“The access trail to the infamous Heartbreak Ridge Trail! A WNC classic!”
— Brandon Thrower
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views
Use this trail to start your Heartbreak Ridge Trail
From the the Old Fort Picnic area and the base of Kitsuma, access Star Gap (TR 209) by taking Mill Creek Road approximately 2.5 miles north to Graphite Road. Veer right here just past the Brookside Baptist Church, and turn right on the doubletrack (unmarked) trail approximately .2 mi. past that. This will meet railroad tracks. Cross the tracks to start the Star Gap Trail.
Just into the woods, the trail gains elevation immediately. Continue on Star Gap to get to the bottom of Heartbreak Ridge. Turn up Heartbreak Ridge Trail
for the climb or continue straight and start a descent from there to Jarrett Creek Road - FS 4030.
Star Gap has roughly the same elevation gain/loss from the railroad tracks to Jarrett Creek Road. The big change from climbing to descending will be at the intersection with Heartbreak Ridge, ~1.2 mi. up at 2720 ft. You'll find about the same amount of switchbacks on either side of this point also.