View – this interesting hike is located in the Roan Mountain Highlands and features a section of the Appalachian Trail with several excellent view spots with 360 degree panoramic pastoral views of North Carolina and Tennessee from Little Hump Mountain and Big Yellow Mountain – both bald summits.
Hike Profile – this out and back hike follows the Appalachian Trail and Big Yellow Trail to the summits of Little Hump Mountain and Big Yellow Mountain. The hike starts out on the Appalachian Trail near the Yellow Mountain Gap shelter and proceeds to the summit of Little Hump Mountain. After a moderate climb through a wooded area, it levels out onto a wide meadow and then climbs again to the bald at the summit of Little Hump Mountain. After visiting Little Hump Mountain, the hike backtracks to the base of Little Hump and then leaves the AT to climb a small bald knoll. From the summit of the bald knoll, there is a long, mild ascent of Big Yellow Mountain through a wooded area until you reach the bald at the top. The hike ends with a return to the AT and the descent to the trailhead.
Trail Surface – easy walking on dirt/grass trails with areas of loose rocks. The trails to and from the AT from the bald knoll run through high grass and are partially obscured but are easy to navigate. The summit of Big Yellow Mountain is a large bald area that is a pasture complete with grazing cattle. The surface here is short grass but with numerous large, loose rocks and a very uneven surface. Watch out for the cow pies!
Environment – areas of hardwood forest and open grassy and low shrub fields on the balds.
Navigation – the trail starts on an access road to the AT shelter at Yellow Mountain Gap. The access road is located at the end of Roaring Creek Road. From the shelter, there is a short trail that climbs to the AT at Yellow Mountain Gap. From there, you head north on the AT until you reach the summit of Little Hump Mountain.
After reaching the summit of Little Hump Mountain, the hike backtracks on the AT a short distance until you reach a small spur trail that branches off to the left at the base of Little Hump and climbs a small bald knoll . As you look at the bald knoll from Little Hump, you will notice that it is located at the start of Big Yellow Mountain which extends out to the left of the bald knoll (see the photo gallery below). The trail to the summit of Big Yellow Mountain starts at the top of the bald knoll and runs through the meadow toward Big Yellow. As the meadow area ends at the base of Big Yellow, the trail dives to the right and enters a dense wooded area. From there, the trail goes straight to the summit where it ends at a metal gate. You need to climb around the gate in order to enter the bald area on the summit.
After viewing the summit of Big Yellow, return to the summit of the small bald knoll. From there, bear slightly left on a small trail that runs through the grass and eventually joins the AT. Refer to the photo gallery for more information.
Directions to Trailhead – the trailhead is located at the end of Roaring Creek Road which is approximately 15 miles north of Spruce Pine on Rt. 19E from the junction with Rt. 226. The trailhead is approximately 4.75 miles on Roaring Creek Road from the intersection with Rt. 19E.