The Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains, have a wide range of elevations, making them home to over 400 vertebrate species, 100 tree species, and 5000 plant species. Hiking is the park's main attraction, with over 800 miles (1,300 km) of trails, including 70 miles (110 km) of the Appalachian Trail. Other activities are fishing, horseback riding, and visiting some of nearly 80 historic structures.
We hiked here for our 5 year anniversary and wow, I can't imagine a better way to spend it! There were two other people at the Bunion, and we waited a while and then had it to ourselves for the time we spent there. It is not an easy hike. There are quite a few steep parts. It is crucial to eat well, lots of carbs and protein, no greasy junk food- and hydrate adequately not only during but also BEFORE hiking. If not, this hike will be gruesome and not so enjoyable! Charlie's bunion was gorgeous, and afterwards, with the small amount of energy we had left, we did the side trail to the Jump Off/ Mt. Kephart summit. It was a HUGE drop off (1,200 ft) and the views are second to none that we have ever seen. If you have binoculars and/or very good vision, you can see way across the overlook to where you were earlier at Charlie's bunion. The people there looked like microscopic organisms, but you could see faintly them! The Ice water spring shelter is very cool. It is just a short 30 second hike off the main trail, and next time we hike here we definitely want to camp out in it. It requires reservations and a permit from the park service. Hope this helps anyone who has never hiked here before!
This was our first trip to Big Creek.The trail is wide and in good shape, there are quite a few rocks on the trail and a few roots, as a matter of fact it should be called a rocky trail. You hike near the creek most of the way and there are many huge boulders along the way, lots of Rhododendron too!You have to be careful where you step because there was horse manure all along the trail.I was told that this used to be a railroad bed that went out to the sawmill at Crestmont. We did not see any signs of old structures along the way, would have been interesting to know where all the people used to live..hard to imagine because of the vast number of boulders and rock along the way. The midnite hole was very pretty but we did not go swimming. The waterfalls (Mouse Creek) was a little unspectacular but probably because of the lack of rain in the region.The hike to the falls was a gradual uphill all the way so the return was downhill on the way back. Overall a very nice and interesting hike. Also the restrooms at the parking lot were very clean and weren't pits!
beautiful trail. The heavy traffic is at the first 2.4 miles to the awesome falls. The 1st mile lulls you into a sense of ease but some real nice rocky climbs makes you glad you came prepared with good shoes & shorts. felt over prepared at first with 170 ozs of water in our CamelBaks but was glad to have it by the time we got to the falls. Looking forward to doing the full 8.4 next time.
Bradford S. on Deep Creek Loop Trail
beautiful!! really great pics where Indian Creek joins Deep creek.
Giving this one 4 stars because of the beautiful falls toward the end, and not much effort expended. This is a well-kept and well-marked partially paved trail that has heaps of places for kids to safely explore without toppling over a bluff, lovely shade trees, and ...lots of people. Heavily trafficked. My kids wanted one "rest" day while we spent a week in the smokies, so we stopped at the visitor center and took a stroll down this easy trail.
Hiked to the tower via the Low Gap Trail on Tuesday October 11th. We had a beautiful clear and sunny day with temps in mid 60's. It took us 3&1/2 hours up and 3 hours down. This is a steep hike that is somewhat strenuous but well worth the effort. The view from the tower and the surrounding rocks is incredible! 360 degree view! It's amazing how they built that fire tower so high up on the mountain. Not many opportunities for views on the way to and from the tower although there are some. The hiker parking lot is large and has a bathroom. I would recommend this hike.
We visited this trail on a Tuesday morning in May, and it was so full of people! The falls are breathtaking, and the mountain laurel was in full bloom - I think we caught this trail in it's full glory. I wasn't prepared for the steep climb, but it is an easy, paved trail with amazing views and a waterfall that's as fun to climb on as it is beautiful to see.
Fighting the crowd was monstrous. Jostling for room on the bridge, trying to get pictures, weaving and dodging people - I love this trail, but not the crowd. If I were to do it again, I would take my chances at sunrise on a weekday.
One of my very favorite places in the Smokies. I hiked this trail in late May, and there seemed to be a surprise around every turn. Stone steps leading to a beautiful old cemetery, the old barn and cabins, the rushing creek, the charming footbridges, capped off by stunning Fern Branch Falls. My children aged 6 and 11 were exhausted at the end of this trail, and traversing the second footbridge with a very independent (but exhausted) six-year-old is a bit stressful, but we made it work. The end result was an unforgettable experience!
The climb to the falls is a bit much for little ones, but for experienced hikers, it's an easy walk with stunning scenery and loads of history. I wish I lived closer, but I will certainly be back to hike this again.
This trail is an easy ,beautiful trail,especially in the fall. But what is not mentioned on all trails app is that there is a gate (Purchase Rd) that is closed often and you need to walk about 1.5 miles at a slow incline to actually get to the Ferguson Cabin trail. It is a beautiful walk in the fall, but is a bit of an incline ,especially if you are going based on what the app says (easy). We didn't complete the trail as we were just looking for a short trail before our plans the evening of. We didn't anticipate to walk 1.5 miles prior to trail. We hiked to the cabin and turned around. Would like to go back and complete it,it also connects to the Cataloochee Divide Trail. There are some apple trees on the trail as well,so you can grab one if your tall enough and snack on the way :). There is a research center as well you can check out while your there. We ended up hiking almost 3.5 miles I believe due to gate being closed,if we had hiked the full loop it would of been a bit longer in distance. All around ,nice trail.
We hiked past Laurel Falls and up to the peak of Cove Mountain. The first ~1.5 miles to Laurel Falls is mostly uphill but is well maintained with a paved trail. Once you pass Laurel Falls (and 95% of the people you will see) the additional ~3 miles up to the top of Cove Mountain are mostly a continual moderate uphill hike through forest. No overlooks really on the way up or at the top. At the end of the trail you will reach the Cove Mountain Trail, there you can take a left and continue for 0.1 miles to reach a fire tower that is closed to hikers and is now used as a pollution monitoring station. Continuing to the peak is more for people who just want to summit the mountain. Plan for ~5 hours roundtrip at a moderate pace.