Day and Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park  by Johnny Molloy

Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Guide Book

by Johnny Molloy (Menasha Ridge Press)
Day and Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park  by Johnny Molloy
Hiking the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is certain to be one of the highlights of your life. Many of the best trails, picnic spots, waterfalls, and bountiful wildlife in the park's 521,085 acres are detaild in this amazing, portable little book. Tuck i in your pocket and it'll be as if local author and kiking expert Johnny Molloy is your personal guide to more than 40 of the best day and overnight hikes in the Smokies.

© 2008 Johnny Molloy/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 42.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 42.

It’s hard to believe how few people you’ll see taking this route to the popular Abrams Falls. The sounds of Abrams Creek will keep you company for most of the hike, though. This hike starts on Cooper Road Trail, behind the Abrams Creek campground. Follow this jeep road through a fading hemlock forest and across Kingfisher Creek, which can be a wet crossing in high water.
Tallassee, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.8
A hard-to-find trailhead keeps a lot of hikers off this trail. However, with good directions, it’s a cinch. From the starting point, head up a wide bed on the Maddron Bald Trail, passing the Willis Baxter cabin, still intact after more than a century. Traverse a trail junction and start to climb a bit, then come to the side trail leading into Albright Grove. This nature trail loops through a giant forest of tulip trees, located between Dunn and Indian Camp creeks. The immensity of this woodland, named after the former National Park Service director Horace Albright, lures you to repeat the trek with friends in tow.
Hartford, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.8
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This is one of the Smokies’ finest hikes. The trip passes through an extraordinary spruce–fir forest to the grassy field of Andrews Bald. Resplendent with stunning views, this is an ideal backdrop for a picnic in the sky. Andrews Bald is one of only two grassy fields in the Smokies that the park service maintains in their “original” state. The origin of these fields is not clear, although natural fires, clearing by Indians, and grazing cattle possibly kept the fields clear.
Bryson City, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.6
This loop, very near Gatlinburg, travels hilly terrain past Baskins Creek Falls and some pioneer history before ending on the same road on which it started. Join Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail for a bit, then take Trillium Gap Trail to complete your circuit.
Gatlinburg, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.8
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Big trees are the stars of this loop, which starts in lovely Cataloochee Valley. Of course, the numerous old-growth giants are complemented by other attractive aspects of Smoky Mountain scenery. Add a visit to a pioneer homestead and you end up with a great day in this national park. Start on Rough Fork Trail, tracing a clear mountain stream. Stop by Woody Place, then enter the land of the giants, where stately oak trees form a forest cathedral. Climb away from Rough Fork to meet Caldwell Fork Trail. Descend past the “Big Poplars,” in truth huge tulip trees, then walk along Caldwell Fork Valley. Return over Big Fork Ridge to Cataloochee. This loop has two climbs; neither is particularly long or difficult.
Waynesville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.3
This hike starts along noisy Jakes Creek and ends atop Blanket Mountain, site of a former fire tower. Despite forest encroachment, a high open glade persists and makes an ideal spot for a high-country picnic, at 4,600 feet atop old Smoky. Follow a railroad grade for most of your journey through this watershed of bygone logging and human settlement. The park’s last permanent lifetime resident, Lem Ownby, lived not far from the trailhead. He passed away in 1980, at the age of 91. When the park was formed, many residents deeded over their lands, then were given lifetime leases that allowed them to live out their days in the mountains they cherished.
Gaitlinburg, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 8
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A footlog crossing is an appropriate beginning for this hike; you’ll be quite familiar with them before this loop is over. But first, enjoy the beauty of huge trees, old homesites, and mountain streams on this fulfilling hike, whose trail name was the nickname of the man who owned the land, one Robert “Boogerman” Palmer. There is quite a bit of up and down, and the trail makers, while using old roads, make a few twists and turns to take you by the biggest trees in the area.
Waynesville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.4
This hike traverses old farming areas and ascends through dry ridge country to arrive at Trillium Gap. A short climb leads you to the top of Brushy Mountain, where views await amid a heath-bald plant community. The more than 2,500-foot climb is steady, but the varied forest types and the view at the end are well worth the effort.
Mount Le Conte, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 11.4
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Once you leave the crowds at The Sinks behind, you’ll probably have this intimate slice of the Smokies to yourself. This trail allows you to notice the smaller subtle features of a Southern Appalachian mountain valley. Meigs Creek will surely catch your eye; you cross it nearly 20 times. Not to worry, though: most crossings are not difficult in times of normal water flow. However, stay off this trail if the water is up.
Townsend, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.8
This loop travels watercourses and ridges of the Bradley Fork watershed. Leave Smokemont Campground and make your way up Bradley Fork, then turn up Chasteen Creek, where a waterfall awaits along a side trail. Continue to the upper reaches of the stream and overnight at Upper Chasteen Creek Backcountry Campsite. The next day, climb through mountainside woodlands to reach Hughes Ridge. Here, rhododendron and altitude-loving Fraser fir trees line the trail. Take a pleasant stroll in the high country before dropping down Taywa Creek and returning to Bradley Fork. Head up Bradley Fork to camp at Cabin Flats, one of the Smokies’ most notorious campsites for frequent bear encounters. Worry not: bear-proof food storage cables have been installed here, as at all other Smokies campsites. Bradley Fork is simply beautiful here and is great for wading, fishing, or simply peering into the crystalline waters. Also, in June, backpackers can achieve a big-bloom “triple crown”: flame azalea, mountain laurel, and rhododendron flower along the trails.
Cherokee, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 17.4
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This loop starts at the highest trailhead in the park, taking the Appalachian Trail past myriad views of the park and beyond. It then drops into Tennessee, where you leave the high-country spruce–fir forest for a streamside campsite in rich woodland that has everywhere-you-look beauty. Remain in Little River Valley for a lovely watershed walk, to spend your second night beneath Clingmans Dome at Three Forks. Get a good night’s sleep here because your final day sees a long and strenuous climb back to the high country via Sugarland Mountain Trail, with more good views along the way. Finally, intersect the Appalachian Trail to undulate over Mount Collins and Clingmans Dome. Make a final stop at the observation tower atop the dome before completing your loop.
Bryson City, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 25
This is a great hike for those who want more of a woodland stroll than a lung-busting mountain climb. Head out from Elkmont and cruise up the ultra-attractive Little River Valley, where the watercourse tumbles over huge boulders, forming large, clear pools that invite you to take a dip in the cool mountain stream. Leave Little River for an old railroad grade that gently climbs to a gap then descends to Jakes Creek Valley, from where you return to Elkmont. Start your hike on the Little River Trail, which was moved back in the mid 1990s, after a flood washed out some of the upper section of the old road.
Gatlinburg, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.3
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Although you must cross a road during this excursion, the trails on this hike are lightly used, offering a pleasantly undulating loop with very little climbing, considering the mountainous setting. First, you will walk among old homesites, the trail gently winding along the slope of Turkeypen Ridge. Then you’ll follow an old road to the historic Bote Mountain Trail. Finally, Bote Mountain Trail will lead you to Finley Cane Trail along the northern base of Bote Mountain to complete your loop.
Townsend, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.9
For Smoky Mountain enthusiasts, there should be no maybes about hiking this path. It starts at more than 5,300 feet and passes a wonderful view of the Smokies’ crest before entering a high-country forest of spruce and yellow birch. The path then descends along Flat Creek and makes its way to the highest elevation falls accessible by trail in the park. It is a fine family hike if you are careful to keep children under control around this steep and narrow cascade.
Maggie Valley, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.2
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If you like a combination of mountains and lakes, this moderate hike is for you and any younger or inexperienced backpackers you may wish to bring along—though the mileages may be a bit challenging for the uninitiated. Start your trip on a boat that takes you on the pleasure ride from Fontana Marina to Hazel Creek. Hike up a modest grade on Hazel Creek Trail through a valley steeped in settler and logging history to camp at Sugar Fork, one of the Smokies’ best campsites. Then backtrack down Hazel Creek to cross over into the Eagle Creek watershed on a newer section of Lakeshore Trail to camp on Fontana Lake and simultaneously enjoy a tumbling stream and a mountain-rimmed lake. On the way back, pass more human history, still on Lakeshore Trail, to reach the intersection with the Appalachian Trail, then walk over Fontana Dam, the highest in the East, to Fontana Marina.
Fontana Dam, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 21.5
This is a tough but rewarding trek, involving numerous creek fords and an elevation change of more than 4,000 feet! Strap your shoes on for this hike because you have a long first day. Leave Clingmans Dome and travel Forney Ridge, passing Andrews Bald, with its wonderful views. Continue down Forney Ridge to make Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Campsite 71 on Forney Creek. The campsite is has a limited number of reservable sites, so call (865) 436-1231 to reserve a spot. Turn up Forney Creek, ascending a great valley along a scintillating mountain stream. Forney Creek has several fords, which can be challenging when the water is high. You have two choices for your second night’s destination—Steeltrap—camping either in a seldom-used clearing or beside Forney Creek Cascades. Your final day sees you climb back into the spruce–fir high country that cloaks only the highest elevations of the Smokies.
Clingmans Dome, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 13.1
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This short loop hike traverses a seldom-visited area of the Smokies. Beginning at Lakeview Drive, you hike down to Fontana Lake. The trail moves away from the lake, passing several old homesites along the way, then returns to Lakeview Drive through Lakeview Tunnel. Several old roads and trails branch off Goldmine Loop Trail, so watch your direction.
Bryson City, NC - Backpacking,Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 3.3
This hike combines the best that the high and low country have to offer. First, you’ll travel the Twentymile Trail past Twentymile Cascades to the Upper Flats streamside camp. Then an arduous climb tops out on Long Hungry Ridge and leads to Gregory Bald Trail, arriving at the most famous bald in southern Appalachia, with its staggering views and flower displays. Camp at Sheep Pen Gap, a high-country grassy glade between Gregory Bald and Parson Bald. Leave the grassy balds and complete your loop via the steep Wolf Ridge Trail.
Fontana Dam, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 15.7
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This hike combines the best that the high and low country have to offer. First, you'll travel up the Twentymile Trail past Twentymile Cascades to the Upper Flats streamside camp. Then an arduous climb tops out on Long Hungry Ridge and leads to the Gregory Bald Trail, arriving at the southern Appalachians most famous bald, with its staggering views and flower displays. Camp at Sheep Pen Gap, a high country grassy glade between Gregory Bald and Parson Bald. Leave the gassy balds and complete your loop via the steep Wolf Ridge Trail.
Fontana Dam, NC - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 15.7
This hike is packed with features to satisfy even the most demanding hiker. On the way to Gregory Bald, world renowned for its wildflowers, pass along a mountain stream surrounded by old growth woodland and ascend a ridge, then pass historic Moore Spring, where an Appalachian Trail shelter once stood. It’s a steady climb to the bald but well worth it.
Townsend, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.8
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