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Only made it to Mills Lake, but it was beautiful. The weather can still be incredibly cold in the morning, but warms up significantly during the day. The trail conditions were a little sketchy at parts if you're not wearing crampons or snowshoes, but it's doable. Just prepare to sink into some soft spots. Especially once you get to the higher elevations.

This trail offers so many options & side trails you’ll never get bored. Cool gullys & creeks.

Gorgeous hike on a gorgeous day. Spikes were essential up to the Loch, and poles were helpful after the trail splits to Hiyaha. Wind was brisk at the Loch but calm enough to break for a snack. We’d made good time and decided to try for Sky Pond. Definitely a good decision, but snowshoes would have been helpful. Wind was pretty calm at Sky Pond, and the views were fantastic. Definitely recommend doing the full hike in the winter if you haven’t!

hiking
2 days ago

I like this hike. It’s less than two hours drive from Richmond. If you’re a strong hiker you can do it in a day (7-9 hours), it has vistas, climbs, streams, waterfalls, rock scrambles, App Trail hikers to say hi to, a little bit of everything. And then at the end you can drive an AT through hiker to down to Devil’s Backbone at the base of the hill in exchange for him buying you a beer :)

I would call it difficult not moderate though.

This trail starts out going downhill so it's harder to come back than to get to the falls. It can get really busy and the views of the falls aren't really great. You can't get far enough away to really see well. I think the hike is worth the effort but not something I'm dying to do again, like Mills Lake.

Only went as far as Mills Lake, but we hope to go farther next time. This hike is amazing. We saw bighorn sheep on the mountaintops above us, so don't forget to look up while you're there.

RMNP is one of my favorite places. This hike was beautiful from beginning to end, I was unable to see the actual falls because of the packed snow. We hiked in a Blizzard the entire time and also lost the trail because it covered peoples footsteps. You can actually climb up to the falls because it is frozen and covered in snow. The sign for Alberta Falls is very small, so you can pass it if not attentive. Bathrooms on the trail head : )

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer

First I did this as a scenic drive. The Roaring Fork Nature Trail is one of the highlights of the GSMNP. I been at least 4 times. There are abundant wildflowers thru the month of April. There are scenic cabins. There are 4-5 pullouts with scenic creeks/rivers. And there is one scenic view of the mountains.

The only downside is the the road is VERY busy after Memorial Day and it’s also narrow. You can only park at the pull offs and sometimes that means you’ll need to walk back to the photo you want.

Did it yesterday, MicroSpikes are a must, however some people did it without them.

We spent the weekend in the Shawnee and this was one of the most beautiful trails we hiked. Beware that if you are hiking the full loop, you will have to go up and down a crevasse that could has some steep steps and could be wet. We enjoyed the fact that this trail was not just a half paved path through the woods. You were really rewarded by going the extra mile to get into the woods. We started at the left trail head, hiked up to the lookout point, then ventured down into the bottoms. The decent down was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. We got lucky and went after a very wet week, including rain the night before. The forest was alive with trickling water from every direction. The path up and down the bluff follows a small stream that caused no issue. We took our time, taking pictures and a few breaks, and it ended up taking us about 2 hours to complete the trail.

Hiked yesterday. Packed snow and ice along the trail, but was able to do it in just hiking boots. Trail is pretty poorly marked so you definitely have to pay attention. Some scrambling toward the end of the trail. Views at the top are GORGEOUS!

Great trail, can see how in the spring or fall this trail would be very pretty.

This hike blew me away. The ruins, the fields of wildflowers, the steep elevation changes, the incredible overlooks. Wow.

backpacking
6 days ago

Hiked here on the hottest day of the year in July 2016. It felt really good in the wilderness. It was 10 miles total. Tons of ticks! I had 5 on me within the 24 hours...1 held on for 3 days. only 1 place for water but I was not brave enough to drink it and test out my purification tablets. camped at campsite 7 and all night there were tons of some kind of very large nuts/seeds dropping on our tent and I got no sleep. Beautiful trail. I consider myself a beginner to intermediate hiker but this was my first overnight backpacking trip and it was amazing!

hiking
6 days ago

This is a great hike, with fantastic views on the second ridge. But not sure why this is marked as moderate—unless you break it into two days. For one day, it is difficult

Just did this today, took 2 hours to get up at a steady pace not rushing with a couple small breaks maybe 5 min each. Micro spikes are fine as well a must. I saw people with out them and didn’t look fun for them. Took 90 mins to come down as well a steady slower pace. Great views!

This is a great trail overall and mostly moderate. I will say the actual .3 miles on the jump off trail are more on the strenous/hard side with steep ups and downs, but the view at the end is worth the hike up there. Definitely a must do while in the Smokies!

Hiked the trail Wednesday(2days ago) and the weather was perfect, with sunshine and a breeze. The trail was muddy in places in the lowland so you had to pick and choose a path to get around, but not too bad. The trail on the creek bed was not bad at all. It was pretty easy to step around the water. I was pleased to find there was very little litter along the trail. If a few of us that care would pick up after those don’t and use the large trash containers in the parking lot it would look even better. Remember to leave the area a little cleaner than you found it

10 days ago

Best trail I've hiked! It's hard to describe all of the amazing surroundings. We were just going to go to one of the lookouts but I was a little let down because there wasn't much to see. We decided to keep going and I'm so glad we did, some parts of the trail are definitely rugged so be prepared to walk through a few creeks. My 14 year old and 8 year old thought it was so cool, though my 8 year old was tiring out that last half mile! We took our time to take pictures and let the kids play around in the water and it took us a little over 3 hours. A little difficult but worth it!

hiked this morning 4/10, microspikes were sufficient up until the Mills/Loch junction but from there up to the lake snow shoes were definitely necessary (snow was well over knee-deep) super windy but beautiful as always!

Nice hike. Steep and rocky in places.

Great day hike. Wild flowers were in bloom. Some technical aspects to the trail as you descend/climb out of the canyon, but nothing too much. Trail was being enjoyed by all ages.

Great hike! Heavily trafficked but the view at the top of the rocks make the trip on a crowded trail worth it.

Hiked up this road before it was opened for the season. Only saw a few folks. If going from Ely's Mill, the first 2-3 miles can be steep, but it's all paved and you can take a breather at one of the many beautiful falls. At the Thousand Drips waterfall, my young son climbed up into an deep alcove. We really enjoyed this hike.

Note that we did get a report of bears crossing the path ahead of us, but they were gone when we passed by.

Beautiful vistas - especially the very first after hiking over Bee Mountain. Just a bit more difficult than moderate with some rocky and steep areas. We hiked with a pup and it was tough on her paws. Also longer than 12 miles total (closer to 15). Made it an overnight backpacking trip and camped at Harper’s Creek. Harper’s creek was flowing (March 31/April1 weekend) with quite a few other backpackers camping at the site. Good times.

It's certainly pretty, but this has to be one of the worst marked Trails I've ever seen. I got lost multiple times. I don't even know if I ever made it to the job. Very frustrating.

I hiked this on Easter. It was snowy but packed enough for spikes and not snow shoes. Several times there was no one in sight, so I wonder how many people make it to the top. The wind was whipping! Had to stop at loch Lake but a beautiful and somewhat challenging hike!

We hiked this today and it was absolutely beautiful! We found it challenging since the snowpack was icy as well. Highly recommend using microspikes and trekking poles.

Fun hike with my son! Need spikes when coming down towards the top because it is slushy and snow packed in areas.

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