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Started at Twentymile Ranger Station and took Twentymile Trail to Long Hungry Ridge Trail to Gregory Bald Trail. Blueberries were gone in mid-August, so no bears to be seen. Stayed the night at Campsite 13 then finished the loop the next day by continuing on Gregory Bald Trail to Wolf Ridge Trail back to Twentymile Trail. Lots of beautiful bridge stream crossings on the lower parts of the trail and the views from the Bald are worth the trip. I found the posted mileages on the trail and on the description above to be significantly different from what my AllTrails app was registering. The app showed 13.4 miles from the Ranger station to Campsite 13 and then 8.5 miles to finish the loop the next day. That's 21.9 miles compared to the 15.3 listed above.

It was a good trail, but I would not recommend it for anyone’s first time backpacking or camping. It had rained the few days prior to me and my gf doing it and the creeks were so full and crossing them was pretty dangerous. But overall a great trip. Plan for it to take 2-2.5 full days to complete the trail if it has rained recently.

The trail is well maintained, so expect to do this fairly quickly for a 21 miler (did it in about 8hours). It was cloudy and rainy, so that might have affected my experience, but I felt it was all that great. The best view points are at the begining, doing the whole loop is a bit excessive.

This trail is best hiked in fall when the foliage starts turning colors. Very simple to navigate, no rough spots. Good for all ages and pets. The falls vary in strength due to however much rain the area gets. They won't be much if it hasn't rained in at least 3 days.

Nice hike. Mostly in the shade. Better views in the fall

I really enjoyed the trail. The road up to the trail is a little bit rough but well worth the drive. Rained most of the day but the hike was excellent anyway.

hiking
3 months ago

Take this COUNTER-clockwise to minimize trail loss on the infuriatingly vague relentless Southern ascent, the crazy labyrinth of squirrel runs trying to find Shiny Rock, and the super slippy descent through Hobbit sized openings in the brush.

Great hike out of Cosby Campground. Steady climbing all the way up Snake Den Ridge. Snake Den offered a few subtle views, but no stellar overlooks. It’s all steady down Maddron Bald which is a neat stretch that offers slightly better views. Albright Grove loop featured a lot of old growth and large trees. Gabe’s Mountain trail had some ups and downs but mostly easy hiking. Hen Wallow Falls was much larger than I anticipated, and a great place to have a snack. This is also the most crowded stretch as it is only 2.2 miles from the campground. My suunto ambit clocked the loop at 19.75 miles (including the walking through the campground and an additional 1.4 I added by going all the way up to the AT). Long for a day hike, but a great walk and much less crowded than the hikes in the more popular areas of the park. An early start afforded me the opportunity to spend the first 2 hours and 45 minutes (~7 miles) without seeing anyone.
Bottom line: nothing in this hike is overwhelmingly spectacular, but the climbing, the wide spectrum of vegetation and a waterfall allows this hike to truly embody the Smokies.

This is a nice 17 mile loop up to Gregory Bald from Twenty Mile Ranger Station and back. It’s virtually all uphill to the bald and all downhill coming back. We camped at campsite 92 on the way up and campsite 95 on the way down. We encountered 3 bears, but they were in the distance and scattered pretty quickly when the heard us. Despite gorgeous weather, we only saw about 20 people, most of them on the bald. The bald is the highlight of this hike with 360 degree views of TN and NC and a nice overlook on to Cades Cove below. There are several creek crossings on this hike, so plenty of water sources. Depending on water levels, you may want to bring water shoes for some of the crossings.

Start to finish
One day hike. Is rough

I attempted this trail once before but started too late and took the way to the right and realized i would not make t before dark. It’s not safe to do this in the dark as some areas require a bit of rock climbing. We did this hike again in the winter, one of the warmer days. It’s was a difficult hike but fun. I didn’t do a loop and came down the same way I came up. My nephew as cousin took the way to the right and did the loop. The trail is not well marked or always seen so got lost a few time. It was fun but probably will not do it again.

enjoyed this late winter hike but let the tick season begin. found two even after liberal application of Deet.

We did this for a half marathon. It was tough, but fun.

Should be higher than moderate

We started and took shining Creek and had planned on coming back old butt. However the trail is NOT 3.4 miles, as it states on the map. It is more close to 6 miles one way so be prepared. It was getting dark on us so We came back out the same way We went in and do not get to do old butt. This trail was very pretty with lots of water Cascades. We tracked The trail to be around 12.5 round trip. The trail is NOT marked and is very confusing to what is and is not the trail. This trail even with a map would be super easy to get lost. we ran into other hikers and they were just as confused as we were and some had done the trail before. It would be nice if they could have some small makers at least on some of the places.

Great trail with awesome scenes and many waterfalls.

If anyone knows who the Boy Scout troop on Springer Mnt was yesterday (Feb 24, 2018) please contact me ASAP at email yirkl@yahoo.com

These guys assisted local EMS on an unfortunate event that happened on Springer and need to be recognized. Thanks to anyone that can help with this!

A decent weekend loop. The Forney Creek trail portion follows an old logging road, which is a little uninspiring if you’re backpacking. The creeks are pretty, and the terrain is nicely varied from the high ridge-top hiking along the AT to the hollows along Jonas Creek.

Nice trail. Well marked, clean and easy to follow. Couple of views from Springer Mountain summit and a few along the way. Long Creek Falls is a good side trip just a mile up the trail from the service road trailhead.

it's okay in the winter

6 months ago

This is a forest service road, not a hiking trail.

I really enjoyed this loop. The forecast was calling for Armageddon, but it ended up only coming down the morning of our last night. It’s a tough hike with a good balance of gains and losses. If you camp at Shining Rock Gap there’s a spring on the left of the trail as you head south on Art Loeb. If you hike up Cold Mountain there’s a PVC pipe sticking out of the side of the mountain about 0.75 miles up. And I’m super stoked that I wasn’t murdered by a bear or blown off the mountain while I slept. If I did this trip again I’d probably plan on camping at Shining Rock Gap for the first night and Deep Gap for the second where campsites are established and water sources are close by. All in all it was a good trip. If you feel so inclined, you can read more about my trip at: http://bit.ly/coldmtnloop

My wife and I did this loop in November of ‘17 heading up Shining Creek first (this is the direction I would go). This hike is rated hard and it holds true to that category. It starts out mellow but increases in intensity as you get closer to the summit. I am a fit guy who runs 5 miles a day so while it was tough I enjoyed the challenge. This is NOT a hike you should take a less physical or inexperienced person on... like I did with my wife. It could easily be done in one day if you're up for it and can move quickly. However this is a great hike that you can stretch into 2 or 3 days. There are a few scattered campsites that have been previously occupied along Shining Creek so finding a place to stop is not an issue. Also, there is plenty of access to the creek itself for water or to just relax. Shining Creek doesn't offer much to view other than the peaks above you, a lot of fauna and some large boulders. It is best to take a GPS and a map as this trail is NOT marked at all and some sections are very difficult to see the trail. We even took a few wrong "paths" and we weren't the only ones. We did run into a few people most of whom were day hiking. The water falls along Shining creek are small but they are there and still nice to look at.
Once you reach the summit and hit the Art Loeb there are TONS of camping options and beautiful views. It's definitely worth hiking down the AL for about 5 mins (away from Shining Rock) as there are few clearings with great panoramic views. If you look closely enough along the AL in both directions you can see some slightly worn paths. If you take these through the brush/trees they open up into some amazing and hidden places to camp. The spur/hike up to Shining rock is well worth the 360 degree view. Camping at the summit can get windy at night but it's not too bad. There were several other groups camping when we arrived so it made for a lot of fun meeting others. The summit makes a great place to set up a base camp for a few days so you can to hike to cold mountain, down the Art Loeb towards the knobs or Shining Rock itself. Just down the AL towards the knobs/Black Balsam there is a small spring that provides plenty of water.
The hike towards Old Butt Knob can be VERY confusing as there a lot of small trails that go out to more hidden campsites so if you stick to the most worn path you should be OK. The path that takes you to OBN at Shining rock is also a bit confusing but again stick to the most worn and you will eventually find where you need to be. Just past Shining rock and when you start on OBN there are some more hidden trails and beautiful campsites, especially for those in hammocks. Before you really start descending you will hit a few peaks and some beautiful changes in fauna. Like Shining Creek there are campsites along the trail and some have a decent view but there is no access to water until you reach the bottom at Shining Creek. Keep a close eye out for some small hidden trails off to the side. These lead to some beautiful overlooks where you can get some good photos. Once you start heading down back towards Shining Creek there are virtually no places to camp. Be warned that going down OBN is very tricky and at times you will be sliding down drop offs on your butt (no pun intended). Having a set of poles really pays off here. The beginning isn't too bad but once you reach a certain point it drops off quickly and stays that way for a while. You will hit switchbacks and drop offs for a mile or two.
Overall this is a very rewarding and worthwhile hike. Making it a few overnights is also worth it. Remember that there are no fires allowed but you will see where people have either built a fire or built a fire ring. So you can build a fire but you run the risk of a fine from the rangers who did come through our campsite on the second night. Also a bear proof canister is required though many just hung their packs or bags of food. This year alone many have had their packs stolen by a mom and her cub that have been hanging around so a canister is well worth the weight and bulk.

Found this trail today it was a great hike with fantastic scenery and fun to hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Spent a short winter's day on most of this loop - very enjoyable and the majority of the trail was well-marked with white blazes, especially the Snoopers Rock portion. Had some trouble finding where the trail continued after reaching the ATV road on the western part of the mountain - had to walk up the road itself maybe 150 feet to find a small wooden sign marked "Trail." All in all it was a great experience despite the fog and I'll definitely be back!

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