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Walker Sisters Place via Little Greenbrier Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This scenic hike along a ridgeline offers views down to one of the last working pioneer homesteads in the Smokies. Start at a gap on Little Greenbrier Trail along the national park boundary. The views are numerous from a pine-cloaked mountainside before the second gap. Dip down to a hollow and reach Walker Sisters Place, which was occupied by spinster siblings until 1964. Top out on the ridge at mile 3.0. You’ve worked hard to get here, but the ridge keeps on rising. Winter views of the Smokies to your left keep your spirits up as you near Rich Gap and a trail junction, which lies at mile 4.9."
--Johnny Molloy, Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Menasha Ridge Press).
I did this hike with two of my friends on a road-trip cross country. Our very first stop from Connecticut was Smoky Mountain National Park. We camped out at Cade's Cove, and one of the Rangers there recommended that we do this hike if we wanted to see a 360 view of the summit. The hike itself is great - it's got some challenging spots but it is balanced by some easier strides and is overall very enjoyable. The scenery is constantly changing, and I really appreciated all the different plant life along the way.
The only drawback is that from the trail head all the way up to the 4.9 mile mark, there is absolutely no indication letting you know how far to the summit. I sometimes like a little reminder every few miles, and it would have been nice along this trail.
Very nice hike with the kind of views uncommon in the Smokies. Be careful though, the wildlife is not so wild. Too many people feed the deer and they will approach you. Whats worse, I have had a large bear come into campsite 13 and take our food back as we were getting ready for breakfast. Unlike other bears I have encountered, this one had very little fear of humans. The park service is now warning people about bear activity on the bald and has closed the camp site. Enjoy this place but be careful.
I did most of this hike as part of an overnight loop. Campsite 12 is a pretty campsite, so you could either stay here overnight, or reserve campsite 13 just past Gregory Bald. The trail is fairly steep, but the views from Gregory Bald are worth a little sweat. I'd suggest bringing a small picnic lunch with you, you'll want to stay on the top for a while. Also, be on your toes. There was a lot of bear and boar activity around the area when I was there.
After a couple of years of aborted attempts, my friend John and I finally hiked to Gregory Bald. While this is generally regarded as one of the best overnight hikes in the Smokies, we decided to do it in one day. The first three miles of the hike are pretty easy, but after you attain the ridgeline, the going becomes much more difficult. At times I thought the climbing would never end. After you reach the intersection with the Gregory Bald Trail, the initial climb to the bald is the steepest along the entire trail. I suppose the trail planners really wanted us to work for the reward. Which, by the way, made the whole trail worthwhile. On the climb up you are offered tantalizing peeks at what the view will be, but they are nothing compared to the panorama you see from the top of Gregory Bald. We spent a good two hours at the top and I even took a 30 minute nap on the soft grass. Without a doubt, this is the premier hike in the Smokies, and I cannot wait to do it again.
This was the last part of a loop my friend and I put together that started on the Anthony Creek trail, continued on the Eagle Creek Trail, Lost Cove Trail, Long Hungry Ridge Trail and onto The Gregory Ridge Trail. The Gregory Ridge trail was relatively easy compared to some other trails we were on. The view from Gregory Bald was fantastic! No fires are allowed up there but it would be a great place to make camp for the night and sleep out under the stars. I will definitely be revisiting this place on my future trips to Tennessee!
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