Fork Ridge Trail

Cherokee, North Carolina

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Fork Ridge is the perfect antidote to the frenzy at Clingmans Dome. Though its trailhead is only a couple miles down the road from Clingmans, it’s a million miles away in terms of an outdoor experience. The trail wastes little time leaving busy Clingmans Dome Road behind, following its namesake ridge down from Clingman’s spine through a forest that can’t decide if it wants to be a northern spruce-fir forest or a more traditional Southern Appalachian mixed hardwood forest. Though in generally good shape, it’s obvious this bench-cut trail doesn’t get a lot of use; the occasional seasoned downed tree requires a quick detour and in spots the trail pitches downhill.
100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina

DESCRIPTION FROM:

100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina

by Joe Miller (The Mountaineers Books)

Fork Ridge is the perfect antidote to the frenzy at Clingmans Dome. Though its trailhead is only a couple miles down the road from Clingmans, it’s a million miles away in terms of an outdoor experience.

The trail wastes little time leaving busy Clingmans Dome Road behind, following its namesake ridge down from Clingman’s spine through a forest that can’t decide if it wants to be a northern spruce-fir forest or a more traditional Southern Appalachian mixed hardwood forest. Though in generally good shape, it’s obvious this bench-cut trail doesn’t get a lot of use; the occasional seasoned downed tree requires a quick detour and in spots the trail pitches downhill.

©  Joe Miller/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Cherokee
Distance: 10.2
Elevation Gain: 3,187 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 4 to 6 hours
Season: Best in Spring, summer, fall (access road closed in the winter)
Local Maps: Trails Illustrated Great Smoky Mountains National Park; USGS Clingmans Dome
Driving Directions: Directions to Fork Ridge Trail

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Apr 2018