Shelton Laurel Area

The Shelton Laurel Backcountry area located in Madison County, NC is a unique part of the Appalachian Ranger District. It consists of undisturbed hardwood forests, rhododendron thickets and is full of coves, tributaries and serene mountainsides. This area provides 14.7 miles of combined hiking on five different trails, many of which intersect with loop options, and access the Appalachian Trail, as well as, Jerry Cabin Shelter. Enjoyable during all seasons, the Hickey Fork and Jerry Miller trails provide views of waterfalls and cascades in higher elevations, and are especially scenic in the late spring when the mountain laurel and rhododendron are in full bloom. Whiteoak Trail travels through beautiful hardwood forests, and in the winter provides beautiful views of the Baxter Cliffs.

General Information

General Notes:

Appalachian Ranger District
632 Manor Road
Mars Hill, NC 28754
(828) 689-9694 


Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Trail Difficulty

Easy: Route is easy to find and follow; trail has a less than 8 percent grade; length is less than 3 miles; trail is mostly flat with few rocks.

Moderate: Route may or may not be blazed; most of the trail has a less than 20 percent grade; length is usually between 2 and 8 miles; trail may be rocky and have stream crossings.

Difficult: Route may require pathfinding skills; most of the trail has a 20 percent or steeper grade; length is usually more than 8 miles; trail is rocky and uneven and may have stream crossings.

General Info:

Safety Information

Carry Essentials

  • Map & compass (know how to use them)
  • Sharp knife
  • Small flashlight
  • Whistle (outlasts your voice in an emergency)
  • Waterproof matches
  • First aid kit, include sunscreen
  • Water (2-3 quarts per person per day)
  • Space blanket or poncho
  • Nylon cord (for emergency shelter among other uses)
  • Extra food & clothing

General Notes

Leave No Trace

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Camp away from trails and water.
  • Minimize campfire impacts.
  • Respect wildlife. Don't feed them.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

For more information on Leave No Trace, contact: (800) 322.4100 or visit


Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

Viewing Scenery

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery: