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Thread: Lost Cove, NC

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    Default Lost Cove, NC

    We're planning a visit to Lost Cove near Burnsville, NC in early May. I've found a couple of good descriptions of the place and the trek, and a 10-yr-old WB thread.
    There are apparently three ways to hike there. The most straightforward is over a mountain. Another is from the Devil's Fork Trail. The third involves following the railroad along the Nolichucky River.

    My question is about this third path, which crosses the Nolichucky on a train-only bridge. I found the following on an AllTrails review:
    "Keep in mind, that included a train-only bridge in the beginning of the hike that takes you over the Nolichucky. We almost got stuck on the bridge at the same time as the train on the return trip (a little hairy!!). There are grates to walk along the side of the bridge but the rough water flowing below is clearly visible and not for folks who are afraid of heights! (It's also technically trespassing to walk along the tracks/bridge)."

    I really don't want to play chicken with a freight train on a narrow bridge over a cold rough river!!! But sometimes things are exaggerated. I'm hoping someone here has accurate information so we can evaluate the three options and choose the one that's best for our group.

    Specifically I'm wondering, do those grates on the side of the bridge include a rail? And is there a solid place to walk between the RR ties, or is it just open air to the water below? Any idea of the length of the bridge, or time it takes to cross?

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    typically a railroad bridge one is hopping tie to tie......open air below...

    also keep in mind, railroad lines are private property and it's considering trespassing if
    one is walking on this....

    railroads dont play around...

    sure, you might not get caught.......but it can also be very unpleasant if you are caught...

    it used to be a thing in knoxille to park on the south side of the river and walk
    that railroad bridge over to the stadium..........

    the railroad worked with the school to try to prevent people from doing this for
    obvious reasons....

    luckily, in my time in knoxville---i can't recall someone falling off of it.....

    plenty of people jumping from the other bridges though....

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    I would much rather a mountain kick my butt than a train !
    There's no set times for these trains?
    You could always tie each other like they do when they go across Glaciers.

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    And or crevasses, you know what I mean.

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    The 3d option should not even be an option. Stick with 1 or 2.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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    TNhiker and JNI64, I'm leaning pretty strongly towards NOT crossing the bridge, especially if it's tie-to-tie with open air between! Actually if that's the case, it's a most definite no-no-no-never!
    Just doing research, exploring options for now.

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    If you park on the Unaka Springs side you won't have to walk the bridge over the Nolichucky. I've been to Lost Cove a few times from the tracks. I've walked the tracks over 100 times. I've never heard of walking the tracks being a problem with the local railroad. Everyone here use the tracks for fishing or hiking. When you hear the tracks start to sing it's time to find a place to wait for it to pass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmax View Post
    If you park on the Unaka Springs side you won't have to walk the bridge over the Nolichucky. I've been to Lost Cove a few times from the tracks. I've walked the tracks over 100 times. I've never heard of walking the tracks being a problem with the local railroad. Everyone here use the tracks for fishing or hiking. When you hear the tracks start to sing it's time to find a place to wait for it to pass.




    by law, it is concerned trespassing....

    it's just a matter of whether that certain railroad enforces it....

    i know when i covered any incident involving railroad tracks, we were not
    allowed to come up on the tracks or the right away........and typically, a representative
    from the railroad company was on the scene either right before us or right after....

    linesman and other workers would be out there to check out what damage or whatever happened,
    and they would always ask us to get off their land...

    they were polite-------but for some train hoppers, ive heard incidents of people getting beaten
    for being around the trains or property........

    this is one company but it generally reflects all railroads.....

    https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-...xpect-a-train/

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    Helpful info, dmax.
    Thank you!

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    All of the above. Plus I'll add that the time I parked at Uncle Johnny's and got dropped off near Flat Top and hiked the RR back -- the headache that I had from several hours of creosote and oil from the railroad lasted with me for a day.

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    I have done Lost Cove a couple times using the Lost Cove Trail. The roads on Flattop Mtn will open on April 1. From 19W, turn on Howell Branch (Whiteoak Flats Road). At the gap, turn left on FSR 278. I think its 1.5 miles from here. You will pass a large turnout. Keep going and park right before another gate where the road gets really rough. There should be a gate (LOST COVE TRAIL) that leads uphill to the open meadows and then slides down toward the Gorge. The trail from here can be steep and rocky.

    The times I have went down to it, the trail never went into Lost Cove or touched Devils Creek Trail, and I had to bushwhack down a creek drainage and came out right at the old caretaker cabin.

    But apparently, right around the junction of Lost Cove/Devils Creek Trail is a side trail to Lost Cove.

    I have heard of people walking in from Chestoa (Erwin) to Lost Cove. Its six miles and there are a few places where its iffy if a train is coming. Rangers told me rattlesnakes love laying on the tracks during warm weather.
    Last edited by Tennessee Viking; 03-30-2021 at 11:33.
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    I think FSR 278 at Spivey Gap opens as well on April 1. There is a parking area just above the AT crossing. There is a old gated FSR right next to the nobo side of AT that leads to a wildlife plot. The Devils Creek TH is located at the plot.
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    Thank you to Bumpy and TnViking (and others) for your comments.

    I finally found a good paper map of the area - yes, it was my AT map, yes, I've had it all this time. But I just didn't realize how close this was to the AT.
    Sometimes the online maps just don't cut it.

    I've learned that there's a Devil's Fork Gap, and a Devil's Creek Gap ... they're several miles apart.
    I've learned that the FS roads are not always accessible, and may be in very poor condition.

    We may be doing this trip with two others that we've never hiked with before. Originally my husband and I were going to visit Lost Cove as a daytrip. Now I think we may make it an overnight, so our companions can more fully experience the backcountry. If so, then the walk in from Devil's Creek (near Spivey Gap) is becoming more attractive. I'll present the group with the best information I can find, give my recommendation, and let them decide. If we do an overnight, I hope we can find suitable spots for 3 tents along the Devil's Creek Trail. It feels inappropriate to camp in the abandoned town itself, although the outskirts might be okay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    If we do an overnight, I hope we can find suitable spots for 3 tents along the Devil's Creek Trail. It feels inappropriate to camp in the abandoned town itself, although the outskirts might be okay.
    The last time I was there was 3-4 years ago. Most all of the buildings are gone - just a couple left - but there are still several foundations and you can get the basic sense of what existed even though the area is going back to forest. Sometime in the miid 2000's a fire went up the gorge and took a some of the structures.

    There is plenty of camping - tent or hammock. You will find a cemetery that has a little saddle for tents and there are a couple of other traditional places you will find if you poke around. When you get there wander around for an hour - don't just camp at the first spot you see. It is game land, so check seasons especially in the fall.

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    Illabelle

    Last time I went to Lost Cove was back in 2009. FSR 278 was drivable up to the Lost Cove Trail pull out. Just beyond it the road gets rough.

    As for camping, the open meadow on Lost Cove Trail (on top of Flattop Mtn) is just a short walk up hill from the parking area. It over looks the Gorge toward Shinbone. There was not much in camping down the trail and didn't level out until I start hitting some wide switchbacks and spring beds.

    Definitely attempt it starting April when the roads open.

    I did part of the Devils Creek Trail in 2008 walking in from Spivey Gap Rec Area. When you get on the small FSR that leads to the wildlife plot and Devils Creek Trail, there were a couple spots along the road where someone camped.

    Check with Johnnys they may have someone who has visited Lost Cove recently.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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