Haywood Gap Trail

At A Glance

Most Difficult

5.8 mi one-way

Difficulty Rating: 5.8
Steepness: Climbs Steeply
Tread Condition: Very Rough
Blaze Color: None
Trail Number: 142


Starting at FR 97, Haywood Gap Trail climbs alongside the Middle Prong of the West Fork of the Pigeon River all the way up to the Mountains to Sea Trail about 75 yards from where it crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway at Haywood Gap. Parts of the trail follows old logging road or railroad beds; parts are purpose-built path.

The upper end of the trail is steep in places, with several tricky areas to negotiate. Although most of the tread is in great condition, a few places are definitely not, warranting the Very Rough rating. A crossing of Haywood Gap Stream may be impossible in high water, or at least a wade (at most times it should be an easy rock-hop, however). There are relics from the logging era, including rusting steel cables and some old puncheon bridge sections that have almost completely collapsed but are still quite visible. The trail travels from a cove hardwood forest, to a high-elevation hardwood forest and a few Red Spruces & Fraser Firs gradually mix in as you go up.

Intersecting Trails

  • Buckeye Gap
  • Mountains to Sea Section 2
  • This trail is located in the Middle Prong Wilderness area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Middle Prong Wilderness trails list page.

    This trail also crosses into these trailhead areas:

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    Average Rating: 4.7 (rated 3 times)

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    Bruce said: Hiked from Blue Ridge Parkway. It's truly a beautiful trail to walk on with the sound of rushing water in background, Unfortunately couldn't cross Haywood Gap stream (shown above in the picture), water level was high, only 4 of rocks were above water, couldn't convience myself to rock hobbing and didn't want to get my boots wet, so I turned around. Planning to go back next week, more prepared.

    Saturday, March 30 2019 3:47am

    Barbara said: Hiked the upper part a few weeks ago, the lower part just this morning. Next plan is two cars and straight down top to bottom. This stretch of wilderness looks like a scene from a magical forest dream; breathtakingly beautiful. Hiking poles helped lots with the terrain.

    Monday, August 21 2017 1:48am

    Rachael Eley said: Haywood Gap trail begins just SW of the Sunburst Camping area off 215. We did not hike that section so I cannot include any comments. We began Haywood Gap at the intersection with Buckeye Gap. The walking is pretty gradual uphill at this point. Crossings in April were a rock hop with one exception. There are several large camping areas along the trail, but they have pretty steep descents to get to. After that first creek crossing, the trail becomes very narrow and can be muddy and slippery. It travels steadily upward with some pretty steep pitches. One area along this route has about an 11 foot drop that will require some root holding and sliding on your heinie along rocks. It is a gorgeous trail and is worth the strenuous hike as past the Buckeye Gap intersection, the hiking is not very long in distance, but is steep and difficult.

    Monday, April 11 2016 1:48pm
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