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 38

California State Route 38 is a fifty-nine-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernardino County and a component of the Rim of the World Highway.  California State Route 38 begins at California State Route 18 at Bear Valley Dam of the San Bernardino Mountains and follows an easterly course on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.  California State Route 38 briefly multiplexes California State Route 18 near Baldwin Lake and branches east towards the 8,443-foot-high Onyx Summit.  From Onyx Summit the routing of California State Route 38 reverses course following a largely westward path through the San Bernardino Mountains towards a terminus at Interstate 10 in Redlands.   Pictured as the blog cover is California State Route 38 at Onyx Summit the day it opened to traffic on August 12th, 1961.   Part 1; the history of California State Route 38 California State Route 38 (CA 38) is generally considered to be the back way through the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake of Bear Valley

The original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh

Firebaugh is a city located on the San Joaquin River of western Fresno County.  Firebaugh is one of the oldest American communities in San Joaquin Valley having been settled as the location of Firebaugh's Ferry in 1854.  Traditionally Firebaugh has been served by California State Route 33 which was one of the original Sign State Routes announced during August 1934.  In modern times California State Route 33 is aligned through Firebaugh on N Street.  Originally California State Route 33 headed southbound passed through Firebaugh via; N Street, 8th Street, O Street, 12th Street, Nees Avenue and Washoe Avenue.  The blog cover depicts early California State Route 33 near Firebaugh crossing over a one-lane canal bridge.  The image below is from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County which depicts the original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh. Part 1; the history of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh The community of Firebaugh is named in honor of Andr

Driving the Watkins Glen Historic Road Course - New York

  Situated at the south end of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Watkins Glen is well known for wineries along Seneca Lake and waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park . But one thing that gives the town much renown is its connection to the world of auto racing. The raceway at Watkins Glen Internationa l holds a number of big races every year, such as Six Hours at the Glen and the NASCAR Cup Series . The history of auto racing at Watkins Glen starts during the 1940s when the race followed a course on local roads and also through the streets of downtown Watkins Glen. It's a course that you can follow today, preferably at a more moderate speed than the auto racers of yore raced at. Let's explore the history of the original course, how it came to by and why it is no more. Organized races through the village of Watkins Glen and surrounding roads were first proposed and started by Cameron R. Argetsinger in 1948, marking the beginning of post-war sports car