South Mills River Trail #133

12.0 mi - Difficult - Though this trail is on a relatively easy grade, there are nine bridgeless river crossings, thus the Difficult rating. From the end of FS 476, it is four miles to Wolf Ford, where there is a nice campsite. There is also a suspension bridge for hikers, but from here to Cantrell Creek there are no bridges. You will notice signs of an old railroad along much of the trail; look for old trestles at water crossings. Due to the trail’s location at the bottom of a steep valley, it remains cold in the winter, but is very refreshing in the summer. Between Cantrell Creek and the Turkeypen Gap Trailhead there are suspension bridges for hikers to cross. There are numerous intersections with other trails for loop opportunities.

Approximate Elevation Change: 650 feet
Blaze: White

At a Glance

Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Multiple-use Trail: Hiking, mountain bike and equestrian use trail. Motorized use prohibited. Mountain bikes are prohibited in wilderness areas.
Water: yes
Restroom: none
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information

Directions: From Pisgah District Ranger Station/Visitor Center parking lot, turn right (north) on US 276 for approximately 10 miles, and turn right on FS 1206 (Yellow Gap Road). Proceed approximately 3¼ miles to FS 476 (Wolf Ford Road) and turn right; trailhead is at the end of this short road. (Horse trailers should not go beyond the loop campsite on right side of FS 476, since there is insufficient turn-around space at road’s end.) Alternative access is from the Turkeypen area: From the Pisgah District Ranger Station/Visitor Center parking lot, turn left (south) on US 276 for approximately 1½ miles, and then turn left onto NC 280. Proceed east on NC 280 for approximately 5.2 miles and turn left on Turkeypen Road (FS 297) immediately after crossing the Transylvania/Henderson County line. Proceed 1.2 miles to the Turkeypen Gap Trailhead Parking Area at the end of the road. (This trailhead is sometimes congested with horse trailers). The trail starts near a kiosk and road gate at the far end of the parking area.


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking

Horse Riding