Asheville TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co
Appalachian Trail in North Carolina

Standing Indian Mountain from Deep Gap

Hike to stunning views from the Standing Indian Mountain summit on the Appalachian Trail, climbing from Deep Gap and the Standing Indian AT shelter near Franklin, NC.

georgia hiking trails: 4-6 miles 5 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: moderate to difficultmore
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails near Asheville for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:on the Appalachian Trail near Franklin, NC

PACK:our Osprey day pack and our hiking gear list

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 785 Trails Illustrated Map (find it at Trailful Outdoor Co.)

Towering, leafy deciduous trees shade the Appalachian Trail as it meanders through Deep Gap, a particularly beautiful stretch of forest in North Carolina’s Southern Nantahala Wilderness. Rising from the gap, the trail climbs through switchbacks and rhododendron tunnels to the summit of Standing Indian Mountain, where views stretch over deep-cut valleys and chiseled mountains. It’s one of our favorite Appalachian Trail day hikes near Franklin, NC, thanks to the forest’s abundant beauty, the trail’s moderate length and difficulty, and the mountain’s beautiful summit views.

Standing Indian Mountain on the Appalachian TrailAbove: hike the AT to beautiful summit views from Standing Indian Mountain near Franklin, NC

Standing Indian Mountain is a scenic hike in any season, exploring a sun-dappled forest filled with moss, fern, and thickets of rhododendron. But it’s particularly beautiful when autumn paints the landscape in the vibrant, warm hues of fall. And, in any season, the hike is fantastic for soaking up some beautiful summit views, or an overnight adventure at one of the AT’s many campsites.

Hike to stunning views from the Standing Indian Mountain summit on the Appalachian Trail, climbing from Deep Gap and the Standing Indian AT shelter near Franklin, NC. #hiking #trailrunning #camping #backpacking #asheville #nc #northcarolina #travel #outdoors #adventure

Standing Indian Mountain on the Appalachian Trail: the hike

The hike departs the Deep Gap Trailhead and parking area off the gravel-paved FS 71 near of Franklin, NC (view maps and driving directions), following the white-blazed Appalachian Trail northeast from the gap. The trail begins a nearly unrelenting climb to the summit, veering northbound under the canopy of the leafy forest. Fern and moss thrive on the sunlight-dappled, rocky forest floor.

The trail winds through switchbacks, continuing its climb and passing a wooden Nantahala National Forest sign at .5 mile. Veering southbound, the hike passes several campsites, first a smaller and then a large, level, multi-tent site alongside a small stream at .75 mile. The hike reaches a blue-blazed trail at just under a mile, following the spur trail 100 yards to the Standing Indian Shelter, a primitive overnight shelter for thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

Standing Indian Shelter on the Appalachian Trail

Returning to the AT, the hike resumes its climb, trailing through several wide switchbacks. The climb intensifies at 1.7 miles as the trail meanders through tight switchbacks, tunneling through an overhead canopy of gnarly-branched rhododendron. Sunlight filters through the leathery rhododendron leaves, basking the forest in golden light.

Standing Indian Mountain on the Appalachian Trail

The trail straightens its course, exiting the thick thickets of rhododendron and running a ridge, catching through-the-trees views on both sides of the trail. Nearing the summit, the AT passes a junction with the blue-blazed Lower Ridge Trail on the left at 2.4 miles. (The Lower Ridge Trail drops a steep 4.1 miles to the nearby Standing Indian Campground.)

The route reaches a wooden ‘Standing Indian Mountain’ sign, veering right off the AT to hike a side trail through a group of near-summit campsites. The hike reaches the Standing Indian Mountain summit overlook at 2.5 miles. Beautiful views expand to the west, overlooking the headwaters of the Tallulah River, the same river that, south of the NC border, carves deep and cascades in a series of beautiful waterfalls in Georgia’s Tallulah Gorge. On the far horizon, Lake Burton is visible, nestled in the rolling southern Appalachian Mountains.

The view is gorgeous, especially when it’s painted in autumn’s brilliant leaf color. The overlook is a fantastic resting spot for a mid-hike snack, water break, or a simply great spot to soak up some outstanding outdoor beauty.

The hike departs the summit and flips to follow its outbound journey in reverse, trekking back to the Appalachian Trail and descending Standing Indian Mountain. The AT reaches the Deep Gap Trailhead at 5 miles, completing the hike.

Summit-worthy hikes near Standing Indian

In the area with daylight to spare? Hike the AT to the nearby summit of Albert Mountain, catching exceptional views from the mountain’s historic fire tower before descending to Mooney Gap. Southeast of Mooney Gap, hike the Pickens Nose Trail to an oddly-named mountain summit speckled with jagged, rocky peaks and some beautiful summit views. Or just south of Standing Indian, hike the Big Laurel Falls Trail to a cascading waterfall near the Appalachian Trail at Carter Gap.

Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.

Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.

Standing Indian Mountain on the Appalachian Trail Map, Directions & Details

This map shows our approximate route while exploring this trail, but does not replace an official trail map. Please refer to the official trail map for the most current and accurate route.

Love the trail?

This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!

Driving Directions


Free parking is available at the trailhead. Before you go, check for seasonal trail and road closures on the USFS Nantahala National Forest site.

GPS Coordinates

35.039491, -83.552510     //     N35 02.370 W83 33.150

Elevation Profile

Standing Indian Mountain on the Appalachian Trail Elevation Profile

Eric Champlin is a creative director and photographer who loves to explore southeast. He's the co-owner of Trailful Outdoor Co, a locally-owned hiking outfitter shop in Hiawassee in the Georgia mountains near the Appalachian Trail. He’s also the co-founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.