Bradley Fork Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This is a grand backpacking trip, featuring much of what makes the Smokies famous. It offers several miles of scenic creek-side hiking, old-growth forests, abundant spring wildflowers, a rare shingle (pebble) beach beside Bradley Fork, and a few very nice cascades. One thing it doesn’t have, though, is good distinct views. In winter there are some fair views from Hughes Ridge, but this hike is more about getting intimate with the forest all around you."
--Kevin Adams, Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Falcon Guides).
An unexpected warm weekend allowed me to take this hike with my 12 year old son. This was a very nice winter hike. Lots of creek views and ridge hiking. Day 1 is an easy hike to the upper chasteen campsite and the site is tucked away in a very scenic spot with chasteen creek nearby. The best day of this hike is day 2 (and the hardest). The first two miles of day 2 are grueling... up and up and up, but the views are very good on for a winter hike. The surprise for me on this hike was the the Bradford Fork Trail on Day 2. The Bradford Fork runs through a huge valley with large boulder fields. The trail is sometimes right on the creek and at other times perched on the side of the valley a hundred feet above the creek. You also get the opportunity to see the Bradford Fork start as a trickle and become a very large creek by the time you make camp on day 2 at Campsite 49. All in all this is a great winter hike. Lots of People within a mile of the trail head, but only saw a couple people after that. I highly recommend this hike.
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