Hiking Shelton Laurel, NC, Backcountry (near NC212)
Hiking in the backcountry on the trails and paths in the Shelton Laurel area in Madison County affords opportunities to cross the Appalachian Trail. These trails are challenging and mainly for the experienced hiker. NOTE: Conditions and trail maintenance may change especially on the more remote trails.
For the most current information, check with Bluff Mountain Outfitters at 828 622-7162 (located at 152 Bridge Street in Hot Springs) or http://bluffmountain.com
Disclaimer: Madison County TDA assumes no responsibility for contents of this information because roads and trails may change due to weather or lack of maintenance. Please note that many of these trails and roads may not be marked with signs. Mileages are approximate.
Fork Ridge Trail
2.0 miles, difficult. Fork Ridge Trail begins at the trailhead parking area near the end of FR 111. At this point, the trail steadily climbs through upland hardwood forests and rhododendron thickets. After the initial ascent, the trail mostly follows ridge tops offering views of Big Creek drainage. Best viewing times are early spring, late fall and winter. Can combine with Jerry Miller Trail (below) to form a loop. To get to the trailhead, go east and south on US 25/70 to NC 208. Turn left and follow NC 208 for 3/5 miles to NC 212. Turn right and go 11 miles to State Road 1312 and turn left for 1/3 miles and take the left fork to FR #111. Follow this road for one mile for parking.Download Fork Ridge Trail
Hickey Fork Trail
2.3 miles, difficult. Hickey Fork Trail begins on the left side of FR 465. The trail crosses Hickey Fork Creek on a wooden bridge and ascends the ridge adjacent to Hickey Fork Creek. Crossing the ridge into Hickey Fork Creek west prong drainage, the trail ends at Pounding Mill Trail. The trail provides views of waterfalls and cascades in higher elevations. At the intersection with Pounding Mill Trail at Seng Gap, there is access to the Appalachian Trail. To get to the trailhead from Hot Springs, go east and south on US 25/70 to NC 208. Turn left and follow NC 208 for 3/5 miles to NC 212. Turn right and go 7 miles to State Road 1310. Turn left and go 1.2 miles to trailhead parking area on the right. Download Hickey’s Fork Trail
Jerry Miller Trail
4.5 miles, difficult. Since the creek is about one foot deep, a high clearance vehicle is recommended. The trail crosses a small creek bottom and then starts climbing. You will then cross a ridge along a creek to White Oak Flats. A scenic waterfall can be viewed in the lower section below White Oak Flats.Then it follows old forest service roads and joins with the Appalachian Trail. After the forest service roads, it becomes a foot trail that climbs through heavy brush. The trail then connects with the Appalachian Trail at Bear Wallow Gap. This last section of trail is not well marked or worn from use. No markers or directional signs are located at the Appalachian Trail intersection. To get to the trailhead from Hot Springs, go east and south on US 25/70 to NC 208. Turn left and follow NC 208 for 3/5 miles to NC 212. Turn right and travel on NC 212 13.5 miles to Big Creek Road and then 3 miles on Big Creek to a dead end at a Forest Service Road. At the stop sign, there is a sign on the left that says “Trail.” At this point, you have to cross a creek in your vehicle. The parking area is about ½ mile further on the left. Download Jerry Miller Trail
2.3 miles, most difficult. White Oak Trail begins on the left side of FR 4655 and climbs an old logging road for 0.5 mile where it meets FR 465A. This gated road leads back to the parking area. From this point, the trail continues to climb and intersects an old road. An uphill road crosses the west prong of Hickey Fork, which intersects Pounding Mill Trail. To get to the trailhead from Hot Springs, go east and south on US 25/70 to NC 208. Turn left and follow NC 208 for 3/5 miles to NC 212. Turn right and travel on NC 212 for approximately 10 miles to State Road 1312. Turn left and go approximately one mile to a ford through Dry Creek, then another ¼ mile to the White Oak Flats trailhead parking area on the left side of FR #111. State Road 1312 turns into FR #111 at the National Forest Boundary. Download Whiteoak Trail