Views from Vandeventer Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"This hike travels the spine of Iron Mountain, using the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) to reach a trail shelter and a fine view. Enter Laurel Branch Wilderness at the trailhead, climbing by switchbacks to the ridge crest. Occasional outcrops provide warm-up views. The richly forested mountain eventually leads to Vandeventer trail shelter, directly behind which is a rock crag presenting panoramas of Watauga Lake and a host of mountains beyond.
This hike is best enjoyed when the skies are clear. I recommend doing it from early fall through late spring, especially after fronts have passed through. The trek can be a hot one during summer with the lack of water and potentially hazy skies being pitfalls then. The Appalachian Trail crosses Watauga Dam Road at Iron Mountain Gap. This is where you start this hike. Parking spots are stretched along the road here, but if you cannot find one, just drive on down toward the observation and picnic area overlooking Watauga Lake."