December 3-4, 2016
I am not a big fan of crowds in the backcountry. Hence my favorite destinations are often obscure. Chief among those are Farlow Gap. Hikers probably don’t recognize the name, for them it’s just a gap on the Art Loeb Trail before the Deep Gap Shelter. Bikers likely recognize is as a major nexus between several popular, technical trails.
For me it was a great hike in 2015 with my family. Much like Max Patch, Farlow has an atmosphere that is spiritually deeper than a pretty view. Perhaps it is something in the Cherokee history. Conjecture is my best guess since I can find nothing written regarding the Gap.
On a warm Saturday, my friend Johnny and I set out from Forest Service Road #475 (near John Rock) to hike two trails: Daniel Ridge Loop Trail (#105) and Farlow Gap Trail (#106) (from the map below, we hiked the western leg of Daniel Ridge on Saturday and the eastern on Sunday), camp overnight at Farlow Gap and return to the cars on Sunday.
The hike to Farlow crosses three creeks, the most notable being Shuck Ridge with accompanying falls. On a dry Saturday, the crossings were of no note and simply rock hops. Shortly after dinner on Saturday night, the rain began and by morning had not abated. With the temperature in the mid-30’s and moderate rain, the hike back was frigid. Farlow Gap Trail had turned into a creek and by the time we descended to Shuck Ridge Falls, the simple crossing had become a carefully planned ford of the top of a waterfall.
Daniel Ridge Loop Trail is a wonderful, moderate hike and we enjoyed the vista of Toms Spring Falls just before the cars.
I love backpacking in Pisgah National Forest, and doubly enjoy with a great friend like Johnny.
Johnny’s YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K38kQ_XIVMc
Total mileage is 13.37 miles.