Turkey Pen Gap Trail is a 7.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mills River, North Carolina that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and nature trips and is best used from March until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,289 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

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.

hiking
6 days ago

Wonderful hike, only saw 2 mountain bikers the entire hike. The loop is more like 7 miles, hard uphill for first few miles but well worth it. Lots of quiet places to enjoy river on last part. Will definitely do again

mountain biking
9 days ago

Love this area. Fished and mtn biked it. The horses have been busy on the trails here.

hiking
11 days ago

The road to the trail parking lot is one lane and windy, it I would mark as hard. Where as the trail I would mark as a moderate hike, a little steep in the beginning but levels out after that. The only problem I had was how poorly the trail was marked. If it wasn’t for the AllTrails app and the reviews I read before hand I would have been lost. I did get off track several times and ended up hiking 7.3 miles instead of 6.1. Thanks to the app I got turned back around before I got too far. There are several turns you need to make that is not indicated on the trail or in the description of this trail. Great hike and would do it again trying some of the other trails that connect to this one.

hiking
1 month ago

Started at parking lot trail head and did it clockwise so got the intense climb up. After that, a few smaller up hills but mostly nice downhill winding around river. Two suspension bridges crossed the river. Some places muddy but passable. Water in the middle portions bit not at the ends. Dog was happy when we got to water points. I was glad to have brought my walking stick for balance. We were able to run a little at the end to make this a really great workout.

hiking
2 months ago

Just had it logging. did not work due to no signals

blowdown
rocky
2 months ago

thanks to another AllTrails app user for their detailed directions. After the Wagon Road Trail split off the directions are limited. There were a few spots where the trail splits after that, that if not for the reviews left here I wouldn't have known which way to go. The first 2 miles are intense, and the terrain intermittently rough and washed out. Once you reach the ridge however it is a cake walk, leveling out with a subtle descent into Wagon Road Trail. However there are spots where the rhododendron grows close to the trail and it's a tight fit through, with other spots that will soon be overgrown with other plants. For the last 2.5 miles you walk smoothly along a bike/horse trail with some spots to enjoy the river.

hiking
2 months ago

The initial climb was not as daunting as I expected. Map shows spots with grade of up to 50%, but there was nothing that extreme, and it was in good shape so not that difficult to hike. The first part along the ridge and the following descent toward to the river are the prettiest parts - all wooded with interesting flora. After that most of the hike is along the South Mills River Road, a much more heavily used path where you'll see more families, bikers and evidence of horses. But you do get to cross two well-maintained suspension bridges over the river, so there's that. Next time I would almost consider turning around and retracing my path when I reached the river.

hiking
blowdown
washed out
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

2nd time on this trail. This time we hiked it backwards and it was equally as difficult. The swing bridges and river are a highlight. Sharpy mountain ascent is arduous. Did it both times with kids and both times it had them disavowing hiking for life. Lol!

3 months ago

As many of the other reviews have read, the 2 mile ascent in the beginning is intense and challenging, the lack of information about exactly where to go after the descent was confusing, once you descend the mountain the trail becomes very rugged and difficult to determine, don't miss the turn for wagon road trail, if you take a right on wagon road trail and follow it to the river the first swinging bridge is a good sign that you're about halfway, take a right after swinging bridge and walk along the river for 2 miles. In the description they failed to mention a second right turn at foot bridge trail where you will find the second swinging bridge about 1.5 miles from the parking lot at this point. I did not see foot bridge trail.and continued on the river trail.for half a mile through some pretty nasty brush and down trees. I had the notion to turn around and found foot bridge trail. When you cross the second swinging bridge and go left!! You'll see a fork for Bradley Creek and turkey pen parking lot, go right. 1.2 miles from there to parking lot. This hike easily takes 3 hours and is absolutely beautiful, but make sure you follow directions for the loop or you might get lost on a horse trail . Also the teepee about 3 miles in is pretty neat and looks.like an ideal.camping area, but get ready for a workout, this one is a challenge up and down.

hiking
3 months ago

The most horse shit I’ve ever seen.

4 months ago

This was a cute trail with lots of things to do. There were some nice places to sit with the dogs and it was fairly easy.

hiking
4 months ago

I didn’t see any of the views that others mentioned in their comments but it was a decent hike - really steep beginning but extremely mellow the rest of the way on a multi-use trail. Saw 2 bikers and 2 fishermen.

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
4 months ago

Good workout on the first couple miles with the elevation gain. Fun bridge crossings and a few downed trees to maneuver over. Comb of mud and ice made for some very slippery areas. Came upon an older tent that seemed to have been left for awhile. Packed it up and carried out.

hiking
muddy
snow
4 months ago

I really enjoyed this loop. It had snowed the day before and was absolutely magical! There is a big uphill at the beginning, but after that it’s smooth sailing. Great bridge crossings!

hiking
blowdown
rocky
7 months ago

Great trail for a November hike. You can see the mountains in the distance this time if year. Lots of leaves makes the trail challenging since it is hard to see the rocks and roots under them. Greatly enjoyed the hike. Push past your desire to turn around at the beginning. Once you get past the first 1.6 miles it is an easier trail to hike.

recorded Recording - Nov 17, 04:49 PM

hiking
off trail
over grown
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

first two miles have a very steep grade but manageable after. saw many birds and a super rare albino squirrel.

hiking
10 months ago

The trail is poorly marked and I found myself way off course by the fork of Bradley Creek and Riverside trail. Ended up following Riverside across the river multiple times and finally found an extremely steep shortcut trail that lead to vinyard gap and eventually to the parking lot. Keep your eyes out for the second swinging bridge because I never found it.

hiking
10 months ago

Holy uphill. This one was a little difficult.

hiking
10 months ago

Syd solo hike. Strenuous first 2 miles. No other hikers. 5lb mushrooms (turkeys, Milkies, chantrelles)

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

Average, not the greatest views. Good for exercise

hiking
11 months ago

This trail is honestly miserable. The hike is very difficult there’s spider webs everywhere and there is no payoff what so ever. The trail is confusing there’s no view and it’s overall just really really annoying.

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