Big Fork Ridge Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"Old-growth trees highlight this loop hike that starts at lovely Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Add a visit to a pioneer homestead and you end up with a great day in the Smokies. The hike leaves Cataloochee on Rough Fork to see the Woody Place, then rambles under old growth, climbing up and over Big Fork Ridge to Caldwell Fork, a gorgeous stream. Visit the “Big Poplars,” massive tulip trees worthy of national park protection, then complete the circuit with a second climb of Big Fork Ridge."
--Johnny Molloy , Best Hikes Near Asheville, North Carolina (Falcon Guides).
"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."
--Johnny Molloy, Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Menasha Ridge Press).
Nicely marked Trailhead. Relaxing Forest hike with some of the largest trees I've seen. Beginning and end paralles the river. Great hike
This is a great trail with only one really steep portion. It was well marked with lots of water obstacles that made it interesting. Great for 3 children ages 12, 10 and 6 - no problems making it 7 miles.
This was a fun little trip, but nothing too spectacular. Early March is perfect for decent weather and fewer people on the trails, although I did wake up in snow the next morning.
Overall this took me a little under 4 hours, including a long lunch, multiple stops to take pictures, and a lot of talking with some old hippies I ran into.
the trail was great, then we went to the end of the road (not too much further) and there were a lot of folks sitting at dusk watching the wildlife come out to feed. It was very cool. Bring your bugspray and a cooler if you plan to sit out at dusk and watch.
IF PEACE AND SOLITUDE ARE WHAT YOU ARE AFTER THIS TRAIL IS FOR YOU.STARTED OUT ABOUT 7:00 AM AND EVEN THOUGH IT WAS MID-JULY THE AIR WAS COOL AND COMFORTABLE.ENJOYED THE NUMEROUS STREAMS AND CREEKS THAT THE TRAIL HUGS.THE RHODODENDRON WERE IN BLOOM AND LENT SOME COLOR TO THE FOREST.THE TULIP TREES WERE IN SOME CASES MASSIVE AND AWE INSPIRING WELL WORTH THE TRIP.THE LAST 4 MILES ON THE TRAIL WERE MUDDIED UP PRETTY GOOD (HORSE TRAFFIC I GUESS)VERY ENJOYABLE OVERALL!
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