Route: Fires Creek Rim Trail (Counterclockwise)

Submitted by Jeremiah Clark on Fri, 04/15/2022 - 06:50pm
North Carolina, US
24.5 mi
Vertical Gain
7,250 ft

The Fires Creek Rim Trail route is a worth wile FKT because it is simply a gnarly, rugged, and wild place that just happens to be a single 25 mile trail that stays on a ridge line of the Tusquitee Mountains in Hayesville, North Carolina. It is truly a hidden gem and deserves to be a place of competition. The trail receives minimal maintenance and the trail is often technical or in poor condition. There is limited and inconvenient water access, the area is a North Carolina Bear Sanctuary, and the area was also the hide away refuge for one of America's most wanted men - serial bomber Eric Rudolph. All these reasons make this place even more fun to go and compete in.

Start at Fires Creek Picnic Area and head east on the road to gain access to Trail 72, Rim Trail. Stay on Rim trail for the entire distance (Blue Blazes). At approximately mile 24.1, when coming down hill and next to the creek, stay left to cross the creek and descend back into the parking lot, making sure NOT to turn right onto Trail 73. 

This trail is very rugged with minimal maintenance.The Rim Trail does not having any direct stream crossings on it (besides for at the very beginning or end, depending on direction taken). There are some side trails that you can take to get to water, most direct being Sassafras Trail at around mile 12.4.

GPS Track


It is unclear to me from the map, but does this route go over the top of Julia High Top or does it take the trail around it?  When I have been up there in the past, it seems like either route would be considered a legitimate part of the rim trail.