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  1. #1
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    Default Few day hike recommendations for the Smokys

    Hello. I will be in the Smokys in the end of March with my family. Last year I did the Alum Cave Trail and we hiked up to the fire tower from Fontana Dam. Please recommend a few great day hikes for us. We plan to be out at least 8 hours a day. Loops or thrus OK. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    --Gregory Bald..
    --Mount Cammerrer
    --AT from new found gap to clingmans
    --deep creek has some loops
    --mount sterling coming up baxter from big creek

  3. #3
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    If you want a quiet hike, I'd recommend Cove Mountain Trail.
    Unfortunately, the Trolley doesn't run to the Laural Falls parking lot in March, so this is a good hike if someone can drop you off at the trail head.
    The hike to Laural Falls will be busy. But few, if any, will venture much past the falls.
    When you get to the top of the mountain, there's another fire tower to see (but it's been converted into a weather station, so you can only climb the first few flights of steps). From there, it's all down hill to the Sugarlands Visitors center. To add a bit more distance, you can follow it up by hiking the Gatlinburg trail to the edge of town.

    Another popular hike is Rich Mountain Loop.
    Personally, the way I like to do this loop is to park at the entrance to Cades Cove. Start on Rich Mountain Loop trail, but at the 1st intersection, turn right onto Crooked Arm Ridge Trail. After huffing and puffing for 2 miles up the mountain, take the side trail to campsite #6. A short distance beyond is a water source, where if you bring along a water filter (like a Sawyer Mini available at places like WalMart for only about $20) you can refill your water bottles to last for most of the rest of the loop. Return back to the main trail from the campsite. As you continue climbing, the trail name changes to Indian Grave Gap. Near the far end of the ridge, you'll pass a side trail to campsite #5 (years ago, this was a lovely campsite, but it's since become overgrown and occasionally a daily horse rider will ride their horses thru the camp). From there it's a little less than a mile to the Indian Grave Gap/Rich Mountain Loop intersection, where you continue left back to the bottom of the mountain to see John Oliver Cabin. From the cabin, Rich Mountain Loop continues back to where you started.

  4. #4
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    Unfortunately, the Trolley doesn't run to the Laural Falls parking lot in March, so this is a good hike if someone can drop you off at the trail head.



    that's an easy hitch from visitors center over to laurel...

  5. #5
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    Default Few day hike recommendations for the Smokys

    Charlie's Bunion from Newfound Gap on the AT...assuming the road is open. Around 8 miles total (4 out, 4 back). Spectacular views, not terribly difficult, and gets you on the AT.

    Mt Cammerer out of the Cosby Campground is a steep up but again, great views and a superb day hike.

    Google either for more details.

  6. #6
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    I second Charlie's Bunion, with a side trip to The Jumpoff

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mockernut View Post
    Charlie's Bunion from Newfound Gap on the AT...assuming the road is open. Around 8 miles total (4 out, 4 back). Spectacular views, not terribly difficult, and gets you on the AT.
    Not particularly easy either. You have a 1,000' climb getting to the intersection with the Boulevard, then a 600' drop to get to the Bunion (that you then must climb on the way back).

    But if OP is used to 8 hour outings, it won't be a huge deal.

    The side trip to The Jumpoff will add a little less than 1 mile (round trip).

  8. #8
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    Default Few day hike recommendations for the Smokys

    I do the Charlie's Bunion hike every few years. It's one of my kids favorites and they've been doing it since elementary school. I've never thought of it as difficult.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Not particularly easy either. You have a 1,000' climb getting to the intersection with the Boulevard, then a 600' drop to get to the Bunion (that you then must climb on the way back).

    But if OP is used to 8 hour outings, it won't be a huge deal.

    The side trip to The Jumpoff will add a little less than 1 mile (round trip).
    I also recommend Charlie's Bunion. And since the OP has done the fire tower from Fontana Dam, this will be an doable hike, if not just plain easy.

  10. #10
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    Something else to consider with a visit to Charlie's Bunion (since you're looking for an 8 hour adventure) is to include a side trip to what is often called the "true" Bunion.

    At the 4 mile mark, you'll come to an intersection where if you take the left trail, in a short distance you'll arrive at the beautiful vista at the spot known as the "tourist" Bunion.
    After visiting the spot, continue around the bunion to meet back up with the AT and continue down the AT for about a quarter mile. You will come to a small clearing where on the right you will have a nice vista towards NC, and on the left, you will notice a small trail that climbs strait up the hill. Follow that trail until you have to make your way around a small grove of evergreen trees at the top and you will come to an alternate (and less crowded) view from the "true" Bunion.

  11. #11
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    Thank you everyone for the good info. This site is also awesome if anyone is interested. hikinginthesmokys.com

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