Toe Gorge – Tocane to Red Hill NC

Put In:  There are three routes that most folks I know use to get to the put in:
     

1.) One is to go to and through N. Wilksboro on 421 bypass then on to Boone.  In Boone turn off of hyw 421 onto hyw 221/105 ext. (If your going west on 421 into Boone this will be a left turn)   (If coming from the west side of Boone going east this will be a right hand turn).  At the next light go straight through the intersection at which point the road becomes hyw 105. Follow hyw 105 till you come to hyw 194 to the left.   Turn left onto 194.  Follow 194 until it come out onto 19E and turn left onto 19E going west toward Spruce Pine.  At Sprue Pine past the intersection with 226 it the road becomes 19E/226, then shortly after that turn right off of 19E/226 and continues as 226 to Bakersville.  In Bakersville you follow 226 to the light/intersection at the courthouse then straight through the light and just past the light 226 does a “sudden” left turn.  Follow 226 going west past Loafers Glory to a concrete bridge crossing a creek on your left and turn across that bridge going to Toecane – go to the bottom at the river turn left and go to a bridge on the right over the Toe – thats the put in.
     

2.) The 2nd route alternate route is for areas off of I40.  From areas such as Winston-Salem NC or Stateville NC which are east of Marion NC is to go West on I40 to Marion.  For areas west of Marion such as Asheville NC take I40 east.  Take  Exit 85 off of I-40, and go through Marion on Hyw 226 to Spruce Pine keep on 226 which if I remember correctly makes a left onto and joins 19E going west briefly then turns right off of 19E/226 and continues as 226 to Bakersville.  In Bakersville you follow 226 to the light/intersection at the courthouse then straight through the light and just past the light 226 does a “sudden” left turn.  Follow 226 going west past Loafers Glory to a concrete bridge crossing a creek on your left and turn across that bridge going to Toecane – go to the bottom at the river turn left and go to a bridge on the right over the Toe – thats the put in.
3.) If your over near the Nolichuchy (toward Erwin Tenn) there is a short cut from the Nolichuchy put in to the Toe Gorge.  If you go the the put-in for the Nolichucky Gorge (see Nolichucky Gorge directions), but instead of turning off the main highway to the put-in parking area, stay on the main hyw which is NC197 (formerly Tenn 395 before you crossed in to NC also called “Rock Creek Rd.” in Erwin Tn.) continue down the highway NC197 headed south (away from Tn.) toward Red Hill,  as you are approaching Red Hill NC NC197 & NC 226 join for a short distance.  Where NC197 south splits off the left it will take you a short distance to the take out for the Toe Gorge. However to get to the put in stay on NC226 toward Toecane and Bakersville NC., you will see some of the gorge off to your right from the road along the way, and a couple of miles up the road you will come to the turn for Toecane NC (the Toe Gorge – put in).  Going to the put in watch for a old “red mill” building beside the road on the right with a creek on the otherside and a broken dam,  just pass the old mill is a bridge to the right which is the road into Toecane NC.  Turn right over the bridge and follow the road down to the a road along the river and turn left,  go down to where there is a bridge the put in is just on the other side of the bridge.  Don’t block the road and do not park in the railroads gravel area across the road from the bridge (they get very fussy about that).  For more information see directions to the Toe Gorge. 
     

Take-out:
Take-out is easily reached from the put in.  From the put in go back to the concrete bridge where you turned off hyw 226 and turn left (going away from Bakersville and toward the red mill just down the road) follow the highway until it makes a hard right turn and just uphill from this turn is a left turn for 197 just past a country store (your at Red Hill) take the steep left turn on 197 which should head back down hill toward the river just a short distance to a old narrow concrete bridge (one lane) (note: this bridge was slated to be replace so it could be a new bridge).  Just over the bridge the road does a hard right and there parking on the river side right past the turn.  Takeout is just upstream of the bridge (or under the bridge) on river left.  Be very careful locals drive around the blind curves hear very fast.