Smokemont Nature Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina 28719

Elevation Gain23ft
Trailhead Elevation2,212ft
Elevation Min/Max2206/2220ft
Elevation Start/End2212/2212ft

Smokemont Nature Trail

Smokemont Nature Trail is a hiking trail in Swain County, North Carolina. It is within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is 0.6 miles long and begins at 2,212 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 23 feet.

Smokemont Nature Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Since it starts from Smokemont Campground, this nature trail is a good choice for families who are camping. For those not staying at Smokemont and planning to drive to the trailhead, most any other short hike would be just as good, especially one of the many Quiet Walkways in the park. The park no longer publishes an interpretive guide for this nature trail.

Smokemont Nature Trail crosses an overflow of Bradley Fork on a foot log, then crosses Bradley Fork and a split from the main stream. The trail loops just beyond the split. If you’re going right, you’ll climb rather steeply before descending back to Bradley Fork."

"This loop hike leads away from the popular Smokemont Campground along Bradley Fork, then upward along the southern reaches of Richland Mountain. The trail winds back down near the Oconaluftee River and past Bradley Cemetery, returning to the Smokemont campground.

Start your loop hike on the Bradley Fork Trail, at the rear of the Smokemont campground. Pass an out-building, then a side road on your right leading to the water supply for the campground at mile 0.3. Open areas with thin forest cover indicate former homesites along the trail. At mile 1.0, cross a wide wooden bridge over Chasteen Creek, then come to the Chasteen Creek Trail junction. Press forward through the junction and come to the Smokemont Loop Trail junction at mile 1.6."

"One of the park’s steeper nature trails rises above Smokemont Campground, site of one of the Smokies’ biggest early twentieth-century logging operations. A few longer options include a loop and a very easy overnighter for beginner backpackers.

The Smokemont Nature Trail starts at a roadside sign and crosses three single log bridges that impart a deep woods Smokies feel. The second bridge spans lively, cacophonous Bradley Fork, and the third crosses a silent, lazy side flow that could almost be another creek in a completely different place. Beyond, the trail slams into a sharp hillside and splits, each side rising steeply to wrap around the knob above. Go right (north) and the trail undulates up along a very steep side hill overlooking the campground."

"For people staying at Smokemont Campground, this loop hike is a good way to spend part of the day.Parking is at one of the 3 general-purpose parking areas at Smokemont Campground. The parking area at the trailhead for Bradley Fork Trail can fill up quickly on weekends and during the busy season. The campground has restroom facilities.

Begin on Bradley Fork Trail, which starts at the gate on the north end of the campground. Bradley Fork Trail follows an old road that closely runs alongside Bradley Fork for much of the route. It is an easy and popular walk, lined with wildflowers in early spring. At 1.2 miles Chasteen Creek Trail forks to the right. Stay to the left and continue following Bradley Fork upstream."

"This classic dayhike starts at Smokemont Campground. Enjoy riparian woodland, wildflowers, and pioneer homesites along Bradley Fork. Climb into dry ridgetop terrain on Richland Mountain, with partial views and vivid fall colors.

Fall hikers can enjoy the variety of tree species along moist Bradley Fork and yet more species on Richland Mountain. The tree variety adds up to a cornucopia of autumn color. Spring reveals wildflowers along Bradley Fork and views from Richland Mountain before the trees leaf out."

Smokemont Nature Trail Reviews

5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
icon1 Total
My wife and I spent our 25th anniversary(12/19/06)on the Smokemont Loop. Started with beautiful rushing Bradley Fork, took a left over a cool log bridge and up a strenuous 2 miles to a saddle in Richland Mountain with spectacular views. The trail crosses the ridge so there were great views of Clingman's Dome,Thomas Ridge and the mountains that separate NC and Tennessee along parts of the trail, and the vista that includes Hughes Ridge and the valleys and mountains to the SE on other parts of the trail. I am told that this is a heavily used trail in season, but being December we saw nary a soul, and the lack of foliage (except for luxuriant copses of rhododendron)was a definite plus. On parts of the trail, however, you can hear the traffic going up and down the blue ridge pway. We had originally planned on hiking Heintooga Bald, but the road was closed. We then drove to the border in order to hike the AT to the ice shelter, but not only was the trail socked in, it was covered with screaming teens. Back down the mountain to Smokemont, and it turned out to be everything that we were looking for. What a blessing to see God's creation spreading out before us during part of the hike, and sitting on a boulder and watching it rush by during another.

Trail Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Nearby City
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Additional Use
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Local Contacts
Smokemont USGS quad; Trails Illustrated #229 Great Smoky Mountains; Trails Illustrated #317 Clingmans Dome Cataloochee
Local Maps