Winding Stair Gap to the NOC on the Appalachian Trail

based on 25 tracks & routes
27.6 mi
13 hrs 34 min
3,556 ft
Elev Gain


This is a moderate one way trail in Nantahala National Forest (Nantahala Ranger District). There ia a long and substantial descent at the end of the hike heading down to the Nantahala Outdoor Center at Wesser.

This hike has a number of locations that offer impressive view, including Siler Bald, Way Bald, and the firetower at Wesser Bald. Most of the trail feels remote, but expect to see people at Wayah Bald because it is easily accessed by car. Note that there are pit toilets available at Wayah Bald near the parking area.

This trail goes by Moore Creek Camp, Panther Knob, Big Stamp, Siler Bald Shelter, Snowbird Gap, Wayah Gap, Wayah Crest Trailhead, Wayah Crest, Wine Spring Campsite, Wine Spring Bald, Wayah Bald Fire Tower, Wayah Bald, Wayah Bald Shelter, Licklog Gap, Burningtown Gap, Cold Spring Shelter, Copper Ridge Bald, Tellico Bald, Black Bald, Tellico Gap, Wesser Bald, and Fork Mountain.

Getting Started

There is a small parking area where the Appalachian Trail crosses US Hwy 64, on the south side. You'll need to walk a few hundred feet along the road to the NE and then cross to where the Appalachian Trail continues North.

Parking is available at the AT hiker lot at the NOC, and a free parking pass can be gotten inside the nearby store. Local shuttle drivers are available to drive you to Winding Stair Gap for a fee.

Taking Children

Most of this hike is moderate and safe. Between the NOC and Wesser Bald there are some rocky/scrambly sections that might be a problem for children or pets.

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