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Stecoah Gap


Stecoah Gap is one of the most popular birding destinations in western North Carolina in late April and early May. Spend some time birding at the gap before walking up the trail from the parking area. The gap itself is often an excellent location for Golden-winged, Cerulean and Chestnut-sided Warblers. The Goldenwinged Warbler at the gap sometimes sing an alternative song that is somewhat similar to Worm-eating Warbler, so be sure to investigate unusual songs. While at the gap, listen for Kentucky Warbler in the valley. The old logging road leading straight out from the parking lot is relatively wide and level and rich in a wide variety of songbirds, including Blackburnian, Cerulean, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Blackand- white and Hooded Warblers, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Parula, Scarlet Tanager and Rosebreasted Grosbeak. The Appalachian Trail also crosses the road at this location and the same species can be found along the trail.

Species of Interest (Full Bird List)

Cerulean Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak


northern hardwood/cove forest

Special Features/Concerns

Hunting is allowed on Nantahala National Forest during certain times of the year. Birders should be aware of current hunting regulations and seasons, and take adequate safety precautions during those times. For more on hunting precautions, see the hunting season information at the beginning of this guide.

Access and Parking

Stecoah Gap can be accessed daily during daylight hours. For more information, contact the Cheoah Ranger Station at the number above.


From Robbinsville, travel 7.5 miles east on NC 143 until you reach the top of Stecoah Gap. There is a small parking area with a picnic table overlooking Stecoah Valley. Park here and follow the Appalachian Trail (AT) signs on the same side of the road as the parking area. The AT immediately ascends log steps out of the parking area.

Google Directions

Delorme Gazetteer Page


Bird List

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