Your getaway to the National Forest is the Hideaway Connector Trail. This 1.2 mile pathway starts at the upper end of the campground. Follow the gravel road to the left after it splits just a few yards above the campground. Cross the metal bridge over Powder Burnt Branch and continue up the road a short distance to the metal tower. From here you can see the grassy top of Cheoah Bald to the North.
As you face the base of the tower, look for the path entering the woods on the left. This is an old road cut by settlers back before there were electric towers and lines. It leads around a dry ridge into a hollow of Laurel Creek. Keep climbing to the head of the hollow and rock hop Laurel Creek at ½ mile.
The path seconds along the creek, crossing it twice more before entering a rhododendron and the national forest. Laurel Creek is off to the left. Within 50 yards the path splits again. Take the high road to the left again.
After a steep climb, the trail comes to a gap at 1 mile. This hardwood forest stands at 3,520 feet. The Hideaway Connector Trail hugs the ridge to its right as the hill to the left falls steeply away. The trail descends to the Sutherland Gap at mile 1.2.
Straight ahead is the Nantahala Trail. It leads to the Bartram Trail. To your right is the London Bald Trail. It heads southeasterly along the ridge that divides Cherokee and Macon Counties.
Continue downhill on the Nantahala Trail for ½ mile. The yellow blazed Bartram Trail will come in on your left. Turn left on Bartram Trail. The narrow footpath swings around Rattlesnake Knob, passing a small spring a half mile. Two miles beyond Sutherland Gap, you’ll come to the boundary with the power company property. Enjoy “Gorge-ous” views of the Nantahala Gorge. Wind down a series of ten switchbacks, connect to a service road for the nearby Nantahala Dam and end your hike at the Nantahala River boat launch site 5.5 miles from the campground.