Welcome to the most scenic stretch of trail in North Carolina (and Tennessee). From the git-go at Carver's Gap, the Appalachian Trail passes over Round and Jane balds (with a side trip to a third, Grassy Ridge, possible), offering sweeping views of the North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia mountains. There's some intimate high-ridge hiking (the mountain ash should be coming into bloom), then more balds: Little Hump and Hump mountains. We should also be on the cusp of the spring wildflower season at this altitude, which flirts with 6,000 feet .
This three-day, two-night trip starts from Carvers Gap on the Appalachian Trail and heads north for 14 miles. Particularly stunning are the three balds in the first couple of miles and the famous Hump and Little Hump mountains about 10 miles later.
Day 1: We will set off from Carver's Gap around 2 p.m., hike about 3 miles and establish camp in the vicinity of the Stan Murray Shelter.
Day 2: We will hike 5-6 miles, past Yellow Gap, over Little Hump to Hump Mountain. Depending upon the weather, we will either camp atop Hump Mountain (clear sky, minimal wind) or continue another mile or so and camp in a protected area.
Day 3: Hike out, about 6 miles, to US 19E.
We will have a trip planning session on Wednesday, April 3, at 7 pm, at the Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Raleigh's Cameron Village. This trip includes a shuttle to Carvers Gap and a shower afterward, before heading home.
This is a challenging backpack trip. Though it trends downhill, there are good climbs along the way. You must be in good shape for this hike. We are a beginner-friendly bunch, but you will need to have some experience — and your own gear — for this hike. If I haven't hiked with you, we will have a phone chat beforehand to make sure this trip is a good fit.