Unicoi County Highpoint Trip Report

Big Bald (5,516 ft)

Date: May 4, 2005
Author: Roy Schweiker

As the hike is 6 miles each way from Sams Gap, I first tried some other approaches. The road to Street Gap from the NC side is posted and a local resident told me it would require real 4wd anyway but that the TN side was better. A TN resident said it still needed 4wd. The TN approach to Low Gap is posted and, if Trail 31 to the AT from Big Bald Creek still exists, they did a good job of hiding the trailhead.

I-26 is now complete and US-23 is signed to follow that route but there is no official access to the Appalachian Trail. Access is from the old US-23 which is not signed and there is no exit from I-26 at the crest. On the TN side you must go down to Flag Pond from the last exit to pick up this unsigned road. There are a few paved parking spaces at the crest and more on the grassy road shoulder.