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Buckhorn Gap via Meigs Creek Professional Review and Guide
"Once you leave the crowds at The Sinks behind, you’ll probably have this intimate slice of the Smokies to yourself. This trail allows you to notice the smaller subtle features of a Southern Appalachian mountain valley. Meigs Creek will surely catch your eye; you cross it nearly 20 times. Not to worry, though: most crossings are not difficult in times of normal water flow. However, stay off this trail if the water is up."
--Johnny Molloy, Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Menasha Ridge Press).
A really enjoyable hike across a ridge and down into a lush creek valley.
The first part, to the ridgetop, is a long, steady climb. After you descend to the creek, there's no noticeable elevation gain.
For me, the favorite part was the numerous creek crossings - some knee-deep. I took off my boots and hiked in my Tevas. There's a gorgeous waterfall along the trail, so remote that you can enjoy it in solitude. In fact, even though it was the height of summer with a crowd at The Sinks, I met only two other hikers my whole round-trip journey on the trail.
After getting past the Sinks (swimming hole), you have a decent climb (about 900 ft. ascent), down the other side then great bottom land with numerous creek crossings. A very quiet hike, with only one other person on the trail on the day we ran the trail. Meigs falls is probably a 20 ft. fall and easy access. The falls are 1.5 miles from the road, if you just desire the hike to the falls.
This was a great day hike. The scenery was beautiful and there was just enough water in the stream to make the numerous crossings fun! NOTE: The trail head is at the back of a parking lot located 12 miles WEST of the Sugarlands Visitor Center on Little River Road(not east......the trail info was incorrect). The only bad part of this trip was the traffic ~ make sure you leave extra travel time if you need to go through Gatlinburg and/or Pigeon Forge.
This is a beautiful hike and I would highly recommend it!! In the four hours I was on the trail I only saw five or six other people in the back country. The sinks area and the parking lot kind of suck, because they are very popular with swimmers.
I would suggest starting out kind of early in the day before the crowds arrive. The first incline you have to make it over is pretty steep, but the creek on the other side is well worth the effort. I am from Oregon and this reminds me of the trails in the NW. It was hot and humid the day we were there, but the cool water of the trail made it workable. We proceeded up to Buckhorn Gap and were kind of disappointed because there were never any viewpoints that allowed us to see out past the dense forrest canopy.
Give this one a try!!
This is a fantastic hike. Once you leave the chaos at the Sinks behind, it's just wonderful. A friend of mine and I didn't encounter another hiker until we reached Upper Buckhorn Gap. You cross so many streams that you should make sure you wear water resistant shoes. In the summer, bring Teva's and enjoy playing in the many pools created by Meigs Creek. Definitely a favorite. The first mile from the Sinks is a bit tough, but after that, it's a breeze. One of my favorites!
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