Turkey Pen Gap Trail

HARD 56 reviews
#35 of 166 trails in

Turkey Pen Gap Trail is a 6.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mills River, North Carolina and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from March until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

6.1 miles
1,259 feet

dog friendly


trail running

Mountain Views, Lush valleys, Long walk beside the river Beginning the hike you start to climb. The first mile and a half is a descent incline (at one point you will climb 600 feet in less than a quarter of a mile. Take lots of water because the first 2 miles are dry. This hike is beautifl during the fall because you can see a greater distance. There are great views on the way up. If you can survive the first hour and a half, it is literally all down hill from there. You will descent from Sharpy Mountain for about a half of mile and then you will climb again for 200 or 300 feet. At that time, (this should be about 2 hours into your hike), you will see a trail that goes to the right- Wagon Road Gap. Follow this trail down. After a short distance, you will feel like you found the Garden of Eden. Once you get to a large opening, you will hear the river. Turn right onto South Mills River Trail. It will lead right to the river. You will find a trail back 100 feet that goes to the right and to a swinging bridge.

24 days ago

Great trail. Fun water crossings due to all the recent rain. Think I calculated an 11% grade for the first 1.5 - 2 miles and part of it is a 20% grade. Great workout if enjoy a challenge. Look forward to doing it again. Good winter hike because long range views. Lots of Laurel so may feel claustrophobic in summer.

5 months ago

nice trail, a bit muddy, and watch the manure

5 months ago

Again, all trails mileage description is WAY off. The actual mileage for this loop from Turkey Pen gap to wagon to South Mills River was 11.86 miles. The two swinging bridges were fun to cross and there weren’t any incidents of wet feet during this hike. Road going up to the parking lot was in good condition there were not any views though perhaps there will be more once the foliage is down. Next time I will bring a bathing suit though because there are certainly a lot of places where it would’ve been easy to swim in the river on the way back to the car. Note: you will see mountain bikers on this trail.

7 months ago

Hiked today. First third fairly rigorous. Uphill most of the way. Views would be nice in the fall/winter. Second two thirds very lush. Downhill most of the way and runs beside the river so, plenty of water for the dogs. If you have any.

10 months ago

The first 2.5 miles are extremely strenuous with nearly straight uphill portions then downhill. You can cut over on wagon gap trail then come down south mills river trail to make the second half of the hike very easy. Low traffic though we did run into a horse drawn wagon on the way back!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Have hiked sections of the trail at different tomes of the year. It is especially beautiful during the fall.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The first few miles were extremely muddy, making any type of running difficult. Make sure you wear waterproof boots. The Wagon Road Gap trail was a peaceful walk through the woods, getting a bit strenuous near the end. The last couple miles were a tad annoying. I could have knit a spider silk sweater from all of the webs I walked through. Saw a black bear running away into the woods. I did enjoy the two suspension bridges. I think this would have been more enjoyable biking. It will also help if you have a 4x4 vehicle, as the road up is a bit rough.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Be sure to bring extra hiking shoes and socks! Most of the bridges are washed out! Also download the map from pro before heading out because the trail is not marked and very overrun. Be ready for an all out hike with many challenges including wading rushing water.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Not well marked but nice trail

Monday, March 06, 2017

Well marked trail, lightly traveled. Looks fun for horse back riding. No vistas.

mountain biking
Saturday, February 04, 2017

Has a great range from fast pace down hill riding to slow long gentle slopes. Also great views

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Pretty tough at the beginning but quickly levels out and is mostly flat. Enjoyable but no overlooks or anything spectacular.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Hiked. I found it to be very difficult. There is supposed to have been an intersecting trail so I could get back. I never found it. I will hike it again.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Great trail that borders the S Mills . there are parts that are strenuous but worth it. Trail contains great creek side camp sites. Good trout fishing on S. Mills also.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Great Hike, First 2 miles is rough but worth it. Great camping spot at the north end of Wagon Road trail.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Solid climb to start it off and get to cross the river near the end. The water is chilly in February. Good hike

Friday, November 27, 2015

awesome trail, great destinations, overlook the horse poop.

Friday, September 25, 2015

It was nice, tons of horse poop though.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Started this trail today and didn't get too far because there was so much horse poop! Not sure if it gets better along the way, but it was difficult trying to keep my dog out of it so we ended up turning back. Seems like a pretty area if you can get past that!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Love the bridges! Pretty easy trail compared to a lot of others (especially along the river). Took two dogs with me & they loved it as well. Makes for an easy weekend hike & plenty of places to camp along the way.

Monday, October 27, 2014

we searched for a difficult trail and boy did we find it! We set out to complete the 5.9 mile loop and missed the trailhead for Wagon Wheel. This mistake added 5 miles to our trip...which took us toward Black Mnt. This was a huge climb in elevation- steep, narrow passage through lots of rhododendrons . Had we experienced the trail as originally intended, it would have been perfect. Note to those who come behind us...look closely for the wagon wheel trailhead on your right. its a tall vertical sign in a clearing. with all the leaves on the ground its hard to see. And, if you are looking for views, this is not the best trail to take. there are not many opportunities for views.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Backpacked here once! It was a blast, but difficult.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I camped there is alot of places to camp from what i saw and loved it

Monday, June 11, 2012

Did a northern loop that goes up above the posted trail and then comes back down to the northern half of the posted loop. Was a great, moderately tough hike that we broke up into a long and short day. The trails are all well maintained (probably mostly by constant use but not overcrowded.) The place was so green you could almost smell it. :-) Great trail for getting away for the weekend or training for tougher longer hikes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nice trail, relativly flat, as it goes by river much of the way.

1 month ago

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