Forney Creek Trail is a 23.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cherokee, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.
Directions from Cherokee, NC: Travel to the end of Clingman's Dome Road off US 441, north of Cherokee.
Myself and 4 others began Friday morning from Clingmans Dome in 38 degree temps and blowing mist and rain. Once off from the parking lot and below the ridge the wind subsided, however the rain continued into the night.
The route chosen was Forney Ridge trail to Forney Creek trail and out on the Lakeshore trail to the road to no where.
The trail condition was excellent along the Forney Ridge section with obvious maintenance and steps being constructed. This section was mainly composed of large rocks and soil and a gradual decent to the intersection with the Forney Creek trail.
The Forney Creek trail narrowed markedly and contained beds of loose stone and a steeper decent to Forney Creek. Sure footing is a must especially during periods is wet conditions. Many times the footing slipped with the stone or slid across leaves, etc.
Once down to campsite 68 the trail runs along an old rail bed left from the timber harvest back in the day. Remnants of said harvest are still evident with exposed rails, etc. The decent is more gradual as it makes it way along the creek. Several crossings are made, the smaller of which have a single timber for crossing, while others require scouting for a place to cross. In lower water it may be possible to step from stone to stone.
We chose to camp at site 69. Upon arriving, the main site is on a small point on the north side of the trail. There, water is plentiful with several creeks coming together.
From site 69 on down to 74 the trail remains the same although there are several additional wet crossing having to negotiated. Forney Creek picks up in volume and many runs a available for those fishing.
Along in the area where Jonas Creek comes in, horses are along on the trail. There are a couple areas where the trail runs over ridges and away from the creek. However the climbs are not strenuous.
The trail runs by a beautiful old home place evidence by the remaining chimney. This location make for a good break.
Site 74 is very large and adequate for both hikers and riders. Again, water is plentiful from Forney Creek.
The lakeshore trail winds its way up from site 74 across a of couple ridges to the intersection of the Whiteoak trail.
The signage is somewhat confusing however stay to the right and you'll hike over another ridge all along old haul roads/rail beds.
You'll have the choice of bypassing the tunnel of the road to no where or staying left and coming out at the end of the pavement and continuing through the tunnel to the trail head.
The total distance traveled was approximately 15 miles and was moderate in nature. Though the first two miles could take it toll on worn knees and hips.
It was awesome. My son and I hiked a total of 60 miles in 5 days. Forney Creek Trail was our last leg. It was brutal; loved it.
Went in April the creek was flowing strong and wide made for some challenging crossings. Camped at 70. Very scenic trail incredible experience. Started at Clingmans.
A nice hike with unexpected waterfalls.
Starting from Clingman's Dome it's a great summer hike. the elevation and shaded path is a nice break from the heat of the lower regions. When you step off Forney ridge trail the start of the Forney creek trail is rough. Rocks in the steep trail add difficulty but it's worth the effort. About 3 miles down the trail you reach camp site #68 (steel trap is the name of the site) you will find the cascades and several nice falls. In addition are the interesting remains of the logging days that once wrecked the forest. The forest has long since grown back. As a result of the difficulty of the trail it is not as worn as more accessible trails. A bonus is the great fly fishing the creek offers. Camping at #68, #69 and 70 is a real back county camping and fishing opportunity.