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smokey mountain suggestions
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rob wil
(AUradar) - F

Locale: FL Panhandle (aka LA)
smokey mountain suggestions on 02/17/2009 09:14:18 MST Print View

Hello, new here so I don't know if I'm in the right place or not.

We are finally heading up to the smokey mountains this summer (July). We will be trailer camping in Bryson City. However, I'm planning on taking my son (he'll be 7 by then) on an overnight backpacking excursion.

Any suggestions on trails?

I've thought about the AT, maybe hiking to the Icewater Springs Shelter. But thats just to say we did the AT. Logistics of getting picked up and dropped off will be less deserible.

The Deep Creek trail loop looks interested as we are staying just outside the park entrance there. But it also looks crowded.

I'm kindof thinking about the Noland Creeek trail off the road to nowhere. Its about 4 miles or so up to site 64(miller's creek site???) but it looks to be an easy walk. Also, its seems it would be a bit less crowded than the other spots.

Any other suggestions. Again, I want easy access from Bryson City. Wife and 6 and 4 year old will be staying at the camper during this trip. They will have to drop us off and pick us up the next day

Craig Burton

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: smokey mountain suggestions on 02/21/2009 16:06:14 MST Print View

The Deep Creek area actually is not too awful busy since it is off the beaten path a bit.

The Deep Creek Trail itself is very nice, and there are not too many people once you get out of the Loop area.

From Bryson City, you can also drive about 30 miles to the Fontana area. You can create plenty of loop options from either the Twentymile Ranger station or from Fontana Dam that would include parts of the AT; yet still give you the opportunity to leave the AT and the crowds that come with it.

Trails in the park are very well marked; so I always suggest that people pick up a trail map and get creative. For an overnighter with a kid, 15-20 miles might about be the limit.

jason kawaja
(jasonk) - F

Locale: occupied south
GSMNP Hike on 03/11/2009 08:43:19 MDT Print View

The logistics of getting dropped off or picked up are made easy with anywhere from 30-50 bucks. Have a local outfitter or taxi service pick you up from your end point where you leave your vehicle and take you to your trail head.

I am doing a 4 day hike in a couple weeks as detailed in the following image.

4 day loop

I originally had a far more adventurous route planned starting from Porters Creek following the manway to Icewater Shelter however a few reasons deterred me during this time of the year, will do it another time when the leaves and blooms along Porters are more picturesque.

Stephen Lastname
(hootyhoo) - F

Locale: East TN
Re: smokey mountain suggestions on 03/11/2009 18:31:08 MDT Print View

Take him up Deep Creek Trail - about 6 miles up the trail there is the Horace Kephart memorial mill stone - the trail is fantastic and the hiking is easy. There are camp sites every couple of miles - not too many people, except fishermen. There are no stream crossings to worry about (spring rains).

Mark Jones
(hibisk55) - M

Locale: The Back of Beyond
Smoky Mountains suggestions. on 03/28/2009 10:39:59 MDT Print View

From your base camp location and with limited driving, your ideas are good, especially for a young hiker. The Deep Creek Trial is nice once you get north of the Loop Trail. In July you will experience a zoo of float tuber traffic up to the Loop Trail. Beyond that, things are quieter. There are several stream side campsites along the way. This is an easy trail for a youngster.

The Noland Creek Trail is also an easy stream side trail that follows an old railroad grade. This may not be as nice as Deep Creek, but it is definitely quieter and still within a short drive of your base camp.

Happy Trails.

Edited by hibisk55 on 03/28/2009 10:42:25 MDT.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Cosby Campground on 04/12/2009 10:34:53 MDT Print View

Cosby's Campground has an easy trail to swimming and a waterfall (Gabes Mountain Trail) The old settlers tr. is an extension of that and level. There is an old tree growth section near Maddron Bald. Huge old trees. Ttrails up to Mt. Le Conte are steep except for the Boulevard over from Ice Springs, but it is long. My kids at that age liked rthe camping much more than the hiking. Drive to Cades Cove if you can. See some old grist mills as part of a working museum. I think there are over 800 miles of trails in the Park!
Another up, but not very steep climb is the hike up to Mt. Cammere from Davenport Gap at the park boundary which is on a dirt road. The Davenport Gap shelter is on a mile in on the AT or you could start a mile furhte ut right at the Gap road. Spend the night at the shelter then day hike up to the tower.

Just north of Bryson City: A loop trail into a campsite 7.3 miles one way. Deep Creek, Indian Creek,and Martin's Gap Trails to Bryson Place Campsite #57. From that campsite next morning you head back on the Deep Creek trail 5.4 miles to the trailhead. Total mileage over moderate terrain, 12.7 miles. Encounter streams, coves, switchbacks and old road beds for nice hiking.

Edited by rambler on 04/15/2009 19:27:45 MDT.

David Irvin
(kybrent) - F

Locale: Central Kentucky
Re: smokey mountain suggestions on 04/14/2009 21:29:28 MDT Print View

I haven't spent much time in the Deep Creek area. Considering the age of your son, I recommend a loop trail starting from the Big Creek campground which is a small first come first serve camp site away from the more crowded huge campgrounds. Exit I-40 near Waterville. The hike is on an old railroad bed along a stream which includes a great swimming hole called the "Midnight hole." You will need a back country permit to camp anywhere in the park and can call and make reservations one month in advance for those that require advance reservations. The backcountry information office can give you more information and suggestions based on the general area where you want to hike, the difficulty and length of the trail and describe the designated backcountry camping sites and shelters. (865) 436-1297.

If it fits in your itinerary, I also recommend the Cade's cove part of the park north of Townsend Tennessee for seeing wildlife and old cabins but this is a crowded area. The best time to do this is early in the morning on the days when the road is closed to traffic and to ride bikes. These can be rented from the Cade's Cove campground but you'll be happier if you bring your own bikes rather than the well used rentals. I haven't been there but the Cataloochee area looks similarly promising for seeking wildlife--especially Elk.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Smokeys on 04/15/2009 19:26:37 MDT Print View