I haven't been down to the reservior in Mills River in years and as I was walking with the family, I noticed a trail head I don't recall seeing before. It's labeled North Mills River Trail and takes off to the left between some culverts halfway from the PL to the lake. Does it take you back down to the campground? Has is always been there and just recently got a marker? I always knew there were lots of fishermen trail from the road to the river but never seen a marked one. I thought I knew that area pretty well.
I think it's been there a long time, cause it's a long time since I've done it. If I remember correctly, it crosses the creek about 7 times and comes out on a gravel road which then hits Yellow Gap if you take a left.
At least 7 times, and that number multiplies each time the temp drops 10 degrees.
At one point, NMR Trail crosses the *very* bottom of Trace Ridge, at the river. From the direction of the photo, just before you get to Trace, you also pass the bottom of Yellow Gap Trail, which does not, actually, go to Yellow Gap -- it goes up to about the midway point of 5051.
Past Trace, it gets mushy, and there's a cutoff to one of the fishing trails that dumps you out right at the bridge just where the pavement ends.