Yellow Mountain Gap


The Overmountain Men marched over the mountain barrier following a narrow path known as "Bright's Trace." It followed a route used by Indians and created over centuries by migrations of deer, elk, and buffalo to cross the mountains. That path offered the men a challenging climb as it had rained the evening before. When they arrived at the top of the ridge, they found themselves standing in snow described later as "shoe-mouth deep."

Parading the men at the top, the officers discovered that two men known to have leanings toward the loyalists were missing. It was feared this pair of spies had run ahead to warn British Major Patrick Ferguson that a band of a thousand militiamen were coming over the mountains after him.

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Yellow Mountain Road

Photo by Randell Jones

The Yellow Mountain Road crossed the Appalachian Mountains along what was at one time called Bright's Trace. This marker stands along a North Carolina stretch of US Hwy 19E in Avery County where Roaring River Road connects. This is where the Overmountain Men would have completed their march over the mountains through Yellow Mountain Gap. US Hwy 19E follows along the North Toe River southward toward Spruce Pine as far as Ingalls. [View Additional File Details]

Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area

Photo by Randell Jones

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail ascends the Appalachian Mountains from the Tennessee side on a marked trail through the Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area and onto US Forest Service lands. The historic route followed by the militiamen lay along Sugar Hollow Creek, which is private land, in an adjacent draw. The public route along the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail ascends to the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains where it crosses the Appalachian Trail at Yellow Mountain Gap. [View Additional File Details]

A reminder of Bright's Trace

Photo by Randell Jones

The footpath through the Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area reminds hikers of the simple, narrow footpath which the Overmountain Men were following up the mountains to Yellow Mountain Gap. That route was known as Bright's Trace. [View Additional File Details]

Roaring River campsite marker

Photo by Randell Jones

After crossing through Yellow Mountain Gap on September 27, 1780, the Overmountain militiamen camped along the Roaring River. A cast iron plaque (now missing) commemorated that event near where the men would have made camp. [View Additional File Details]

View along Roaring River Road

Photo by Randell Jones

As the Overmountain militiamen continued their march on the morning of September 28, they may well have seen a view such as this as the morning light peeked into the hollow they were descending. [View Additional File Details]

Excerpt from "Before They Were Heroes at King's Mountain" by Randell Jones

pp. 391-392 They covered about four miles in reaching the top at nearly 4,700 feet elevation. Ensign Campbell continued in his diary, "[T]here were about a hundred acres of beautiful table lands, in which a spring issued, ran through it, and over into the Watauga." . . . . Having reached the bald, the officers gathered their men by company and paraded them, ordering the men to each fire his weapon. At the higher elevations, some men later recalled, the thinner air reduced the report of their rifles, making much less of the expected sound. With the men in ranks and files, each company accounted for its numbers. John Sevier discovered that two of his men were missing: James Crawford and Samuel Chambers. Although these men had mustered with the Whigs, it was known the two fellows had leanings toward the Loyalists. Sevier was concerned that the pair had departed the expedition with the intention of running ahead to warn Patrick Ferguson that this army of a thousand militiamen was crossing the mountains to attack him. Copyright 2011, Randell Jones Available at [View Additional File Details]

Cite this Page

Randell Jones, A Guide to the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, “Yellow Mountain Gap,” Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, accessed February 28, 2020, http:/​/​bythewaywebf.​webfactional.​com/​omvt/​items/​show/​18.​
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