Traffic of all sorts once passed through here—Indians, explorers, Confederate soldiers, farmers with livestock herds, merchants, and families traveling for varied reasons. This is Indian Gap. The road trace that descends the hill in front of you is a remnant of the Indian Gap Road, at one time the major north-south route through the Great Smoky Mountains.
For centuries this had been an Indian trail, but in the 1830s it was widened as a toll road, with charges for pedestrians, riders, vehicles, and livestock. The new road was steep, rocky, rutted, and only about five feet wide. Ice and fallen trees often obstructed the way. But until the Newfound Gap Road opened in the 1930s, travelers had no better way to cross the mountains. To avoid the arduous crossing, many opted for lengthy routes around.
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Mountain travelers often used sleds year-round on rugged mountain roads like the Indian Gap Road.
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A trace of the Indian Gap Road is visible a short distance inside the woods in front of you. Today remnants of the road are accessible only to hikers.
The Road Prong Trail follows the road trace from here, descending about 3.3 miles to the Newfound Gap Road at the Chimney Tops Trailhead parking area.