Height – 60′ (numerous drops)
Distance – 4.4 miles (as a loop)
Beauty – 6
Photo rating – 3
Solitude – 8
GPS Info: LAT 35.3104056 LONG -82.9325224
Last Updated – 01-07-2023
Last Visited – 07-03-2021
You can do this hike one of two ways (actually 3 if you want a really long day with more to see). The last time I did this hike I did it as a shuttle. We left a car at the Rough Butt Bald Overlook on the parkway and drove to Haywood Gap to start the hike. This is a point where the MST crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is a wide grassy area on the Southbound side. Two trails leave from here adn you want the correct one.The white blazed MST parallels the parkway. The one you want is the Haywood Gap Trail starts down the mountain. 1.4 miles from the parkway the Haywood Gap Trail comes to a crossing of Haywood Gap Stream. This is just downstream of where Buckeye Branch joins Haywood Gap Stream. Follow the stream upstream to Buckeye Creek with comes in on river right. From this point the hike follows the creek, either in it or just next to it. We NEVER got too far from the creek.
You are in for a nearly 2-mile creekwalk that is oftentimes steep and slippery. I’ve been in high water and low. If you’re here in high water, staying in the creek will be problematic, and likely impossible. Buckeye Falls is very close to the confluence with Haywood Gap Stream. Sheephead Falls is closer to the top, and Upper Buckeye Creek Falls is almost at the MST, which is your way back to Rough Butt Bald Overlook. The last stretch of MST is pretty flat. Make sure to take the connector trail when the MST splits or you’ll end up back at Haywood Gap and add about two more miles to the fun. Can’t tell you much about the creekwalk other than it ain’t easy.