Forney Ridge Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

Elevation Gain3,180ft
Trailhead Elevation6,306ft
Elevation Min/Max3923/6308ft
Elevation Start/End6306/6306ft

Forney Ridge Trail

Forney Ridge Trail is a hiking trail in Swain County, North Carolina. It is within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is 5.5 miles long and begins at 6,306 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 11.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,179 feet. The Clingmans Dome Information Center And Book Store information office is near the trailhead. There are also parking and restroom. Andrews Bald can be seen along the trail. The trail ends near the Board Camp Gap saddle. This trail connects with the following: Springhouse Branch Trail, Clingmans Dome Trail, Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail and Forney Creek Trail.

Forney Ridge Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Falcon Guides)
Kevin Adams
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"This trip encompasses what most people look for in a Smokies adventure: high-elevation views, old-growth forests, cascading streams, wildflowers, and a challenging hike. On the latter point, if you’re attempting this hike in one day, plan to start early and drag in late. Plan also to be a tired puppy by the end of the day. To complete this loop without benefit of a shuttle, you must walk the final 1.5 miles along Clingmans Dome Road, being very cautious to stay out of traffic by walking on the road shoulder."
Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Menasha Ridge Press)
Johnny Molloy
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"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."
Top Trails: Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 2nd Edition (Wilderness Press)
Johnny Molloy
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"This tough but rewarding backpack involves numerous creek fords and an elevation change of more than 4,000 feet one-way! Travel Forney Ridge, passing Andrews Bald, to make Forney Creek. Ascend Forney Creek and visit Forney Creek Cascades on your return trip. Clingmans Dome Road, the trail access and where this hike begins, is open from April through November; check ahead if you’ll be hiking during the shoulder seasons. June features great rhododendron and flame azalea blooms. Midsummer through fall is best for swimming and fishing Forney Creek. Fording the streams is safer then, because the waterways are at their lowest."

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Trail Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Nearby City
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fishing, Camping
Additional Use
Views, Wildflowers, Waterfalls
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Local Contacts
Clingmans Dome, Silers Bald, Noland Creek, and Bryson City USGS quads; Trails Illustrated #229 Great Smoky Mountains; Trails Illustrated #317 Clingmans Dome Cataloochee; Trails Illustrated #316 Cades Cove Elkmont (only shows western half of hike)
Local Maps

Trail Log