Rough Fork Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

Elevation Gain2,531ft
Trailhead Elevation2,828ft
Elevation Min/Max2828/5126ft
Elevation Start/End2828/2828ft

Rough Fork Trail

Rough Fork Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Haywood County and Swain County, North Carolina. It is within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is 6.3 miles long and begins at 2,828 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 12.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,531 feet. The Polls Gap saddle is near the trailhead. There are also a parking and parking. The Little Ridge and the 40 (elevation 3,054 feet) camp site can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Hemphill Bald Trail and Caldwell Fork Trail.

Rough Fork Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Falcon Guides)
Kevin Adams
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"This is a terrific loop hike located in the remote Cataloochee Cove section of the park. It offers several things such as a historical structure to explore, two opportunities for camping, and lots of solitude. The first mile follows the old roadbed along Rough Fork, crossing it three times on narrow foot logs and arriving at a clearing. Here stands Steve Woody Place, a well-preserved homesite open for exploration. The house and springhouse are all that remain from several structures that once stood here."

Rough Fork Trail Trip Reports

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We just hiked Rough Fork and it was lovely. Be sure to visit the historic homes and buildings in the area near the trail head.
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We back packed from the trail head of caldwell fork on cove creek road. Over all the trail is only moderately steep - and probably only to a flatlander from Florida. Lots of opportunities for wild life viewing. Saw several elk and deer as well. Wild flowers are starting to bloom and lots of butterflies. Speaking of flies - in the afternoon there were literally swarms of flies - did not bite just got on everything - will upload some pics. As the evening progressed the flies just dissapeared only to return in the heat of the next day.

We camped at sites #40 and #39 the next day. At campsite 40 the park has cut down numerous trees - debri is everywhere, still a very nice site by a pristine creek and several of the stumps were large enough to make a nice tables and chairs.

camp site #39 is quite hilly, and looked as though no one had used it in quite a while. there were several nice spots to choose from, for me the only drawback was it was too close to the trail. #40 you could miss if you weren't looking,

Follow the trail from caldwell fork turning right on rough fork trail toward the main road. There are several old buildings from the original settlers in the area. A few houses, school house and church. Great history hike - must have been heart breaking to have the park system take the land for a national park.

Rough Fork Trail Photos

Trail Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Nearby City
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Local Contacts
Dellwood and Bunches Bald USGS quads; Trails Illustrated #229 Great Smoky Mountains; Trails Illustrated #317 Clingmans Dome Cataloochee
Local Maps

Trail Log