Appalachian Trail, NC, US – Standing Indian Loop
This was my first hike on the Appalachian Trail. While I can’t say I felt the “special something” that sparks a desire in so many folks to thru-hike it, I can say it was a wonderful experience overall.
Route of the Appalachian Trail in this video:
Long Branch Shelter
Albert Mountain Fire Tower
Betty Creek Gap
Carter Gap Shelter
Standing Indian Mountain
Deep Gap Campground; Deep gap parking
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine.
The trail is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long, though the exact length changes over time as parts are rerouted or modified. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy describes the Appalachian Trail as the longest hiking-only trail in the world.
The idea of the Appalachian Trail came about in 1921. The trail itself was completed in 1937 after more than a decade of work, although improvements and changes continue.
It is maintained by 31 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, and managed by the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Most of the trail is in forest or wild lands, although some portions traverse towns, roads and farms. It passes through 14 states: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Thru-hikers attempt to hike the trail in its entirety in a single season. Many books, documentaries, websites, and fan organizations are dedicated to the pursuit. Some hike from one end to the other, then turn around and thru-hike the trail the other way, known as a “yo-yo”.
The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail form what is known as the Triple Crown of Hiking in the United States.
Standing Indian Mountain, elevation 5,499 feet (1,676 m), is part of the North Carolina portion of the Southern Nantahala Wilderness within the boundaries of the Nantahala National Forest. The mountain lies along the Appalachian Trail and is the highest point along the Nantahala River.
The Cherokee name for Standing Indian Mountain is Yunwitsule-nunyi, which translates to “where the man stood.” According to Cherokee mythology, Standing Indian Mountain is home to the remains of a Cherokee warrior. This warrior had been sent to the mountaintop to keep a lookout for a winged monster. The monster, who lair was located on Standing Indian Mountain, would swoop in from the skies and steal children.
Upon discovering the location of the monster’s lair, the Cherokee prayed to the Great Spirit for assistance. The prayers were answered when the Great Spirit destroyed the monster and its lair with thunder and lightning.
The lightning frightened the warrior and the warrior tried to abandon his post. Because the warrior abandoned his post, he was turned into stone for his cowardice.
The summit is located about 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the Georgia border.
The Appalachian Trail passes over Standing Indian Mountain’s summit. From the Deep Gap parking area, it is a 2.5 miles (4.0 km) hike up the Appalachian Trail to the summit. From the Standing Indian Campground, it is a 4.1 miles (6.6 km) hike up the Lower Ridge Trail and a 0.1 miles (0.16 km) hike up the Appalachian Trail for a total hike of 4.2 miles (6.8 km).