Skip to main content

Hiking Old NC 10/US 70

Yesterday, I went with Dave Filpus to hike a former section of US 70 and prior to that NC 10 between Old Fort and Black Mountain. The goal was to hike the former highway (which is about three miles one way) and to see if any clues from the old road's past was still there.

It's not difficult to get there. Take I-40 to Exit 73 (the Old Fort Exit) Turn North into town. At the T-intersection with US 70 in town turn left on to US 70 West. You'll be on US 70 West for about a half mile or so where you will turn right onto Old US 70 there will be a sign for Andrew's Geyser as well. Follow that road until it ends. The hike begins here.

For the most part, the abandoned highway is still in decent shape, there are a handful of small washouts, and in numerous cases overgrowth has shrunk the old 20' roadbed to four-six feet wide. But there isn't really anything 'dangerous' to worry about with the old road.

Early in the hike, we encountered this fella, who had no interest in going along to Point Lookout and beyond.


There are not many artifacts from years gone left on the road. Every now and then though, a familiar double yellow line would show up.

It is very quiet on the trip, and aside from five mountain bikers we came across, the only noise we heard was this Norfolk Southern train whistling by overhead.

As we approached Point Lookout, we came by one of the rare highway artifacts that we saw on the three mile one way hike.


The concrete box protected the telephone junction/switch box from vehicles. The wiring is somewhat modern, Dave said that it resembled wiring and switches from the 1960s.

Point Lookout was the major attraction/stop point when this hill climb was in its vehicular heyday. There is an actual shoulder extending out from the curve at this point and the views of Royal Gorge are impressive.



Not far from Point Lookout is where the rail tunnel goes under the old highway. A great post card image of it can be seen here. Today, the growth of the forest surrounding the highway has blocked that clear view of the tunnel going under the highway. However, there is another old highway artifact from years gone by, possibly the original concrete double guide rail. Oddly, attached to the guide rail around the bend was a more modern metal guide rail.


Although the view of the railroad tunneling under the highway is no longer in clear view from the highway, just around the bend is a view of the train going underneath another tunnel.



Further up the mountain, what appears to be the remains of a double white center stripe remains.


Near the end of the the hike, the former highway's condition does begin to erode.

Overall, it took about three hours to hike. Round trip the hike is about six miles. The hike down the mountain is obviously much quicker than the climb up. There may be more remnants of the old highway just off the road and could be worth a more detailed exploration another time. If you wish to hike it, the best access is on the Old Fort side of the mountain (which was our access point). The general hike is pretty safe, but always caution is advised. Below are some other shots from the hike.




Comments

Anonymous said…
Fabulous trip report. I love the photos of the road itself, especially where you show faded striping or crumbling pavement. Makes me wish I could take that hike today.
Mark Gurley said…
I'm heading that way as soon as the weather warms up a bit.
Anonymous said…
I heard that this trail is going to become a green-way and will be managed for public recreational use. I have also looked at land maps of this area and it is part of the Great Smokey Mountain National Forest, so it should be a scenic area indeed. Nice article, thanks for posting, can't wait to check it out!

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 232

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 232 in Ventura County. CA 232 is an approximately 4 miles State Highway aligned on Vineland Avenye which begins near Saticoy at CA 118 and traverses southwest to US Route 101 in Oxnard.  The alignment of CA 232 was first adopted into the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 154 according to CAhighways.org. CAhighways.org on LRN 154 As originally defined LRN 154 was aligned from LRN 9 (future CA 118) southwest to LRN 2/US 101 in El Rio.  This configuration of LRN 154 between CA 118/LRN 9 and US 101/LRN 2 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Ventura County. 1935 Ventura County Highway Map According to CAhighways.org the route of LRN 154 was extended west from US 101/LRN 2 to US 101A/LRN 60 in 1951.  Unfortunately State Highway Maps do not show this extension due to it being extremely small. During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering LRN 154 was assigned CA 232.  Of n

Former US Route 50 and the South Lincoln Highway from Folsom east to Placerville

The corridor of Folsom of Sacramento County east to Placerville of El Dorado County has been a long established corridor of overland travel dating back to the California Gold Rush.  The Folsom-Placerville corridor was once part of the path of the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road which became the first California State Highway and later the South Lincoln Highway.  In time the South Lincoln Highway's surface alignment was inherited by US Route 50.  The Folsom-Placerville corridor also includes the communities of; Clarksville, Shingle Springs and El Dorado. Part 1; the history of the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road, South Lincoln Highway and US Route 50 through Folsom-Placerville Folsom is located on the American River/Lake Natoma of eastern Sacramento County.  That lands now occupied by the City of Folsom were part of Rancho Rio de los Americanos prior to the finding of gold at Sutter's Mill during 1848.  During the California Gold Rush the lands of Rancho Rio de los Americanos were purchased by Jose

US Route 101 through Gaviota Pass

US Route 101 in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Santa Barbra County, California passes through Gaviota Pass.  Gaviota Pass is most well known for being part of El Camino Real and the namesake Gaviota Tunnel which opened during 1953.  Since 1964 Gaviota Pass and US Route 101 have also carried a multiplex of California State Route 1.   Part 1; the history of the Gaviota Pass corridor Gaviota Pass is historic path of travel through the Santa Ynez Mountains of Santa Barbra County.  Gavoita Pass was a known route through the Santa Ynez Mountains which was utilized by the Chumash tribes before the arrival of Europeans.  Gaviota Pass was first explored by Spanish during the 1769 Portola Expedition of Las Californias.  The Portola Expedition opted to follow the coastline northward fearing that the established Chumash path through Gaviota Pass was too narrow to traverse.  In time Gaviota Pass became a favored established path of Spanish travel which bypassed the hazardous coastline as part of El C