the way to Big Bald because we ran out of daylight, but we enjoyed the solidago field clearing & the trail was clear and well marked. We had it all to ourselves on a Tuesday afternoon.

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John Dugan
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Hiking
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Zachary Arnold
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BackpackingGreat!

Beautiful hike. Nice steady climbs to make you feel like you got somewhere with some real pretty forest views before you get to the top of Big Bald. If you're backpacking, the best water source right on the trail that I saw was about 5 miles in.

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Laura RM
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Hiking

Great trail with good views about 1.7 miles out. We only went to the first overlook and back.

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rachael siksay
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HikingGreat!
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Andre S. Ameer
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Hiking

Great hike. Took (2) 5 yr olds and a 3 yr old. Went 1.5 miles in and 1.5 back.

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Ian Wright
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HikingGreat!

Great trail....rolling terrain, shady, well kept with water and camping areas.

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Stephen Greaber
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BackpackingGreat!

I got a late start on Thursday, hit the trail at 9:30am with 30 lb pack. I would characterize the hike as mostly a steady rise with ups and downs from various gaps along the trail, until about a mile out from Big Bald, where you hit some rocky sections that are like climbing stairs. It took me 6 hours, which included a 45 minute stop for lunch and numerous catch my wind breaks. A group of hikers commented it took them 3 hours to reach Big Bald (no packs.....and they looked like they were in pretty good shape). Plenty of springs available along the way that were flowing well so you can replenish water. Made a camp at the tree-line just before coming out into Big Bald. Too windy to camp at Bald. Peaceful evening with light breeze. Took me 3 hours to walk back down, including a 30 minute stop to rest and enjoy a view. Overall great hike

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Rashmi Schramm
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Hiking

Ok, so first of all, this trail is definitely 14.1 miles. There are a lot of undulations/elevation change which can be challenging. But the views from the top of Big Bald are absolutely worth it. It took us 8 hours but we spent a long time enjoying Big Bald.

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Mary Davis
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worth every mile

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Mark Tavzel
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Backpacking

Painted 51 vertical white trail markings on my section beginning at Big bald and going north to the comfort station. Still have about 50 markings to finish.

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sumit shrestha
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Hiking

beautiful trail with ups and down. big bald is definitely beautiful climbing up. The views are great 360 degree. otherwise a typical pisgah hike experience.

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katie ball
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Hiking

tough but worth it! amazing views. mostly uphill but the inclines are moderate so it’s not too bad.

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Curtis Jones
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Hiking

This was a great hike. Weather was dry and cool with clear skies. However, there may be a problem with the mileage listed and the red hike outline here. We traveled about 4 miles in from Sam's Gap and had to turn around due to time constraints. We did not reach Big Bald as it appeared to be another couple miles in. Others can check to be sure. In any event, some good views along the way.

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Albert Koch
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Hiking

It is a beautiful trail and very well maintained. the view from the meadow at the top was fantastic. it was a most enjoyable hike.

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Rob Ulmer
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Hiking

The AT is my favorite, and this segment didn’t disappoint. The first half mile is uphill to get away from the noise of the road, but it passes quickly as the trail rounds the first hill into the woods. (Views through the trees still are nice this first weekend of the spring, but leaves will fill the sight lines soon, though several views will remain at altitude.) The trail is well-maintained, the ground is soft beneath the step, and the balds are pretty. Also, a couple of nice campsites are clear and near water.

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Robert Harmison
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HikingMuddy

Really good, very foggy, it cleared up a bit but then came back. It’s muddy but do-able. Coming back to overnight

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Renease Filban
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i have hiked this trail numerous times, it is strenous but is worth it for the view you get at top

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Monica Martin
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Hiking

I have hiked Big Bald and surrounding areas many times as I live inside the Wolf Laurel Community. The original Wolf Laurel developer, having owned Big Bald Mountain at one time, retained the rights to the roads at Big Bald after the sale to the AT thus, giving the Wolf Laurel community a private gated entrance onto the AT at Big Stamp and Big Bald Mountain. I have owned and operated a B&B inside the Wolf Laurel Resort and Ski Area since 2000. Guests of the Bald Mountain House (elevation: 4,500') are entitled to use this AT access point for hikes. This offers hikers a shortcut onto the AT ( a 1/4 mile hike from the parking area) at Big Bald Mountain (elevation:5516') and Big Stamp. Bald Mountain is a great starting point for a round trip hike to Sam's Gap and, in the other direction, to Spivey Gap. For those looking for a break from tent camping and sleeping bags or cold weather nights, I offer comfortable king and queen beds and a full, hot breakfast each morning (I am a trained chef) included with your stay. Please do not ask me to get you through the gate without staying here as I am not allowed to do this per Wolf Laurel Resort restrictions. You must be a guest or property owner of the community. Happy hiking! Monica www.BaldMountainHouse.com

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Andrew Simpson
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Running

Ran Sams Gap to Big Bald and back. Super sweet trail. Gorgeous views. No complaints.

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Ann Wagner
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if you walk across the road from the parking area there is a gate go through it and follow it to the Appalachian trail, we followed the trail head and hiked a total of 7 miles. If you hike in about 3 miles you will be going up a steep decent (wooden stairs) but you will reach a beautiful field with a view of the mountains! very well worth the tough hike!

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Michael Robertson
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Walking
First to Review

Only walked 2 miles south from the Parking Area under overpass and then back. It was a nice walk, nothing terribly strenuous, no good views with summer growth present, but a very nice walk through the woods.

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Janet Hargette
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Hiking
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Luz Sumarriva-Madding
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Hiking
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Judy Magura
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Hiking
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T V
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Hiking
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David Campbell
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Hiking
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Samantha Shannon
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Hiking
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Kathleen Premo
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Hiking
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Matt Hennessey
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Hiking
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