Appalachian Trail: US 321 to TN 91

This relatively flat 20.2-mile section runs through rhododendron tunnels, quiet woodlands, and past three AT shelters.
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This relatively flat 20.2-mile section runs through rhododendron tunnels, quiet woodlands, and past three AT shelters.

Shelters: Watauga Lake Shelter: sleeps 6; no privy. Vandeventer Shelter: sleeps 6; no privy. Iron Mountain Shelter: sleeps 6; no privy.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 32.5

Waypoints

WPT025

Location: 36.450267791748, -81.9774475097656

Blue blazes lead W to water

WPT043

Location: 36.3672981262207, -82.0606155395508

Campsite (room for 2 tents)

WPT012

Location: 36.3224334716797, -82.1238174438476

S end of Watauga Dam; AT follows the road

WPT015

Location: 36.3137321472168, -82.1296844482422

Trail to shelter

WPT029

Location: 36.4332160949707, -81.9924468994141

Spring

WPT030

Location: 36.433032989502, -81.9929351806641

Campsite (room for 4 tents)

POI

Location: 36.3074531555176, -82.1269607543945

Rope Swing

WPT013

Location: 36.3212013244629, -82.1235656738281

AT leaves road onto trail

WPT014

Location: 36.4738998413086, -81.9545135498047

Blue-blazed trail leads to spring

WPT009

Location: 36.3286666870117, -82.1115188598633

AT turns W; Watauga Dam Rd.; Iron Mountain Gap; parking

WPT007

Location: 36.3017501831055, -82.1315689086914

Bridge; old pavement boat ramp

WPT023

Location: 36.4543151855469, -81.9737701416016

AT crests an unnamed summit (4,120 ft.)

WPT004

Location: 36.3041152954102, -82.1301193237305

AT veers E @ jct. with blue-blazed trail to the W

WPT032

Location: 36.4227676391602, -82.0062484741211

Double track trail to the W

WPT031

Location: 36.4267349243164, -81.9964370727539

Powerline

WPT007

Location: 36.3294982910156, -82.1110534667969

Campsite (room for 2 tents)

WPT019

Location: 36.3087844848633, -82.1290817260742

Campsite (room for 2 tents); lakeside trash

WPT003

Location: 36.304615020752, -82.1296463012695

AT veers E

WPT006

Location: 36.302734375, -82.1313629150391

Side trail leads W to road

WPT024

Location: 36.4511833190918, -81.976432800293

Campsite (room for 1 tent)

WPT038

Location: 36.3764495849609, -82.047966003418

Campsite (room for 1 tent)

WPT039

Location: 36.3715515136719, -82.0538177490234

Views to the ESE

WPT010

Location: 36.302116394043, -82.12841796875

AT turns W to road

WPT003

Location: 36.3602333068848, -82.066764831543

Side trail to the E to view Watauga Lake

WPT037

Location: 36.3810997009277, -82.0421524047852

Partial views to the ESE

WPT033

Location: 36.4153671264648, -82.0079650878906

Campsite (room for 3 tents)

ZZZ029

Location: 36.481517791748, -81.9606018066406

TN 91. Navigate a maze-like gate; parking

WPT034

Location: 36.406867980957, -82.0182189941406

Old side trail to the W

WPT011

Location: 36.303165435791, -82.1261672973633

Railroad crossing

WPT011

Location: 36.3235664367676, -82.1214370727539

AT turns W @ N end of Watauga Dam; road walk ahead. Plaque for Watauga Dam, with great views out into the lake. Teal blue waters, deep green forests. Boaters and paddlers

WPT018

Location: 36.3094673156738, -82.1297836303711

Side trail to the E

WPT001

Location: 36.3058815002441, -82.1293182373047

Campsite (room for 4+ tents); trail to rope swing

WPT016

Location: 36.4734649658203, -81.9544677734375

Campsite (room for 2 tents)

WPT005

Location: 36.3504180908203, -82.0770034790039

Spring (puddle)

WPT014

Location: 36.3196487426758, -82.1240005493164

AT turns W; campsite (room for 1 tent)

WPT035

Location: 36.4064178466797, -82.0185470581055

Blue-blazed trail to the E to dry spring; campsite (room for 4 tents)

WPT044

Location: 36.3686332702637, -82.0598831176758

Piped spring

WPT021

Location: 36.306568145752, -82.1295318603516

Campsite (room for 4+ tents); 30-ft. rope swing to the NE

WPT040

Location: 36.3681983947754, -82.0569305419922

Rock adjacent to the trail

WPT028

Location: 36.4337844848633, -81.9926300048828

Blue-blazed trail to the E to spring

WPT004

Location: 36.3527336120606, -82.0753631591797

Campsite (room for 1 tent) to the W 40 ft.; ferns and rhododendrons

WPT022

Location: 36.305549621582, -82.1290512084961

Rope swing (past small fire @ point)

WPT008

Location: 36.3287658691406, -82.1113510131836

Big Laurel Branch Wilderness; campsite (room for 4 tents)

WPT020

Location: 36.3084487915039, -82.1290512084961

Campsite (room for 3 tents)

WPT010

Location: 36.3257179260254, -82.1170196533203

AT leaves paved, one lane road

WPT022

Location: 36.4609832763672, -81.9677810668945

Campsite (room for 2 tents)

WPT017

Location: 36.473217010498, -81.9545135498047

Small stream crossing

WPT009

Location: 36.3019981384277, -82.1287002563476

Picnic area; woods; bridge

WPT002

Location: 36.3666839599609, -82.0595169067383

Blue-blazed trail to spring which is .3 mi. down a steep hill

WPT017

Location: 36.3117828369141, -82.1324005126953

AT switchbacks @ jct. with side trail to water; small stream crossing

WPT006

Location: 36.3421516418457, -82.0871505737305

Views to SSE of Watauga Lake

WPT036

Location: 36.4061660766602, -82.0181198120117

Dry spring

WPT026

Location: 36.4491653442383, -81.9786682128906

Nick Grindstaff Monument. Known as Uncle Nick Grindstaff, the hermit of the mountains, Nick's memorial marker reads he "lived alone, suffered alone, died alone."

WPT018

Location: 36.4682998657227, -81.9554672241211

Side trail to the E

WPT015

Location: 36.4738998413086, -81.9543838500976

Spring house

WPT020

Location: 36.4619331359863, -81.9664993286133

Switchbacks

WPT019

Location: 36.4643516540527, -81.9621963500976

3,750 ft.

WPT027

Location: 36.4357681274414, -81.9908676147461

Iron Mtn. Shelter

ZZZ028

Location: 36.3018684387207, -82.1279830932617

US 321; Shook Branch Rd.

WPT016

Location: 36.3140487670898, -82.1295013427734

Watauga Lake Shelter: The area around this shelter may be dirty due to its proximity to the road

WPT005

Location: 36.3033676147461, -82.1311187744141

Campsite (room for 2 tents); shore

WPT001

Location: 36.3671035766602, -82.0587692260742

Vandeventer Shelter

WPT013

Location: 36.4768486022949, -81.9579696655274

Gravel road. The area around this point had been burned recently. Scorch marks can still be seen on some of the rhododendron trunks. Trail winds around, occasionally walking along plank walkways through thick rhodendron fields

WPT008

Location: 36.3018989562988, -82.1287307739258

AT continues straight; side trail leads W to road and parking

WPT012

Location: 36.4812164306641, -81.9603805541992

TN 91

WPT002

Location: 36.3050994873047, -82.1296463012695

AT veers E; campsite (room for 6 tents); side trail heads straight

IMG_0751

Location: 36.3097724914551, -82.1310653686524

IMG_0799

Location: 36.3419151306152, -82.0871200561524

IMG_0824

Location: 36.3280982971191, -82.1161804199219

IMG_0923

Location: 36.3140335083008, -82.129264831543

IMG_0870

Location: 36.3229179382324, -82.1228332519531

IMG_0787

Location: 36.3452835083008, -82.0830001831055

IMG_0697

Location: 36.4490852355957, -81.9787673950195

IMG_0959

Location: 36.3015327453613, -82.130500793457

IMG_0831

Location: 36.3242988586426, -82.1215667724609

IMG_0676

Location: 36.4744834899902, -81.9550476074219

IMG_0968

Location: 36.302116394043, -82.1279830932617

IMG_0753

Location: 36.3740005493164, -82.0506134033203

IMG_0846

Location: 36.3235816955566, -82.1213989257812

IMG_0845

Location: 36.3235816955566, -82.1213989257812

IMG_0821

Location: 36.3283004760742, -82.1143798828125

IMG_0961

Location: 36.3018493652344, -82.1289138793945

IMG_0752

Location: 36.4054183959961, -82.0195999145508