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Top Trails: Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 50 Must-Do Hikes for Everyone

Product Info

Author: Molloy, Johnny

Brand: Wilderness Press

Edition: Second


  • The best way to enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is to get away from the roads and into the heart of the park, letting all your senses absorb the very essence of these old mountains. But with the overwhelming mileage of trails, an uninfo

Binding: Paperback

Number Of Pages: 416

Release Date: 30-05-2017

Part Number: 9780899978765

Details: Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Chapter 1: Abrams Creek and Cades Cove Area Trail 1: Pine Mountain Loop Trail Use: Day Hiking, Backpacking, Horses Length: 8.1 miles, 4-5½ hours Vertical Feet: ±1000 Difficulty: Level 2-3 Trail Type: Loop Features: Summit, Ridgeline, Stream, Autumn Colors, Wildflowers, Great Views, Backcountry Camping, Swimming Facilities (Seasonal): Campground, Restrooms, Water From the lowest trailhead in the park, follow lovely Abrams Creek on a watery hike past numerous shoals and huge pools, eventually fording the big stream. A low ridge offers views of Look Rock. Wander through oak woods to Scott Gap, and then reach a high point on the shoulder of Pine Mountain. Finally, descend to Abrams Creek, this time spanning it by bridge. Best Time This hike requires making what is the biggest ford in the park: across lower Abrams Creek. With that in mind, midsummer through late fall offers the lowest water for fording. Outside that, winter offers great solitude, and the low elevations make this hike doable when the high country is frigid. In May, the mountain laurel blooms in the Abrams Creek watershed can be spectacular. Finding the Trail From the intersection of US 411/TN 33 and US 129/ TN 115 in Maryville, Tennessee, take US 129/Alcoa Highway south for 7 miles. At the four-way intersection, bear right to continue south on US 129. In 3.6 miles, bear left at the T to keep south on US 129, and continue 7.1 miles to Chilhowee Lake. Just past the intersection with the Foothills Parkway, turn left (north) on Happy Valley Road, following it 5.9 miles to Abrams Creek Road. Turn right on Abrams Creek Road and drive 0.7 mile, passing the ranger station. The parking area is on the right just after the ranger station. The Cooper Road Trail starts at the rear of Abrams Creek Campground. Park your car in the designated area near the ranger station. Do not park in the campground, which is gated during the cold season. Trail Description This hike would be rated less difficult if it weren’t for the ford of Abrams Creek, widely regarded as the most troublesome in the park. But don’t let the ford discourage you from taking this scenic loop hike. A drive-up campground and three backcountry campsites along the route make trailside overnighting easy. First you’ll leave Abrams Creek Ranger Station, tracing a gravel park road to Abrams Creek Campground. Join Cooper Road Trail, rambling along Abrams Creek to meet small Kingfisher Creek. Surmount a ridge with views to enter the rugged Abrams Creek gorge, passing Little Bottoms campsite #17. Wander through a past burn on an open rocky mountainside before reaching that potentially troublesome ford. Beyond here, it’s uphill through quiet pine–oak woods to make Scott Gap. Join an old jeep road to skirt the western shoulder of Pine Mountain. Descend via switchbacks on the thickly wooded north side of Pine Mountain to reach Abrams Creek yet again, this time near old homesites. A footlog avails a safe ending to the hike. Leave the parking area, [1] walking the gravel road upstream along Abrams Creek. Reach quaint 16-site Abrams Creek Campground at 0.4 mile. Pass around a pole gate, joining Cooper Road Trail [2] as it traverses a streamside flat over which tower tall white pines. Beech, maple, and holly are scattered in the understory. Surmount a small bluff, then come to Kingfisher Branch at 0.9 mile. The trail and stream become one for a short distance, then divide. Reach a trail junction at 1.3 miles. [3] Cooper Road backcountry campsite #1 is just a short ways farther on Cooper Road Trail, but this hike turns right on Little Bottoms Trail, crossing Kingfisher Branch a final time. Pass the cool waters of small Herndon Spring, located at the base of a dead hemlock, just before climbing a ridge. The 200-foot ascent leads through scrubby woodlands, recovering from fire. Look left for northwesterly views of Chilhowee Mountain and the tower at Look Rock. Descend from a ga

EAN: 9780899978765

Package Dimensions: 8.0 x 5.0 x 1.5 inches

Languages: English

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