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Smoky Mountains

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Smoky Mountains

Postby SouthernFried » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:52 am

Hello all,

Looking for must do day hikes in the Smoky Mountains. Going to be there for two days. Looking for uncrowded (if that's possible in June) semi-strenous day hikes with great vistas/waterfalls along the way or at the end. Have read up about trails starting at Newfound Gap but they seem like they may be rather crowded on a June weekend.

Interested in Mt. Leconte - I know it will be crowded but what's the best trail to take for a bit of solitude?

Any suggestions/advice is welcome! Thanks y'all!

-SF

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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby ajkagy » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:29 am

Leconte was always a favorite hike of mine. If you start fairly early you won't see hardly anybody on the trail.

I was suggest getting a car ride up to newfound gap, take the Appalachian trail up to the boulevard trail to the summit of mt leconte. This route is much less traveled, then take the alum cave trail back down. Also there are great views along the whole way since you're up on the higher ridge.
Also, trillium gap/bullhead and rainbow falls trails aren't as traveled as alum cave, but the vert will be much greater so these are leg burner trails.

Day hike ideas

Chimney Tops...short, steep, great views but can be crowded sometimes
Ramsey Cacades...waterfalls
Rainball falls and Grotto falls...you could make a nice loop out of these
Andrews Bald...awesome views, short and also has a lot of people on it.
Charlie's Bunion and farther on the Appalachian trail...great views, a bit less traveled after charlie's bunion
Cade's Cove has a ton of great day hikes up to the higher ridges.
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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby mfariss44 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:35 am

Not sure if it is close by but I have been to these falls on the Horsepasture River and they were pretty cool. Turtleback Falls is a short natural water slide! http://www.gowaterfalling.com/waterfalls/turtleback.shtml

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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby wncpisgah » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:55 am

Will you be staying on the TN side or NC side of the park?

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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby SouthernFried » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:05 pm

wncpisgah wrote:Will you be staying on the TN side or NC side of the park?



We will be staying on the TN side of the park.

Thanks for the suggestions so far y'all. Makes me more excited to get this trip started.

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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby SouthernFried » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:11 pm

ajkagy wrote:Leconte was always a favorite hike of mine. If you start fairly early you won't see hardly anybody on the trail.

I was suggest getting a car ride up to newfound gap, take the Appalachian trail up to the boulevard trail to the summit of mt leconte. This route is much less traveled, then take the alum cave trail back down. Also there are great views along the whole way since you're up on the higher ridge.
Also, trillium gap/bullhead and rainbow falls trails aren't as traveled as alum cave, but the vert will be much greater so these are leg burner trails.

Day hike ideas

Chimney Tops...short, steep, great views but can be crowded sometimes
Ramsey Cacades...waterfalls
Rainball falls and Grotto falls...you could make a nice loop out of these
Andrews Bald...awesome views, short and also has a lot of people on it.
Charlie's Bunion and farther on the Appalachian trail...great views, a bit less traveled after charlie's bunion
Cade's Cove has a ton of great day hikes up to the higher ridges.


Thanks for the suggestions. Question starting Leconte in the am...what is early to avoid the crowds? 6? 7? 8? Please say 8 [-o<

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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby TravelingMatt » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:48 pm

Bote Mountain Trail to AT at Spence Field, then north (east) on AT as far as you like. Thunderhead Mountain is a good objective. Very pretty, ridgewalk has nice views and uncrowded, even on the AT stretch. A couple different trailheads can be used.

It's on the NC side, but the Hemphill Bald Loop gives different views from what you get in most of the park and you should have it to yourself.

I agree the AT/Boulevard/Alum Cave combo is the best way do LeConte if you can car spot. If you're doing an out-and-back Alum Cave you should be OK starting by 8 to avoid most of the crowds on the way up. Trailhead to lodge should take about 2 hours (my best is 1:40). Will be crowded on the way down.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby Cruiser » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:52 pm

I'll second Thunderhead Mountain (and Rocky Top) as being a great spot to check out. Gregory Bald and Parson Bald are pretty cool and a little less traveled IIRC. Shuckstack from Fontana Dam would be a fun one too but you'd more than likely see a good many folks along the AT there. Mt. Sterling is probably kind of a haul for you since it's at the far Eastern end, but the area sees a lot less traffic than a most of the park and the views from the old fire tower up there are pretty slick.
Where ever you are... There you are.

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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby claguire » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:57 pm

8 is early enough they are not really early risers down their. If your climbing LeConte you really can't take a bad route. If your goal is to see as much as posible then I would use Rainbow falls trail and Trillium Gap trail. You get to visit the top and 2 waterfalls not a bad day. Also the crowds are almost nill past each waterfall. I have been on all the trails leading up or down that mountain.

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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby ajkagy » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:19 pm

claguire wrote:8 is early enough they are not really early risers down their. If your climbing LeConte you really can't take a bad route. If your goal is to see as much as posible then I would use Rainbow falls trail and Trillium Gap trail. You get to visit the top and 2 waterfalls not a bad day. Also the crowds are almost nill past each waterfall. I have been on all the trails leading up or down that mountain.


+1 if you start early even alum cave trail doesn't have much traffic on it, you'll most likely just see more people when you're on your way down. Love smoky mtn national park!
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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby Cruiser » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:25 pm

^^^ Same here. I live in Colorado and I can hike great trails all over the state but I still miss backpacking in GSMNP. Just reading this thread makes me all nostalgic.
Where ever you are... There you are.

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Re: Smoky Mountains

Postby TravelingMatt » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:40 pm

Cruiser wrote:Mt. Sterling is probably kind of a haul for you since it's at the far Eastern end, but the area sees a lot less traffic than a most of the park and the views from the old fire tower up there are pretty slick.


I recall the drive to Sterling being longer than the hike. Another place like that is Max Patch, which is a great area to just wander around.

The best guidebook is called "Hiking Trails of the Smokies", aka The Little Brown Book. It's not the easiest thing to find; hard to buy online, but the visitor centers and area bookstores and outdoor stores should sell it.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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