Finley Cane Trail Professional Review and Guide
"Although you must cross a road during this excursion, the trails on this hike are lightly used, offering a pleasantly undulating loop with very little climbing, considering the mountainous setting. First, you will walk among old homesites, the trail gently winding along the slope of Turkeypen Ridge. Then you’ll follow an old road to the historic Bote Mountain Trail. Finally, Bote Mountain Trail will lead you to Finley Cane Trail along the northern base of Bote Mountain to complete your loop."
--Johnny Molloy, Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Menasha Ridge Press).
My hiking partner and I did this loop as a day hike in late October, and it took almost exactly the four hours listed in the guide. The trails are well marked and the guide book is accurate in its description of the sections of the trail. The hike starts off with quite a climb up Pine Mountain by way of many many disheartening switchbacks, but this is by far the most difficult part of the loop. Once winding down the mountain, there are many flat sections of trail that are very pleasant.Water sources are plentiful as a good portion of the trail follows a river. There are however, some tricky sections that would make it difficult to hike with small children or inexperienced hikers. The second river crossing was thought provoking (it had been dry, so the river was low and it was still a bit scary); two other hikers helped us navigate our way along. Also, parts of the trail were suffering the effects of erosion, and there was at least once that I was hanging by a limb over a rocky cliff with a twenty foot or so drop beneath me. Even with these difficult sections and with two fairly significant former knee injuries between us (my partner had an ACL surgery a year ago) the trail was not too punishing on the joints. The scenery was varied and beautiful, and this would have made a nice two day backpacking trip. As a day hike I would suggest it only for those who hike regularly and enjoy a challenge.
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