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    Andrew Smith reviewed Big River Crossing

    11 months ago

    Andrew Smith completed Big River Crossing

    11 months ago

    Andrew Smith reviewed Smokemont Loop Trail

    over 1 year ago

    If you're looking for views as a payoff, this isn't your hike. Having said that, it's a beautiful hike. Very shaded, lots of flowers, and a nice cemetery at the end of the loop. Also, you very much get a workout if you do the loop (something like 1100 ft in a little over a mile)

    Andrew Smith completed Smokemont Loop Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Andrew Smith reviewed Grapeyard Ridge Trail

    over 1 year ago

    A basic but still nice hike to a cool old steam engine. Be careful: you'll probably have to ford the streams

    Andrew Smith completed Grapeyard Ridge Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Andrew Smith reviewed Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion

    over 1 year ago

    Trail's not too difficult, as long as you're in good shape. Lovely flowers and great views leading to the Bunion, but the Bunion is truly the main attraction. There's not much else I can say that others haven't, but truly some of the best, most expansive views in the park

    Andrew Smith reviewed Mount Sterling via Mount Sterling Gap

    over 2 years ago

    Definitely one of (if not the) toughest short hikes in the Smokies. Although it's only 5.4 miles round-trip, it is extremely steep, with few breaks until you reach the top. On the plus side, if you can do this then you're ready to tackle some of the more advanced hikes in the park (Charlie's Bunion, Rich Mountain, et al). Also, the views from the fire tower are spectacular! Having hiked up to Shuckstack as well, I would say the views from Shuckstack are a little prettier because of Fontana, but the Sterling fire tower is less rickety and in slightly better shape

    Couple of things to note. One, the road leading to the trailhead is a rough gravel road, so be careful. Second, try to go either in the morning or late afternoon in the summer, since much of the trail is exposed to the elements

    Andrew Smith completed Andrews Bald Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Andrew Smith reviewed Andrew's Bald Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Nice, easy trail. Most of the uphill will be on the way back, so plan accordingly. Bald itself is quite nice, with breathtaking views of the mountains and (I think) Fontana Lake

    Andrew Smith reviewed Mount LeConte via The Bullhead Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Went up via Rainbow Falls and down via Bullhead. Although Bullhead's slightly longer and slightly less tree-covered, it's a better trail IMHO: better views and a little smoother. As for Mt LeConte itself, it's as awesome as advertised: can see for miles and the scenery at the very top is breathtaking! As long as you're well-prepared and in good shape, you have to do this trail!

    Andrew Smith reviewed Cucumber Gap Loop Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Do you like swimming in a mountain river? Do the crowds at Abrams Falls and the Cades Cove Loop make you wanna yank your hair out? Then this is the trail for you! If you do the loop hike, start at Jakes Creek Trailhead. Not only do you get the (relatively) hard part over with first, this is also where most of the Elkmont summer homes are. Built at the turn of the century, they are extremely interesting and fun to walk in the remaining homes and see a bygone era (make sure to only go in the ones closest to the parking lot; the ones on the trail are collapsing and rotting).

    Overall, this is a perfect hike for moderately experienced hikers. You'll get enough of a workout to feel like you've accomplished something, but you don't need to be in super-awesome shape to complete the loop. And there are enough deep spots in the Little River to get a good swim in, but (at least on the weekdays) you don't get the heavy crowds you do at Abrams

    Andrew Smith reviewed Gregory Bald

    over 2 years ago

    First off, this trail is about 11.8 miles round-trip. Second, this has a reputation as one of the toughest hikes in the Smokies, and having hiked it I can attest that this rep is well-earned. The first couple of miles aren't too bad, but it then gets extremely difficult, with heavy, nearly interminable elevation gain. Basically this is not a trail for beginners.

    However, please stick with this trail, because the end point is amazing. Before you get to the bald, you'll have some of the best views in all of the park, but once you're on top of the bald the views are breathtaking! Unlike other great vantage points (Jump-Off, et al), you're literally in a giant field, so you have room to put a blanket on the ground and picnic, or sunbathe, or even play frisbee (seriously, it's massive space). Second, while this is not the highest point in the Smokies, you can still see almost all of the park from here; there's virtually no obstructions

    As difficult as this hike is, I believe everyone should do it at least once in their life. I'm going back in mid-June, when the flaming azaleas are supposed to be in full bloom and are evidently a must-see

    Andrew Smith completed Rich Mountain Loop Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Andrew Smith reviewed Rich Mountain Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Not my favorite trail: the views in spring are few and far between, and after all the hype around the wildflowers I was disappointed at how few there were on the trail (keep in mind it's been unseasonably cool this month, and the flowers that were there were amazing).

    Still this was a strenuous but nice hike. Wanna see the old fire tower next time (was too tired to go the short-but-steep trail to it), but Oliver Cabin is pretty cool. Plus there was so much wildlife out: saw 3 deer grazing on the trail itself, and a turkey adjacent to the trailhead. Plus found a baby black bear as I was leaving. Overall might not be something I hike often, but I will do it again

    Andrew Smith reviewed Shuckstack Tower Trail

    about 3 years ago

    Very hard hike but so very worth it!! The views from the fire tower are excellent, and the hike up is very scenic in the Fall. Be forewarned of two things: the trail is not well marked, and as of this review you can't cross Fontana Dam by car to get to the trailhead. You have to park at the dam visitor center and walk almost a mile to the Appalachian Trail (which serves as the trailhead).

    Andrew Smith reviewed Kephart Prong

    about 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith completed Kephart Prong

    about 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith saved Goldmine Loop Trail

    about 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith reviewed Middle Prong Trail

    about 3 years ago

    This is a wonderful trail. It's long but there's barely a grade, so it's more like taking a walk in the forest than a mountain hike. The creek and falls are absolutely amazing, particularly if you make your way through the thicket at the end to see what I believe is Indian Flat Falls. Plus you find a Prohibition-era Cadillac and the ruins of the settlements that used to be on this trail. Only complaint is that the road leading to the trailhead is all rocks and gravel, so be careful driving. Definitely a hike I recommend

    Andrew Smith completed Middle Prong Trail

    about 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith reviewed Alum Cave Bluffs Trail

    about 3 years ago

    Hike wasn't too bad; as long as you're in reasonable shape you can do it in around 2 1/2-3 hours round-trip. View is good, especially at Inspiration Point, but not the best in the park. Will probably go again in mid-Fall when the leaves change

    Andrew Smith completed Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte

    about 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith reviewed Rainbow Falls Trail

    about 3 years ago

    Hike will definitely test your endurance, as it's all-incline. However, the falls are wonderful. Not as nice as people claim, but definitely worth seeing

    Andrew Smith reviewed Abrams Falls Trail

    about 3 years ago

    The trail and falls themselves are actually 5 stars. The hike is not too bad and so long as you're in reasonable shape it's not difficult. Good balance between inclines and slopes, with lots of flat spots. The falls are excellent and deep enough to swim in, with very cold but tolerable water.

    However, the drive in is a nightmare during tourist season. First, there's only one, single-lane, one-way road (if you want to drive). And right now it doesn't open on Wednesday and Saturday until 10 AM, so everybody enters at the same time. Took 30 minutes to get to the trailhead 7 miles from the entrance. Second, if you don't get to the falls early enough, you'll feel overwhelmed by the crowds. I got to the falls at 11:30 on a Saturday, and by 12:30 it was a miniature version of Panama City Beach in terms of the crowds! Overall I would go again, but not on a weekend

    Andrew Smith completed Abrams Falls Trail

    about 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith reviewed Chimney Tops Trail

    about 3 years ago

    This is no joke: do not attempt this trail if you're not in good shape. Even though it's relatively short, the final mile will require every ounce of energy you have. However, it is worth it. Even if you don't want to brave the rock face, you'll still get one of the most breathtaking views around. And if you do scramble up the rock face...words can't describe how amazing it is. Overall, one of the best hikes in the park; just know what you're getting into

    Andrew Smith completed Chimney Tops Trail

    about 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith saved Deep Creek Loop Trail

    over 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith saved Abrams Falls Trail

    over 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith completed Rainbow Falls Trail

    over 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith saved Chimney Tops Trail

    over 3 years ago

    Andrew Smith saved Rainbow Falls Trail

    over 3 years ago