View Full Version : Great Smoky Mtn. Trail?
Do any of you have any suggestions for a hike in the Smokies for an overnight hike? I am part of the Outdoor Club at a local college, and I was asked to design a trip for March/April. It should be more than an easy to moderate hike and total mileage should not exceed 16 miles (preferably on the Tennessee side). Thanks for all of your responses.
Go up to New Found gap then to Icewater Spring shelter, not much of a hike but then again your probably going to get some bad ass weather then.
Freezin, I would stay off the AT and away from the shelters on it. The trail is slammed with thru-hiker types in March/April.
Most of the trails in the Smokys that reach toward the AT will involve quite a bit of elevation gain. If you are prepared for the up, this isn't so bad, though. Here are a couple of possibilities, noting that the AT will be pretty busy in late March and early April. Get a copy of the Trails Illustrated map. A hiking map can also be viewed at the park's website (go to www.nps.gov and follow the links).
1) Short Cosby Loop. Start at the Cosby campground and hike the Gabes Mountain trail, making sure to detour to the falls. Pick up the Madron Bald trail and take it to the Snake Den Ridge trail, which goes back into Cosby. There are two campsites along the way. This would be about 16 miles. There is a stand of virgin forest near Madron Bald.
2) Old Settlers trail. If you add on the Gabes Mountain trail, it would be 22 miles or so. The Old Settlers trail is about 16 miles in length. There is a closer access point, but I haven't used it. Lots of interesting remnants of settlers. You would need to set up a car shuttle though,as the Old Settlers trail runs between Green Brier and the end of the Gabes Mountain trail near Cosby.
This has some elevation gain, but much less than a climb up to the AT. There is a nice campground along the Old Settlers trail.
3) Mt. Cammerer. Take the Snake Den ridge trail out of Cosby up to the AT and along the AT to the Cosby Knob shelter. The next day, continue on the AT to the Mount Cammerer fire tower. Continue on the AT to the junction with the Lower Mount Cammerer trail, which leads you back to Cosby.
This is probably more than 16 miles, but not by too much. It would involve a fair amount of elevation gain, but Mt. Cammerer may be the best viewpoint in the Smokys.
4) Sugarland Mountain. This is another car shuttle. Start at Newfound Gap and take the AT to the Mount Collins shelter. The next day, head south down the Sugarland Mountains trail to either the Huskey Gap trail (which leads to Newfound Gap road) or all the way to near Elkmont. Very scenic with nice overlooks. Not too hard, which only around 1500 ft of total climbing. This should be around 16 miles.
I was planning on tent camping.
how bout Gregory Bald??? Gregory is one of the bald that the NPS is keeping clear in the park ..the other being Andrews bald...go into the park thru Cades cove and then park in the turn around on forge Creek road and then up gregory ridge Trail...which is 4.9 miles..youcan pick up water at campsite #12 which is about half way up ..it's a pretty good climb to rich gap...then from rich gap turn right and over the top o gregory to campsite # 13 which is a rationed site..you'll need a reservation..
also in the area is Parson Bald which could make a nice side trip from Camp...for those who want a little more hiking after sitting uup camp and hanging packs...pretty sure there are bear cables there for pack storage while you walk to parson bald...beautiful area
Harvey broome called it one of the classic hikes in the smokies and I agree..you would be early for the Azalea bloom which is the real treat of Gregory which has an altitude of 4949 ft... the trail begins at 2000 ft and so a good bit of climb but a little shorter than you asked for...the parking is safe at the forge creek parking area as access is limited thru Cades cove area and folks aren't in there at night.
harvey suggested hiking the gregory ridge bald by the FuLL moon and that is a GREAT hike...
At rich gap if you proceed on the manway that is strait ahead there is a really nice spring(Moore spring) there that is not named on the map...as a matter of fact there is no Offical trail to it...WHY? well because the NPS rangers want to keep it for thier private use
Lovely big rock and one of the LARGEST Azaleas in the park right next to it...a sight to see even if its not in bloom ...but by late april will probaly be showing some color..maybe..closed buds but color...and there is a permanent forest ranger camp..check out thier LNT techniques...YUCK
Thanks for the responses. It has helped alot.
Anthony creek trail loop is a good one. There are campsites along the way. I don't remember all the trail names but you start and end at the same point near cades cove. Take Anthony Creek Trail up to spence field (approx 5 miles) walk south on the AT, which follows the ridge to Russell Field (approx 4 miles) Then go back to where you came from (approx 5 miles). The mileages are off the top of my head so don't quote me on it. There are two shelters on the AT and two campsites just off the ridgeline.