View Full Version : best day hikes in the smokies??

08-15-2012, 22:30
Ssia. Thanks.

kayak karl
08-15-2012, 22:54
i don't have the map. somebody will post it, but the best days are mon-thur. when hiking in the south it was busy every weekend.

08-15-2012, 23:42
I like the Chimneys trail, the hike up to Gregory Bald, and Charlie's Bunion. The last climb up to the top of the Chimneys is considered sketchy by some people so if you have a fear of heights it isn't recommended.

08-16-2012, 01:17
Thanks a lot chimney tops is cool. And getting to both chimneys is fun. Not too hard at All. Not sure if I've done bunion or not.

Yes I have done a lot. But I was curious as to some of your favorites in case I hadn't done one

08-16-2012, 09:44
Abrams Falls is a nice out and back with a great swimming opportunity, can be a bit busy and getting into Cades Cove is typically a traffic issue unless you're very early. Last time we were there we watched a family of otters playing in the stream, very memorable.


08-16-2012, 09:52
I second Charles Bunion and Gregorys Bald..most memorable experience watching heards of doe make their way thru the mazes of game trails to eat black berries on top of Gregorys in the moon light :o)

Gray Blazer
08-16-2012, 11:11
The east end of the park is really nice, also. It is easily accessed from I-40. Sterling Gap to the tower on Mt. Sterling is an easy afternoon hike. A little longer and much harder,but, easily doable in a day is Davenport Gap to the tower on Mt. Cammerrer or Big Creek Campground to the tower on Mt. Sterling.

08-16-2012, 11:59
How long did gregs bald take?

08-28-2012, 14:34
I like Twenty Mile to ShuckStack. Only been once but it was nice. I also Like the Abrams Creek to Abrams Falls. I dont like coming in from the Cades Cove side. It's usually to busy for my taste.

08-28-2012, 18:53
For day hikes only, a few of my favorites in the Smokies are Ramsey Cascade out of the Greenbrier area, Mt. Cammerer out of Cosby campground and the Albright Grove. Ramsey cascade has water and big trees, Mt. Cammerer has one of the best views in the Smokies and the Albright Grove is old growth forest.

08-28-2012, 19:47
I've hiked almost the entire park as I lived 45 min away for 7 years and Mt. Cammerer is the single best view in the entire park. I went last October and in the fall it is beyond belief

Gray Blazer
08-29-2012, 07:30
I've hiked almost the entire park as I lived 45 min away for 7 years and Mt. Cammerer is the single best view in the entire park. I went last October and in the fall it is beyond belief

IMHO I think the tower on Mt Sterling has the best view in the Smokies. It has a much better view of the AT to the west plus you can see Mt. Cammerer and the tower. Bring some binoculars.

08-29-2012, 14:32
How long did gregs bald take?

Hiking from Cades Cove, its about a 5 mile hike (one way) with about 3,000' elevation gain. A rule of thumb I read years ago says that you should hike at about 2mph and add an hour for every 1000' of elevation gain. So is should take around 5.5 hours up and 2.5 hours down. Obviously your condtioning and whether you're hiking with a full pack v. day pack can greatly affect your speed.

The trail map is available at GSMNP web site: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/BC-Map-july-11.pdf

I love hiking Abrams - 2 miles (one way) with no significant elevation changes.

I used to love Chimney Tops, but now that the path to the right once your at the top is closed, I H.A.T.E. it. It means that if you want to see any views, you MUST (if you're going to obey the trail closure) scramble up the rock face where there is some pretty good exposure. You used to be able to go around to the right where the rock climb wasn't nearly as exposed. I hope with the current on-going trail rehabilitation being done is going to include some means of making it easier to get to the views. If you do decide to do Chimney's and you have two cars, I would suggest hiking down Road Prong Trail that starts about a mile away from New Found Gap down Clingman's Dome Road. Basically hike down from the top of the moutain, take the Chimney Tops 'side' trail (the Chimney Tops trail head is actually the down-hill trail head for Road Prong).

To me, Ramsey's was a pretty long hike (4 miles one way) with not much reward. I guess because the water fall doesn't give a huge impression because it isn't one single huge fall... it's a cascade. So if you have not already, I would say it's a better return on your investment to hike to Rainbow falls (shorter, makes a bigger impression).

I've never done Charlie's Bunion, so I can't directly comment on it (other than to say it is 4 miles one-way with a 1000'+ elevation gain plus a 500' elevation loss).

If you want something a just a little easier than Charlie's Bunion, one hike you won't find on the map is a hike to 'The Jump Off'. Basically, hike the AT from New Found Gap just like you were going to Charlie's Bunion, but turn onto The Boulevard Trail. Hike about 1/10 to 1/4 of a mile and you will see a sign for the 'Jump Off' to the right. The hike to the view is about another 1/2 mile. That means the round trip is 'only' 7 miles rather than 8, and you don't have the 500' elevation loss that you have to hike back up. When you see the view, you'll understand the name. There will be a small row of bushes between you and what appears to be a shear 2000' drop. It's not perfectly shear, but it looks that way as the bushes block your view of what is immediately below you. Plus you still get several good views along the AT between New Found Gap and The Boulevard.

Another relatively short hike is Andrew's Bald. The view isn't as awsome as Gregory Bald (because at Gregory, you get a 360 degree view, at Andrew's, the view is more like 90 degrees). But the distance is only 2 miles (one-way) with a 600' elevation loss (the trail has also been rehabilitated, with lots of step-stones). If you do Andrew's you can make it a part of a trip to Clingman's Dome. You can stay away from the crowds a little longer by NOT returning to the parking lot and instead follow the Bypass trail that starts just below the parking lot. It only adds a 1/10 of a mile, and the trail isn't as step as the "golf cart path" to Clingman's Dome. You'll also get something of a view at trail level where the Bypass trail intersects the AT.

If you want to see Shuckstack tower, I would NOT recommend approaching it from Twenty Mile (at least not for a day hike, Twenty Mile can make a great two night loop hike passing Shuckstack and staying at #113, then up to Gregory Bald the 2nd day and stay at #13, then Wolf Ridge back to Twenty Mile). To me, the better Shuckstack day hike is to go to Fontana Dam and hike to Shuckstack along the AT from the dam. That way you also get to visit the dam (the tallest dam East of the Mississippi River).