Sassafras mountain can be hiked on the foothills trail from hwy 178 , 1 mile past the deaf and blind school. As the road crosses a small bridge over the Eastatoe river you will see the trail on the right. It is approximately 4.7 miles and 1900 vertical feet to the summit. The trail crosses the mountain road at Chimneytop Gap and again near the summit. If you want to really hike it this is the way to go.
First of all, it's listed once as Chimneytown which isn't correct. Also, it says 4.7 miles to the summit. It's 4.7 miles round trip. I think people may opt to drive to the top instead of hike if they think they have a 9.4 hike ahead of them rather than 4.7.
I believe you are wrong, cll41059. The trail from Hwy 178, at the bridge is the one I took. I think it is marked as 4.7 miles to the summit, but it is a bit less than that, about 4 miles one way. My GPS showed 9.1 miles RT from the parking lot up the gravel road about 1/2 mile mile up from the highway. It may be about 4.7 miles RT from Chimneytop Gap to the summit, I didn't check that. Anyway, it is a beautiful trail and I highly recommend hiking from Hwy 178. There is 2671' of gain RT to the summit from the parking lot above the Hwy.