Length: 8.4 miles
This moderate low ridge trail ascends 1,800 feet in 8.5 miles. The trail starts fairly level at Polls Gap but begins to climb steeply on switchbacks after Maggot Spring and until Hemphill Bald. This trail starts on the Caldwell Fork Trail. There are several superb lookouts, most notably a view east from Hemphill Bald. The bald was named after a pioneer family. This trail is used extensively by horses but is generally in good condition. There are few water sources along this ridge; the most reliable is a strong spring about 1 mile east of Polls Gap.
Directions to Caldwell Fork Trail:Take exit 20 off I-40 (Cove Creek) and travel west on NC 276 turn right on Cove Creek road. Stay on Cove Creek Rd. for 6 miles. This will take you 2 miles beyond park boundary. Turn left on Cataloochee Road, go 3.1 miles. Trail will be on the left.