Chinquapin Mountain Trail

At A Glance

More Difficult

3.5 mi one-way

Difficulty Rating: 5.41
Steepness: Climbs Moderately
Tread Condition: Moderately Rough
Lowest Elevation: 3470 ft
Highest Elevation: 4200 ft
Climb Total: 750 ft
Blaze Color: Blue


Mossy Sides of the Chinquapin Mountain Trail
Mossy Sides of the Chinquapin Mountain Trail

From the Glen Falls parking area, descends briefly to cross the East Fork Overflow Creek on a sturdy bridge, then begins ascending the valley of a lively tributary stream in a generally northwesterly direction through a thick rhododendron understory.

There are some small cascades on the stream but nothing worth exploring more closely. Spring wildflowers line the trail in places including Catesby's trillium, Trout Lily, and Bellwort. The trail enters a more-level area where the stream becomes more lazy, and then crosses the stream or its tributaries several times. This section is muddy with lots of rocks and roots, and passes through a former hemlock forest. It could use some serious maintenance or even a few re-routes in places.

The trail has one signed junction at a place that touches the stream. A spur path leads across the stream back to NC Hwy. 106, where there is an alternate parking area. The stretch up to here from Glen Falls is nice though, so I recommend parking there unless you're short on time or the parking lot is full.

The trail makes a switchback to the southwest and then begins climbing Chinquapin Mountain through a series of switchbacks. The rhododendrons gradually give way to more open woods and some neat, mossy rock outcrops appear. As you approach the summit, spur trails for the various overlooks appear on the left - they start at 5 and count down to 1, because whoever named them apparently came up from private property at the north end of this trail.

Lookout #5

View from Lookout 5 on Chinquapin Mountain
View from Lookout 5 on Chinquapin Mountain

The sign for the first overlook is nailed to a tree at a junction; this one has a beautiful view of the Blue Valley and all the way over to Whiteside Mountain, and is right next to the trail. It is well worth it. Be careful; the sloping rock gets steeper farther down.

Lookout #4

Sign for Lookout 4 on Chinquapin Mountain
Sign for Lookout 4 on Chinquapin Mountain

Overlook #4 is also right next to the trail but has a very limited view between the trees.

Lookout #3

Panoramic View from Lookout 3 on Chinquapin Mountain
Panoramic View from Lookout 3 on Chinquapin Mountain

The spur to overlook #3 is a bit further along than 4 and 5, near the summit. The spur trail to it is also a bit longer (about 0.1 mi), and descends rather steeply, which means you have to come back up. But the view is spectacular! It pops out at a couple of rock outcroppings with sweeping views toward Rabun Bald in GA.

Lookout #2

Spur Trail to Lookout 2 on Chinquapin Mountain
Spur Trail to Lookout 2 on Chinquapin Mountain

Overlook #2 is reached by a short, twisty side trail, not as long as the one to lookout 3, but still a bit off the main trail. It is worth the extra distance, and makes a good turn-around point for the hike.

Lookout #1

I haven't visited overlook #1 because the information and photos I had suggested that it wasn't worth it. I recommend turning around at #2 - beyond this point, the trail turns north, begins descending and crosses onto private property before supposedly ending back at NC Hwy. 106.

Can be combined with the Glen Falls trail for a longer hike starting at the same parking area, or from the Blue Valley experimental forest parking area for a true summit hike that includes Glen Falls at about the half-way point.

This trail is located in the Nantahala Ranger District area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Nantahala Ranger District trails list page.

All Photos from the Trail

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Map Information

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Average Rating: 5.0 (rated 1 times)

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[Site Admin] Jordan Mitchell said: @Jim thanks - I was suspicious of that even though the official Forest Service data shows the trail continuing. We field checked up to the summit overlooks only. I've now updated the map!

Wednesday, August 25 2021 5:13pm

Jim Chance said: Trail has been cleared and is now regularly maintained by volunteers. The map is in error. There is no upper trailhead on 106. What is shown as a trail is actually someone’s driveway. Please do not go through their gate and onto their driveway.

Friday, July 30 2021 7:48pm

Clint said: Love this trail but currently it’s impassable in parts due to massive fallen trees.

Sunday, November 12 2017 3:07pm

Robert E. Marshall said: I hiked Glen Fall Trail 8# last year and there is a wonderful waterfall on the East Fork of Overflow Creek as you head up the trail towards the base of Glen Falls.

Wednesday, March 29 2017 12:20am
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