Troop 75

be prepared…….to have fun

Troop 75 - be prepared…….to have fun

CUMBERLAND TRAIL – Tennessee River Gorge Segment

CUMBERLAND TRAIL – Tennessee River Gorge Segment

Length: 32 miles;

rating: easy, moderate, difficult.

Location: Signal and Suck Creek mountains near the southern tip of the Cumberland range.

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Follow U.S. 127 to the town of Signal Mountain and follow the directional signs to Signal Point National Park parking area. Note that the National Park Service recently closed the Signal Point parking area to overnight parking. The trail starts about halfway between the parking area and the Tennessee River Gorge Overlook. The trail follows bluff tops and ridges 1,800 and 2,000 ft. above sea level, drops into ravines lush with hemlocks towering over tangled growths of laurel and rhododendron, and crosses Middle, Julia, and Suck creeks. The view from Edwards Point covers a long stretch of the “Grand Canyon of the Tennessee,” with historic Williams Island below on the left and the city of Chattanooga in the background. The full length of Raccoon Mountain rises across the river from Edwards Point. The Tennessee River Canyon at this point was the scene of Chickamauga Indian attacks on the state’s earliest white settlers traveling by flatboat to what is now Nashville. During the Civil War, soldiers signaled, via lookouts on the points or outcropping bluffs, from Signal Point to Edwards Point and so on down the canyon and around the bend to Bridgeport, Alabama. Two primitive campsites are located on the first 11 miles of the trail, and camping is permitted only at these sites. It is possible for backpackers to enjoy a one-way trip, stopping overnight at one of the campsites, if the backpackers arrange for someone to drop them off, or to meet them, at one of the parking areas. The National Park Service recently closed the Signal Point Parking area after 10pm, and vehicles will be impounded if left after 10pm. Fortunately, overnight parking at the trailhead in Prentice Cooper is permitted. It is difficult, if not impossible, to hike the 11 miles in one day because the trail crosses several rock fields. Day hikes of interest are from Signal Point National Park to Middle Creek with a side trip to Rainbow Falls, a mighty rumbler in wet weather. This jaunt takes about three hours; six to eight hours are required to hike round trip from Signal Point to Edwards Point or from Signal Point one way via Edwards Point to Tenn. 27. Between Edwards Point and Tenn. 27, the trail follows the tops of the bluffs some 2.5 miles with beautiful views of the Suck Creek gorge, then drops down to a campsite on North Suck Creek. At this point the trail continues across a 225-ft. swinging bridge over North Suck Creek to Tenn. 27. Starting on the Suck Creek Mountain side, look for the Prentice Cooper State Forest sign on Tenn. 27 and travel to the new parking lot near the fire tower. This section attracts many backpackers. It takes three to four hours to hike down to the roadside park on Suck Creek Road (Tenn. 27). Treats include vistas from high places, the Poplar Spring campsite (the water is potable), and abundant vegetation in interesting rock formations. Large jack-in-the-pulpits grow under the bluffs, and the purple rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) blooms here a full month earlier than the same species on Roan Mountain. An interesting side hike is available on a leg of the Cumberland Trail across Tenn. 27, starting at the roadside park (the present end of section 9). This leg consists of approximately 30 miles of two loops in Prentice Cooper State Forest. Pot Point Loop Trail overlooks the Tennessee River canyon at many points, and Mullins Cove Loop includes spectacular views of Mullins Cove in the canyon. Evan Means – Hiking Tennessee Trails

APPALACHIAN TRAIL-CLINGMANS DOME

APPALACHIAN TRAIL-CLINGMANS DOME TO SILERS BALD

This segment of the AT starts at the top of Clingmans Dome and follows along the knife-ridge boundary between North Carolina and Tennessee. It passes Double Spring Gap Shelter and continues to Silers Bald Shelter, providing spectacular views in all directions along the way.

Length: 4.8 miles.

Level of difficulty: Easy

Elevations: Start 6,640 feet; end 5,440 feel.

Map: USGS quads 165SW, Clingmans Dome; 157SE, Silers Bald.

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Finding the trailhead: To reach the park from Knoxville, take Interstate 40 east and exit onto Tennessee 66 at the signs for the park. Continue south on TN 66 through Sevierville, then join U.S. Highway 441 and pass through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. A Gatlinburg bypass will take you straight to the Sugarlands Visitor Center without passing through Gatlinburg. Continue on U.S. Highway 441 to Newfound Gap. Thrn on the Clingmans Dome Road and travel 7.1 miles to the end at the Forney Ridge parking area. On the left at the beginning of the paved walk to the observation tower you will see a Park Service board. To the immediate right of the board is the trailhead for the Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail, which is also a connector to the Forney Ridge Trail. Descend on this path for 0.1 mile to the Forney Ridge Trail junction. Thrn right to climb 0.5 mile to the junction with the AT on the crest of the ridge. You can also find the AT from the top of Clingmans Dome, after walking up the 0.5-mile paved path, and then turn left on the AT toward Silers Bald.

The hike: Clingmans Dome, at 6,643 feet, is not only the highest peak in Tennessee, but is also the highest peak along the entire 2,143 miles of the AT. Needless the say, the observation tower is a popular attraction, making parking difficult in peak season. So if you elect to catch the AT to Silers Bald from the top of Clingmans Dome, you will probably have to walk the fairly steep paved incline with hordes of people to reach the long spiral ramp to the dome. At the top of the paved incline where the ramp goes off to the right, if you continue straight ahead, you will see a small eroded trail, which will reveal a marker for the Appalachian Trail after you follow it a few yards. Walk left on the AT for 0.3 mile to the junction with the Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail, which carries a sign indicating that Forney Creek Trail (I mile) and Andrews Bald (I. 7 miles) are to the left, and Appalachian Trail (0.5 mile) is to the right. Oddly, this stretch of the Appalachian ‘frail doesn’t get much traffic, even in summer, and is a good trail year round, cool in summer and dry in winter. Since views from this trail surpass those from the dome observation tower, there seems little benefit in braving the crowds to the top of Clingmans Dome. The bypass trail, however, passes for some distance over a mostly dry streambed, which can get messy after a heavy rain. The dome itself was named for Thomas Lanier Clingman, who explored the region in the 1850s and later became a Senator and general in the Civil War. If you meet the AT from the bypass trail, in the spring you will see plenty of bluets where the trail ascends to the junction with the AT at 0.6 mile on the ridgecrest. Many of the Fraser firs in this area are dead, attacked by a parasitic aphid-like insect, the balsam woolly adelgid, in the 1960s. A rock outcropping near this junction offers spectacular view on both sides of the mountain, with the town of Gatlinburg to the north, Mt. LeConte to the northeast, and Forney Ridge and Welch Ridge to the south. To head for Silers Bald, turn left along the AT. The trail follows the Tennessee- North Carolina state line along a knife-edge ridge, with some sections windy and rocky and others sheltered. At 0.9 mile the trail passes through fir and spruce trees to a broad clearing (a partially reforested bald) known by many as “Little Bald.” The trail passes through clearings like this off and on all the way to Double Spring Gap, interspersed between wooded sections. In spring these clearings host numerous wildflowers, including bluets and trout lily. As I passed by Little Bald near sunset, I passed several photographers with tripods, who I assumed were going to be taking sunset pictures of the Smokies. It turns out that there is enough light here to photograph for a few hours after sunset. I was also surprised to learn that at least the section of this hike nearest to Clingmans Dome can be navigated by moonlight, because it follows the ridge for the most part and is exposed to night illumination. The trail drops to the right of the ridge and passes through a sheltered forest of yellow birch, with a carpet of mosses and ferns, and Rugel’s ragwort, a high-elevation plant with green and tan flowers and heart-shaped leaves. The trail continues to descend to the junction with the Goshen Prong ‘frail, which leads off to the right at 2.2 miles. This trail descends the Tennessee side of the mountains, leading to the Little River ‘frail in 7.7 miles and to Elkmont in 10.4 miles. The trail goes over a small rise and then descends for approximately 0.5 mile to Double Spring Gap. In June you will see Clinton’s lily blooming on this section of the trail, with its clusters of small white or yellow flowers on long stems. The Double Spring Gap Shelter is located in a small meadow and has twelve sleeping spaces. Water is available from a spring a few feet to the left in North Carolina. Beyond the shelter the trail ascends, and the forest changes abruptly from spruce and fir to American beech and yellow buckeye. The beech can be identified by its dense, dark foliage. This is actually the southern edge of the spruce-fir range, and apparently the beech at some point came to dominate in the lower elevations, crowding out the fir. You can see this easily from the shelter, where if you look behind the shelter to the right, you will see a spruce and fir forest, and to the left you will see American beech trees. The trail climbs through a beech forest from the shelter and reaches Jenkins Knob at 3.7 miles. This stretch of trail in May is in bloom with serviceberry. The trail passes through more beech gaps and through a section called “the narrows,” where the trail goes between relatively flat sections and rocky steep climbs, dropping off the top of the narrow knife-edge ridge at times, only to climb it again. At 4.2 miles the trail descends to the sign for the junction with the Welch Ridge Trail, which heads off to the left to meet Hazel Creek Trail in 1.8 miles, Jonas Creek Trail in 2.5 miles, and Bear Creek Trail in 6.5 miles. All three lead to Fontana Reservoir. Welch Ridge Trail also leads southwest to High Rocks in 7 miles, which provides another view from a rock outcropping. Hazel Creek Trail leads 14 miles down to Proctor on Fontana Lake, the site of a former logging town on Hazel Creek. From the junction bear right to make the final rocky and steep climb, complete with switchbacks and brambles, lasting 0.4 mile, to the top of Silers Bald. Silers Bald 15,607 feet) is named for Jesse Siler who once grazed cattle on the bald. This bald, like others, is rapidly being overgrown with beeches and other trees, now that grazing is no longer allowed in the park. The trail first comes out at a wide grassy area marked with a large rock bearing the AT sign. It then continues to the left through some beeches, and as you pass over the bald, you will pass through open grassy meadows with blueberries, blackberries, and meadow wildflowers. From Silers Bald you can see Mount Le Conte to the northeast and High Rocks to the southwest. A path to the right leads to a rocky spur that looks out over the valley of Fish Camp Prong on the Tennessee side. The last grassy spot on the bald contains gentians, goldenrods, and cinnamon ferns, and provides a dramatic long view to the west and southwest. The AT descends in 0.3 mile to the Silers Bald Shelter, located at the headwaters of Fish Camp Prong of the Little River. The shelter has twelve sleeping spaces, like the Double Spring Gap Shelter, and a spring on the Tennessee side. If you continue for 2.4 miles on the AT beyond Silers Bald, you will reach the junction with Miry Ridge Trail, which descends to connect with the Jakes Creek Trail into Elkmont. In 1966 more than 200 hikers took this route to protest a proposed transmountain road through this region. In the end, public opposition defeated the proposal. Eventually, if you continue to the west on the AT, you will cross over Thunderhead Mountain and pass through Spence Field and Russell Field and beyond ISee Hike 52). If you don’t want to go back the way you came, you can take one of the side trails off the AT and arrange for a shuttle pickup. – Kelly Roark – Hiking Tennessee

ABRAMS FALLS TRAIL

ABRAMS FALLS TRAIL

This wide trail climbs two ridges and follows Abrams Creek to Abrams Falls, a 20-foot fall into a large pool perfect for swimming and wading. The trail is popular among families with children or seniors.

Length: 2.5 miles one way.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Elevations: Start 1,700 feet; end 1,500 feet.

Maps: USGS quads 148SE, Cades Cove; 148SW, Calderwood.

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Finding the trailhead: Take U.S. Highway 321 from Marysville through Townsend and fork left, just after the Townsend Visitors Center, to enter GSMNP. Thrn right onto Laurel Creek Road to join the Cades Cove Loop and continue almost half of the way around the loop. Thrn right between signposts 10 and 11 at the sign for Abrams Falls, just before reaching the Cades Cove Visitors Center. Take the dirt road to the large parking lot for the trailhead.

The hike: This creek is named for Cherokee Chief Abram, who once lived on land now submerged under Lake Chilhowee, located on the western corner of the park. The trail starts by crossing a large footbridge over Abrams Creek. The stream here is a popular foot-cooler. To the right after the footbridge is a side trail to the Elijah Oliver house. Elijah Oliver was the son of the first white settler in Cades Cove in 1818, John Oliver. Another family dwelling, known as the John Oliver House, is the first house you see as you start the loop road. The trail begins to climb gradually to reach a height above the stream, then turns a corner to the right and descends again to follow the river. The trail stays level for a considerable distance. In this stretch children frequently depart the trail to enjoy the water while their parents wait patiently. The trail then climbs toward a rocky point of Cades Sandstone at the top of Arbutus Ridge, and switches back to the right and descends again to Abrams Creek. It switches back again to the left over a side creek on a log bridge and curves right to follow the creek again for a flat stretch. The trail then makes a final climb above Abrams Creek. It curves right at a point where you can hear the falls below you, then descends steeply to another log bridge over Wilson Branch. After crossing this bridge, the trail curves left to follow the creek on the other side. In a very short distance, another bridge appears to the left. Cross this bridge to follow the short spur trail to the 20-foot Abrams Falls. The pool at its base is 100 feet across and is a popular playground for children. Be careful in the water at Abrams Falls because the rocks are extremely slippery, and it is easy enough to catch the edge of a rock in a fall. Parents should probably escort small children across the faster part of the stream (and the slicker rocks) to the shallow sand bar at the center of the pool. From the turn onto the spur trail to the falls, the Abrams Falls Trail continues straight ahead. It winds along the bank of Abrams Creek for another 1. 7 miles until it connects with the Hatcher Mountain, Hannah Mountain, and Little Bottoms trails at a ford over Abrams Creek that is dangerous in high water. From its junction with the Abrams Falls Trail, the Little Bottoms Trail leads in another 2.3 miles to the Abrams Creek Campground, off the Foothills Parkway and U.S. Highway 129 at the extreme west end of GSMNP. – Kelly Roark – Hiking Tennessee

JOHN MUIR TRAIL (CNF TRAIL 152)

JOHN MUIR TRAIL (CNF TRAIL 152)

This trail, built by the Youth Conservation Corps, runs 6 miles along the north bank of Hiwassee River to the Apalachia Power Plant. Wild flowers are abundant in the spring. The trail climbs bluffs and continues along the river gorge, providing some nice river views, ending at Tennessee 68. This trail can be muddy in places after heavy rainfall .

Length: 20 miles; 6 miles for river section to power plant.

Degree of difficulty: Difficult; easy for river section.

Elevations: Start 600 feet; end 1,100 feet; high point 1,200 feet.

Map: USGS quads 133NW, McFarland; 133NE, Farner.

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Finding the trailhead: From the north take U.S. Highway 411 south through Etowah, then cross the Hiwassee River and continue 0.5 mile to make a left onto Tennessee 30. Take TN 30 for 5.7 miles and turn left onto Tennessee 315, crossing the Hiwassee River on the Reliance Bridge. Immediately after the bridge, take the first right onto Forest Road 108, which begins as a paved road and eventually becomes gravel. Follow FR 108 for 0.5 mile to the sign on the left for Cherokee National Forest Parking Loti Childers Creek and park here. The trailhead, marked with a white reflective silhouette of a hiker, is next to a Forest Service bulletin board. To reach other trailheads along the same trail, continue on FR 108 for 0.7 mile to Adam’s Store, a small gas station/s tore that also rents river rafts, and turn right at the store, continuing on FR 108. When the road forks, bear right. This gravel section of FR 108 leads to the Big Bend parking area 13 miles from the start ), the Towee Creek Boating Site, and finally to the Apalachia powerhouse 16 miles from the start).

The hike: The John Muir National Recreation Trail was created in 1972 through the efforts of the Youth Conservation Corps and the Senior Community Service Employment Program, but has never been completed. It was intended to run through the Cumberland Region from Kentucky to Georgia, following the original route taken by John Muir on his trek from Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida in 1867. IThe walk is described in Muir’s book, A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.) Another 48.6-mile portion begins at Pickett State Park and passes through a portion of the Big South Fork Natural Area. The John Muir Trail is also designated as a state scenic trail. The trail begins at a small footbridge across Childers Creek, then passes through a meadow toward the riverbank. After reaching the Hiwassee River, it follows the riverbank, with the bluff on your left. The first 3 miles of the trail are not the most challenging or pretty, but are an excellent area for viewing wildflowers and for bird watching in season. Also, they are designed to be accessible for older hikers. When I visited in April, the trail was recommended to me by a local with the comment, “there may be flowers, now,” followed by a concerned afterthought, “but now there might be snakes, too.” I didn’t find any snakes, but I did find a wonderful assortment of wildflowers. I stopped counting after seeing 25 varieties in the first 0.5 mile. Some of the more common ones found here are white dogwood, fire pink, columbine, stargrass, trillium squaw root, toothwort, bloodroot, white and yellow lilies, wild sorrel, dog hobble, fairy wand, little brown jug, wild ginger, rattlesnake plantain, and bishop’s cap. John Muir himself described his walk along the Hiwassee as “vinedraped and flowery as Eden.” The trail heads north away from the river at 1.5 miles, passing through large stands of hemlocks with rhododendron. It then passes through a marshy area and joins an old logging trail. At 3 miles it reaches the Big Bend parking area, located on FR 108, where you could park a car shuttle, if you were interested in no more than a relaxed 3-mile stroll along the river. The trail follows the river for the next 3 miles, also following the forest road to the Apalachia lit is actually spelled this way) Powerhouse, and it can get muddy in this section. At the powerhouse, 6 miles from the start, the trail passes below a suspension bridge, continuing along the north side of the river, which is the side opposite the power plant. Do not cross the bridge. The trail passes to the left of a large 50-foot-high rock outcropping at 6.7 miles. This area is also muddy under some conditions. After this, the trail climbs away from the main river as it skirts Big Rock Island. The next stretch, beginning at 7.2 miles, is challenging, with a series of nine switchbacks. The trail returns to the river, but then heads back into a forest of poplar, dogwood, hemlock, ash, ironwood, sycamore, buckeye, redbud, and cucumber magnolias. Another switchback to the left occurs at 8.8 miles, at Marker 152. Here a spur trail continues straight ahead to the river at a section called the “narrows,” where you can see some interesting rock formations caused by river erosion action. From Marker 152 the trail begins another series of switchbacks, as it climbs the side of the mountain, and provides some glimpses of the river several hundred feet below. The trail reaches the top of the bluffs at 11.2 miles and provides a spectacular view of the river. It then turns back down the bluffs with yet another series of switchbacks for the next 0.5 mile and reaches the bottom again at 11. 7 miles. It merges with another trail that follows Coker Creek to the Hiwassee River. Continuing on the John Muir Trail, you will almost immediately meet the Duckett Ridge Road, which you will follow down to Coker Creek and then to the left up the same creek, passing through a camping area. Beyond the camp site the Coker Creek Trail continues straight ahead, and John Muir Trail branches off to the right, crossing a bridge at Coker Creek. The trail continues into the forest, where you will again enjoy a variety of flowers in season, including mountain laurel, rhododendron, and flame azalea. At about 0.5 mile from the bridge, the trail meets the junction with the Unicoi Mountain Trail (Trail 83). which goes to the left up the ridge. An old road also continues along the gap behind the trail sign. The trail continues around to the right along an old roadbed, as shown by the John Muir trail marker, crossing a small streambed, and again climbs the side of the mountain in more switchbacks. The trail begins to descend another series of switchbacks at 13.6 miles, and at 14.5 miles it crosses a log footbridge. The trail reaches a waterfall at 15.4 miles and continues through the forest, following an old roadbed again. The trail in this section can be muddy and overgrown. The trail meets Tennessee 68 at 17.7 miles, at a point just south of mile marker 3. It crosses TN 68 and continues up the ridge through Millers Cove for another 1.15 miles to Forest Road 311 , crossing at 18.8 miles. It then crosses FR 311 and winds through rhododendron bottoms and climbs up pine-covered ridges to finally descend through a series of switchbacks to Brushy Creek, at County 37. Camping is permitted along the trail except the portion between Childer’s Creek parking area and the Apalachia powerhouse. There are several rock shelters and springs along the trail that lend themselves to camping. The Park Service warns that generally after rainy weather, hiking is less desirable. The section between the Towee boat launch and the powerhouse parking area becomes wet and swampy from December to mid-March, as well as the first mile of the section from the powerhouse upstream. During heavy rains, water released by the dam will rise above the river banks and flood the trail, forcing hikers to go around or turn back. Warm weather returns conditions to normal. – Kelly Roark –┬áHiking Tennessee

 

BIG FROG MOUNTAIN TRAIL (CNF TRAIL 64)

BIG FROG MOUNTAIN TRAIL (CNF TRAIL 64)

From this trail there are many outstanding views of the surrounding mountains, including the Cohutta Wilderness to the south and the Tennessee Valley to the west. Numerous possibilities also exist for loop trips and point-to-point trips.

Length: 5.6 miles.

Level of difficulty: Moderate.

Elevations: Start 2,120 feet; end 4,224 feet.

Map: USGS quad 126SE, Caney Creek.

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Finding the trailhead: The best approach to the trail is along the Ocoee River, site of the 1996 Olympics canoe and kayak competition. Follow U.S. Highway 64 along the river, either from Ducktown in the east or Cleveland and Ocoee in the west, to Ocoee Powerhouse 3. The powerhouse is on the south side of the river about 18.6 miles east of the US 64/411 intersection. Look for a bridge just upstream of the public rafting put-in and just downstream from the Olympic whitewater course. You’ll see a sign for Thunder Rock Campground at the junction. Cross the river, turn right, and drive through the powerhouse area. Then follow a left fork (Forest Road 45) up into the mountains and the intersection with Forest Road 221. TUrn right on FR 221 and drive about 0.25 mile to the trailhead on the left. It is marked, and there is a small parking area. (See map on page 192 for general hike location.) The hike: From U.S. Highway 411, just south of Ocoee, the mountain to the east appears, with a bit of imagination, to be a huge reclining frog, hence the name Big Frog Mountain. (Some think a large pup tent is the more appropriate reference.) The long, undulating summit ridge that supposedly forms the image is also the location of the Big Frog Trail. The trail is near the center of the Big Frog Wilderness and is the hub of one of the Cherokee National Forest’s best trail networks. Big Frog Trail, also known as the Peavine Ridge Trail, begins on an old logging road and climbs fairly steeply at first but then more gradually. Some evidence of logging to the left of the old road confirms recent losses in the ongoing environmental battles in the Big Frog area. One of the goals of environmentalists has been to stop timber harvesting between the Big Frog Wilderness and its perimeter roads, including FR 221. At 0.6 mile there is an old turnaround area, with another old road going to the left. Ignore this and instead continue on the old road to the right, which leads shortly to the Big Frog Mountain Wilderness boundary sign. At 0.7 mile the trail reaches the crest of Peavine Ridge, which then provides easy walking. Depending on the season and vegetation, expansive views to the east and west may be available from this point on to the summit. At 1.5 miles the old road goes to the left but the trail, now a more narrow foot trail, continues to the right. Just up the trail is the Rough Creek trailhead on the left. The walking continues to be easy to Low Gap at 2.4 miles. (Note that the trailhead is also known as Low Gap.) Trail junctions at Low Gap are the Big Creek Trail and the Yellow Stand Lead Trail. Water can often be found down and to the east from Low Gap. The reason for the name Low Gap is soon apparent as the trail now begins a more serious climb up to Chimney top Ridge, 900 feet above Low Gap. However, a series of well-graded switchbacks make the hiking easier and lead to the ridge and the junction with the Fork Ridge Trail at 3.7 miles. The Big Frog Trail turns right, the Fork Ridge Trail turns left, and straight ahead is the remote Valley of the East Fork of Rough Creek. The trail continues to ascend and at 3.7 miles begins to follow a narrow escarpment that drops precipitously to both sides. Sometimes the trail follows the very top of the escarpment, sometimes it swings off to the left or right. Sometimes the surface is jagged slabs of rock, but more often includes dry pine trees, briars, and bushes. The views are plentiful in many places, and especially at about 4.4 miles, along a rocky ridgecrest. At 4.5 miles the trail splits, but then rejoins and cuts sharply to the right of the crest along the side of a ridge. A rhododendron “tunnel” is just ahead and leads up to the long summit of Big Frog Mountain at 4.9 miles. The summit provides incredibly level hiking for another 0.5 mile to just below the high point at 5.6 miles. The trail ends here, but two other trails provide additional opportunities. The Wolf Ridge Trail heads right 4.5 miles down to Pace Gap and FR 221. The Licklog Ridge Trail turns left and ultimately back toward other trailheads on FR 221 or, on the intersecting Chestnut Mountain Trail, down toward the Cohutta Wilderness in Georgia. The high point of Big Frog Mountain is not at the trailhead. Instead, walk to the right from the trail’s end for about 60 yards to the 4,224-foot summit. It is well forested so this is not the best place for views except in the winter. From this point westward there is no higher mountain until the Rockies or the Big Bend in Texas. The summit was, in past times, the focal point of an annual “Ramp Tramp,” which involved hundreds of people hiking to the summit and cooking wild mountain onions, known as “ramps.” Jeeps were used in those days to get the supplies to the top. The summit was also once the site of a fire tower. Campers now use the open area where the tower was located. – Description by Wil Skelton

Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls (Pikeville, TN 37367-9803)

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Possible snow in winter months. Take your plastic sleds!! There are many trails to hike. Campsite water is iffy during the cold months (one works, next one doesn’t), but the bath houses are close and have a connection under sink. Take a garden hose! Bathrooms are warm and have hot water showers for men and women, but we will have to designate times for youth vs. adults. The hikes are great, but don’t miss the nature center. There are deer everywhere, even on a driving tour. Backpacking is available with two overnight loops. Also has a lodge, inn, and large swimming pool. Something for everyone.