Mill Ridge / Pump Gap

Mill Ridge

Mill Ridge was a small farming community located on the east bank of the French Broad River just up from the town of Hot Springs.  Nowadays there are a couple of forest roads, a lot of mountain biking trails and a few foundations remaining.  The large open areas up here were once tobacco fields.

Mill Ridge Dam

The AT leads southbound up into the Mill Ridge area from Tanyard Gap (US 25/70 outside of Hot Springs).   There’s also a forest road that leads up to a parking area for the bike trails.  Where the AT leads back down into the forest there’s an old dam with a large pond above it.  We followed the AT as far as the Pump Gap loop trail which makes a circle with the AT.

Mill Ridge Cemetery

Along with the dam and some building foundations, the old Mill Ridge Cemetery is located just a little ways off the Pump Gap trail.  Most of the stones have fallen over or been broken but it’s still a curious thing to find out in the middle of the forest.  

Overall this is a fairly easy hike of about 5 to 6 miles.  It’s probably more difficult if done from Hot Springs due to the elevation gain.   We did come across a couple of salamanders, but they refused to hold still for photographs, so we have to include this fungus instead.