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Great Smoky Mountains

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Great Smoky Mountains

Page Type: Area/Range

Location: North Carolina/Tennessee, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 35.61100°N / 83.425°W

Object Title: Great Smoky Mountains

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 6643 ft / 2025 m

 

Page By: dwhike, BobSmith

Created/Edited: Jul 26, 2006 / Dec 9, 2010

Object ID: 210493

Hits: 47108 

Page Score: 98.23%  - 79 Votes 

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The Smokies


The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the highest ranges in Eastern America and easily the most visited. The range includes 25 peaks over 6000’, 12 of which are included on the South Beyond 6000 list. Dozens more top out above 5000’. The range is aligned in a general east-to-west direction, rising from the Pigeon River gorge and extending over 70 miles to the Little Tennessee River. The Appalachian Trail follows the spine of the range, crossing peaks such as Thunderhead Mt.(5527’) , Silers Bald(5607’), Clingmans Dome(6643’) , Mt. Collins(6188’) , Mt. Kephart(6217’) , Charlies Bunion(5376’) , Tri-Corner Knob(6120’) , Mt. Guyot(6621’) , Old Black(6370’) , and Mt. Cammerer(4928’) along the way. The AT logs 71.4 miles traversing the range and spends almost half (34 miles) of that distance above 5000’. This page has been created to give you an idea of what this range offers.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created in 1934 and now includes around 522,000 acres of some of the most rugged high mountain wilderness in eastern America. Around 9,000,000 people visit the park in a given year. That may be enough to keep most demo phobic backpackers away but consider the following facts…

In a recent survey conducted by the park service only 44% stated their purpose for visiting the Smokies was for a day hike, only 12% stated they were there to camp, and only 2% said they intended to use backcountry campsites or shelters. This means less than half the people who visit the park even intend to get out of their vehicles and 98% would wander no farther than their next meal away from a trailhead!!! To put this in perspective, out of the 24,000-ish daily visitors to the park, only about 450 are in the backcountry! Needless to say, the 400,000 or so acres in the park away from the roads combined with 600+ miles of trails should provide those 450 people plenty of alone time.

The Nature of the Smokies...


Books could, and have been written about the rich natural diversity of the Smoky Mountains. Their mid-latitude location combined with elevations that range from 840' at Abrams Creek to 6643' at the summit of Clingmans Dome creates one of the most complex ecosystems in America. In fact, the park has been recognized as as an International Biosphere Preserve.

The Great Smoky Mountains are home to 65 species of mammal, the most widely advertised is the Black Bear. There are around 600 bear in the park so proper food storage is always a must. Another popular resident of the Smokies, just recently re-introduced, is the Elk. Elk once roamed all over the Southern Appalachians but were killed off by the mid 19th Century. In 2001 the Park Service released 24 Elk in the Cataloochee Valley with more transported in the following years. From what I have heard it has been a stunning success. Other animals that are common include, but are not limited to, deer, beaver, raccoons, squirrels, opossums, skunks, snakes, fox, otter, rabbits, and even wild hogs!

The Great Smoky Mountains most incredible feature is its plant-life. According to the Park Service website the mountians are home to over 5500 known species of plant! There are more types of plant life in the 815-ish square miles of the park than on the entire continent of Europe!!! Taking a walk from one of the lower campgrounds to the ridgetop is the ecological equivalent of traveling from Georgia to Maine! On top of it all the Smokies are home to the greatest concentration of old-growth forest in the east. About 25% of the existing forest is original growth. One of the best places experience this is in the eastern part of the park at Half Acre Ridge , listed below.

Unfortunately, this wealth of biodiversity is very fragile. Numerous diseases and pests(i.e. bugs and humans) have and still do take their toll. Two of the greatest concerns right now are air pollution and the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, whose work you can see in the immense "ghost forests" atop the Smokies highest peaks. To learn more about these issues you can visit here.

Also, another of the Smoky Mountains most beautiful natural features is its cascades and waterfalls. The mountains are home to around 70 named falls and countless other small cascades. A couple of my personal favorites are "The Place of a Thousand Drips" and the "Ramsay Cascades." You can find a wealth of knowledge by visiting NCWaterfalls.com's Great Smoky Mountains page.

The Peaks


There are just too many peaks in the Smoky Mountains to give descriptions on each. What I will try to do is list those included on the South Beyond 6000 list and a few others of the lesser but more well-known in the park as they are added to Summitpost. Also, surprisingly, many of these peaks do not have trails accessing the summits. For more info on how to reach them visit the Carolina Mountain Club’s SB6K - Smoky Mountain page here.

6000' Peaks

Clingmans Dome

6643'
Clingmans Dome as seen from...
 
Highest peak in the Smokies and probably the most crowded. Can be reached by road and short summit trail. On the AT 7.7 miles south of Newfound Gap.

Mt. Guyot

6621'
One of the great views of the...
 
2nd highest peak in the Smokies. The AT passes the summit ¼ mile to the west and a tough bushwhack is required to reach the summit. Guyot is about 16.6 miles from both Newfound Gap and Big Creek . It can also be reached by ascending via the Snake Den Ridge and Appalachian Trails from Cosby Campground .

Mt. LeConte

6593'
Mt. LeConte towers nearly a...
 
Third highest peak in the Smokies. Numerous trails access the summit area which houses the LeConte Lodge. The summit is comprised of four peaks the highest of which is called, appropriately, High Top.

Mt. Chapman

6417'
The AT passes the summit just to the east, requiring a short bushwhack. It is located 14.5 miles from Newfound Gap.

Old Black

6370'
Old Black
 
As with many of the 6000-footers the AT does not travel over the summit, passing it to the west. A short bushwhack is required. The summit is 14.5 miles from the Big Creek area via the AT.

Luftee Knob

6234'
Luftee Knob NC
 
One of only three 6000-footers not along the AT, it is most easily accessed from Balsam Mountain Gap Road and then a 7.1 mile hike via the Balsam Mountain Trail. Unfortunately no trail accesses the summit and it is a tough bushwhack. Also, make sure you head for the correct peak; the south summit is the highest.

Mt. Kephart

6217'
10/23/05.view from jump off...
 
Kephart is reached by heading north on the AT 2.8 miles to The Boulevard, turning onto The Boulevard briefly, then taking a right onto the unnamed summit spur. The summit is tree-covered and viewless but a short distance further is a place called the Jumpoff with spectacular views to the north and west.

Mt. Collins

6188'
Mount Collins, from an...
 
Located along perhaps the busiest section of the AT in the park, Collins is only 4.7 miles south of Newfound Gap or 3 miles north of Clingmans Dome.

Marks Knob

6169'
The Lost Trail
 
A hard one to get to. You have your choice of hiking 16.5 miles from Newfound Gap via the AT and Balsam Mountain Trail or 9.3 miles up the Balsam Mountain Trail from Balsam Mountain Gap Rd . Either way from the trail it is another 1.5 mile bushwhack to reach the summit.

Big Cataloochee

6155'
Big Cataloochee
 
One of only three 6000’ peaks not along the AT. It is reached by ascending 4.3 miles via the Balsam Mountain Trail from Balsam Mountain Gap Road . Then, it’s about a 1 mile bushwhack to the summit.

Tri-Corner Knob

6120'
A vertical twin of neighboring Mt. Yonaguska, you must hike one or the other to claim an ascent on the SB6K list. A short bushwhack from the Tri-Corner Knob Shelter , 15.6 miles from Newfound Gap via the AT, is required.

Mt. Seqouyah

6003'
Barely making the list, Sequoyah is thankfully easy to get to…if you don’t mind a long hike. The AT crosses the summit 13.1 miles from Newfound Gap.


Other Peaks

The peaks listed here are those currently with pages at Summitpost. I will try to keep this updated if more are added.

Inadu Knob

5925'
At Maddron Bald.
 
A beautiful peak located just north of higher Old Black (see above). It can be most easily reached via a 5.3 mile hike up the Snake Den Ridge Trail from Cosby Campground.

Andrews Bald

5920'
In the clouds
 
Located 1.8 miles south of the Clingmans Dome Parking Area. A beautiful “bald” with amazing views. Because of these reasons it can be busy.

Mt. Sterling

5842'
This view of Mount Sterling...
 
Not a 6000-footer but still has one of the finest views in the Smokies. Located at the easternmost end of the park. It is most easily climbed from Mt. Sterling Gap, following its namesake trail 1.8 miles to the summit.

Silers Bald

5607'
Silers Bald-- Fern Knob View
 
A nice peak about 5 miles west of Clingmans Dome via the AT. Don't hike here for the views, though there are some nice ones. Hike Silers to appreciate the solitude and the simple things the Smokies have to offer. As far as avoiding the tourists at the Clingmans Dome Parking Lot...forget the deoderant at home and they'll leave you all alone:)

Charlies Bunion

5565'
10/23/05...Charles Bunion
 
Easily one of the most beautiful spots in the Smoky Mountains. Its close enough to Newfound Gap(4.4 miles) to do as a day hike but far enough to loose most(note I said most) of the crowds. Just GO TO THIS ONE!

Thunderhead Mountain

5527'
Rocky Top
 
Located on the AT this is the highest peak in the west end of the park. Thunderhead is a heath bald with no views from the summit but there are many stunning overlooks nearby. Makes for a great day-hike from Cades Cove via Anthony Creek/Bote Mountain Trails and then a short bit north on the AT.

Cosby, Ross, & Camel Hump Knobs

5200'
Final Approach to Cosby Knob
 
These three knobs are located along the AT about halfway between Mt. Cammerer and Tricorner Knob. Though unremarkable on their own these peaks still offer some great views along a quieter section of the Appalachian Trail. Combined with nearby Inadu Knob, a trip over them makes for a nice dayhike loop from Cosby Campground .

Nettle Creek Bald

<> 5160'
Orange Mushrooms Near Thomas Divide Trail
 
Relatively unknown (I hadn't heard of it) due to the fact that the beauty here is more subtle. A short day hike off US-441, what the peak lacks in sweeping views it more than makes up for in botanical variety. A good hike for the true nature-lover

Maddron Bald

5100'
Late Fall Color on Maddron Bald Trail
 
Main access is from Cosby Campground . Beautiful views from the top but the highlight of this peak is the virgin forest of Albright Grove. Located just off the Maddron Bald Trail, here you can wander through impressive stands of giant Poplars, Maples, and Hemlocks, among others.

Gregory Bald

4949'
Looking down into Cades Cove...
 
A traditional southern bald near the western end of the Smokies. It is less visited than most peaks in the Smokies and has beautiful views.

Mt. Cammerer

4928'
Tower Full View
 
Proves the adage, “Bigger isn’t always better.” Its 65-year old lookout tower offers amazing views. You can reach it from three directions. From Cosby Campground , to the west, it’s 5.2 miles via the Low Gap Trail and the AT. From the Big Creek area , to the east, it’s a 4.4 mile ascent via the Chestnut Branch Trail and the AT. The distances aren’t great but from either way you’ll climb almost 3000’.

Dripping Spring Mt.

4801'
View from Slopes of Dripping Spring Mountain
 
A peak to "get away from it all." The views from this forested, trailless peak are non-existent but, more importantly perhaps, so are the crowds. There are some limited views to be had but mostly this is just a great place to go for a nice walk in the woods. A good day hike from the Elkmont area.

Chimney Tops

4700'
A view of Chimney tops from...
 
A contender for busiest peak in the Smokies. Only a 2-mile hike from US-441 via the Chimney Tops Trail. Views are incredible but be prepared to share them with a dozen or more people.

Cove Mountain

4150'
Cove Mountain
 
Located along the northwest border of the park, one of the most popular routes to this peak is past beautiful Laurel Falls. During summer the crowds at Laurel Falls can be nearly unbearable but push on past the falls and things should quiet down considerably. Old growth forests mixed with a dizzying variety of accompanying flora are highlights of this hike.

Half Acre Ridge

3900'
Into the grove of ancient...
 
Part of the Cataloochee Divide at the far eastern end of the Smokies. Home to one of the finest areas of old growth forest in eastern America. Elk are also found here.


Trails


Great Smoky Mountains National Park has something on the order of 800+ miles of trails. I won’t try to list all of them here but I’ll hit the major ones. To help locate the trails listed below I suggest downloading the NPS Trail Map .

The Appalachian Trail follows the spine of the Smokies for 71.4 miles. It is, therefore, the workhorse of the Smoky Mountains. It enters the park at Fontana Dam and spends the next 7-ish miles climbing to the ridge at Doe Knob (4520’). From here it follows the spine of the Smokies, spending most of its time at elevations in excess of 5000’, reaching busy Newfound Gap at mile 37.4 and dropping from Mt Cammerer (4928’) to Davenport Gap near I-40 30-miles later. It is one of the premier stretches on the entire AT.






Twenty-Seven Trails access the AT on its trip through the Smokies. From south-to-north they are…

Trail Trailhead Length Distance to Fontana Distance to Newfound Gap
Lost Cove Lakeshore Trail 2.7 miles 3.7 miles 33.5 miles
Twentymile Twentymile Ranger Station off NC-28 5.0 miles 3.7 miles 33.5 miles
Gregory Bald Parson Branch Rd. 7.3 miles 6.8 miles 30.4 miles
Russell Field Anthony Creek Trail from Cades Cove 3.5 miles 11.7 miles 25.5 miles
Eagle Creek Lakeshore Trail 8.9 miles 14.3 miles 22.9 miles
Bote Mountain Laurel Creek Rd. 6.9 miles 14.3 miles 22.9 miles
Jenkins Ridge Hazel Creek Trail from Lakeshore Trail 8.9 miles 14.9 miles 22.3 miles
Greenbrier Ridge Prong Trail from Middle Prong Rd. 4.2 miles 20.7 miles 16.5 miles
Miry Ridge Jakes Creek Trail from Elkmont Campground 5.0 miles 23.1 miles 14.1 miles
Welch Ridge Bear Creek Trail from Lakeshore Trail 7.3 miles 24.8 miles 12.4 miles
Goshen Prong Little River Trail from Elkmont Campground 7.6 miles 27.3 miles 9.9 miles
Forney Ridge Springhouse Branch Trail from Noland Creek Trail from Lakeshore Trail 5.6 miles 29.2 miles 8.0 miles
Clingmans Dome By-Pass Forney Ridge Trail from Clingmans Dome Parking Area 0.5 miles 29.2 miles 8.0 miles
Clingmans Dome Clingmans Dome Parking Area 0.5 miles 29.2 miles 8.0 miles
Sugarland Mountain Little River Road 11.9 miles 32.7 miles 4.5 miles
Road Prong Chimney Tops Trail from US-441 2.4 miles 35.5 miles 1.7 miles

Trail Trailhead Length Distance to I-40 Distance to Newfound Gap
Sweat Heifer Creek Kephart Prong Trail from US-441 3.7 miles 28.7 miles 1.7 miles
The Boulevard Mount LeConte 5.4 miles 27.7 miles 2.7 miles
Dry Sluice Gap Bradley Fork Trail from Smokemont Campground 4.2 miles 26.0 miles 4.4 miles
Hughes Ridge Chasteen Creek Trail 5.0 miles 21.0 miles 10.4 miles
Balsam Mountain Balsam Mountain Gap Rd. 10.1 miles 15.8 miles 15.6 miles
Snake Den Ridge Cosby Campground 5.3 miles 12.1 miles 19.3 miles
Camel Gap Gunter Fork Trail from Big Creek Campground 4.7 miles 9.8 miles 21.6 miles
Low Gap Cosby Campground or Big Creek Trail from Big Creek Campground 5.4 miles 7.4 miles 24.0 miles
Mt. Cammerer Mt. Cammerer 0.6 miles 5.3 miles 26.1 miles
Lower Mt. Cammerer Cosby Campground 7.5 miles 3.0 miles 28.4 miles
Chestnut Branch Big Creek Ranger Station 2.1 miles 2.0 miles 29.4 miles


Worth mentioning also is the Lakeshore Trail . This trail never gains the ridge but is a trailhead for numerous trails in the western half of the park. The trail is 35 miles long and follows the north shore of Fontana Lake from Lakeview Drive to the Fontana Dam area. Despite its name it very rarely gets near the lake. It is one of the newer trails in the park and not as well used, which may be attractive to some.

Getting There & Roads



You can download the NPS road map here.


  • US-441 bisects the park, running north-to-south from Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC. It is the interstate of the Smoky Mountains and in any season can see traffic jams miles long. The best way to beat this is by heading out early or just avoiding it altogether.

The rest of the roads in the National Park tend to stick to the edges; counter-clockwise from the Gatlinburg area they are:

  • The Little River/Laurel Creek Road along with the Cades Cove Loop in the northwest section of the park is probably the second-worst in terms of traffic. Numerous trails leave this road heading south for the main ridge. Elkmont and Cades Cove Campgrouds are located along these roads.

  • Two dirt roads provide an exit from the Cades Cove Loop. Rich Mountain Road winds its way north out of the valley and the park to Townsend, TN. The other road, Parsons Branch, leaves the Cades Cove Loop at about its halfway point. Few trails are located along it but it is the only road to give any trail access in the western end of the Smoky Mountains.

  • US129/NC115 and NC28 run along the southwest border of the park. These roads serve as the exit point for the above-mentioned Parsons Branch Road as well as access the Appalachian Trail at the Fontana Dam area.

  • Access to the other end of Fontana Lake as well as the Deep Creek area on the south side of the park is found along Lakeshore Dive and Deep Creek Road. These roads both head out of Bryson City, NC.

  • The Blue Ridge Parkway has its southern terminus at US-441 just inside the park north of Cherokee, NC. There is no trail access from the parkway. However, the Balsam Mountain Road enters the park from the Blue Ridge Parkway giving access to one of the nicer(I think) drive-in campgrounds in the Smoky Mountains, Balsam Mountain Campground . Just north of the campground entrance the Balsam Mountain Road becomes the one-way, dirt Balsam Mountain Gap Road. This road, while being very scenic, also gives numerous trail access points in the southeastern half of the park. The road becomes Straight Fork Road near its bottom end before reaching pavement again in the Big Cove area.

  • The Cove Creek Mountain and Mt. Sterling Roads connect Cove Creek, NC with TN-32. The roads serve as access to the Cataloochee area and campground as well as giving trail access at numerous points as it passes over the far eastern end of the Smoky Mountain ridge.

  • TN32 along with US321/TN73 follow the northeastern border of the park connecting I-40 with Gatlinburg, TN. Numerous trails leave from side roads off the main route, the most notable gives access to Cosby Campground .

Campgrounds & Shelters


The 114 backcountry campsites and shelters are your only choice for staying overnight in the backcountry of the Smokies. Camping elsewhere is prohibited. To stay in the backcountry you also need a free permit which you can obtain at just about any Ranger Station or Visitors Center.

  • The only choice for backcountry accommodations directly on the Appalachian Trail, other than site #113(see below), is in one of 12 shelters. Reservations must be made to use these shelters and can only be made up to 30 days in advance. Visit the Great Smoky Mountain NP Camping Page for more info.




AT Shelters – South of Newfound Gap...
Shelter Elevation Capacity Distance to
Newfound Gap
Nearby Peaks/Trails
Mollies Ridge 4570' 12 29.7 miles Gregory Bald(6 miles)
Russell Field 4360' 14 25.5 miles at Russell Field Trail; 5 miles S of Thunderhead Mt.
Spence Field 4900' 12 24.3 miles Bote Creek/Eagle Creek Trails; 2 miles S of Thunderhead Mt.
Derrick Knob 4890' 12 18.0 miles Greenbrier Ridge Trail
Silers Bald 5460' 12 12.5 miles Welch Ridge Trail; 4.5 miles S of Clingmans Dome
Double Spring Gap 5507' 12 10.8 miles Goshen Prong Trail; 2.6 miles S of Clingmans Dome
Mt. Collins 5870' 12 4.5 miles Sugarland Mountain Trail just N of Mt. Collins

AT Shelters – South of Newfound Gap...
Shelter Elevation Capacity Distance to
Newfound Gap
Nearby Peaks/Trails
Icewater Spring 5920' 12 3.0 miles The Boulevard, nearby are Mt. Kephart & Charlies Bunion ;
Mt. LeConte is 5.5 miles N
Pecks Corner 5280' 12 10.4 miles Hughs Ridge Trail; 2.7 miles N to Mt. Sequoyah ,
4.1 miles N to Mt. Chapman
Tri-Corner Knob 5920' 12 15.6 miles Balsam Gap Trail; aneasy day hike from all the following:
Mt. Chapman , Marks Knob , Tri-Corner Knob , Mt. Guyot ,
Old Black , Inadu Knob , and Luftee Knob
Cosby Knob 4700' 12 23.3 miles About midway between Low Gap and Camel Gap Trails;
Just under 4 miles to both Mt. Cammerer & Inadu Knob
Davenport Gap 2600' 12 30.4 miles Just S of Chestnut Branch Trail;
About 2.5 miles from Mt. Cammerer

Shelters not on the AT...
Shelter Elevation Capacity Trail Location Nearby Peaks
Mt. LeConte 6440' 12 The Boulevard Just below summit of Mt. LeConte
Kephart 3900' 14 Sweat Heifer/Grassy Branch/Kephart Prong Trails Within 4 miles of both Mt. Kephart & Charlies Bunion
Laurel Gap 5600' 14 Balsam Mountain & Mt. Sterling Trails Next to Big Cataloochee and within 3 miles of Luftee Knob



Below is a list of the backcountry campsites in the Great Smoky Mountains. Visit the Great Smoky Mountain NP Camping Page for more info. Campsites where reservations are required are marked “Yes.” To help locate the campsites listed below I suggest downloading the NPS Trail Map .









Backcountry Campsites North of the AT…

Campground Site # Elevation Reservations
Required?
Comments/Location
Ace Gap #7 1680' No 2 sites; Ace Gap Trail 4.5 miles from Rich Mountain Road
Anthony Creek #9 3200' Yes Large camp; Anthony Creek Trail 2.9 miles from Cades Cove Campground
Beard Cane #11 1530' No Small camp; Beard Cane Trail 6.5 miles from Cades Cove Loop
Birch Spring Gap #113 3680' Yes 6 sites, formerly a shelter; only campsite on AT, 4.6 miles from Fontana Dam
Camp Rock #23 3200' Yes 6 sites; Goshen Prong Trail 4.4 miles from AT just N of Double Spring Gap
Cane Creek #2 1320' No Seldom used; Cane Creek Trail 3.8 miles from Abrams Creek Campground
Cooper Road #1 1200' No Accommodates 10; Cooper Road Trail 1.6 miles from Abrams Creek Campground
Dalton Branch #95 2360' No Wolf Ridge Trail 2.0 miles from Twentymile Ranger Station
Dripping Spring Mountain #26 4400' No Miry Ridge Trail 3.1 miles from AT at Cold Spring Knob
Flint Gap #14 2050' No Hannah Mountain Trail 4.3 miles from Parsons Branch Road
Forge Creek #12 2600' No Gregory Ridge Trail 1.7 miles from Parsons Branch Road
Gilliland Creek #35 2680' No 5 sites; Lower Mt Cammerer Trail 3.3 miles from Cosby Campground or 4.2 miles from the AT just N of Mt. Cammerer
Hesse Creek #3 1360' No Remote, along Beard Cane Trail 6.2 miles from Rich Mountain Rd
Injun Creek #32 2280' No Grapeyard Ridge Trail 3.2 miles from Greenbrier Rd
Kelly Gap #4 1930' No 4 sites; Ace Gap Trail 2.3 miles from Rich Mountain Rd
King Branch #20 2520' No 5 sites; Meigs Mountain Trail 2.3 miles from Elkmont Campground
Ledbetter Ridge #10 3000' Yes 2 sites; Russell Field Trail 2.4 miles from Cades Cove or 2.7 miles from the AT at Russell Field
Little Bottoms #17 1240' No Little Bottoms Trail 2.5 miles from Abrams Creek Campground
Lower Jakes Gap #27 3520' No 4 sites; Jakes Creek Trail 2.6 miles from Jakes Creek Rd
Marks Cove #28 3490' No 10 sites; Lynn Camp Prong Trail 4.4 miles from the AT at Cold Spring Knob
Medicine Branch Bluff #21 3780' No 3 sites; Sugarland Mountain Trail 7.9 miles from Little River Rd
Otter Creek #28 4560' Yes 3 sites; Maddron Bald Trail 2.3 miles from the AT at Inadu Knob
Porters Flat #31 3400' No Accommodates 15; end of Porters Creek Trail 4.6 miles from Greenbrier Rd
Rabbit Creek #15 1550' No Rabbit Creek Trail 4.1 miles from Abrams Falls Trailhead on Cades Cove Loop
Rich Mountain #5 3400' No Grave Gap Trail 1.9 miles from Rich Mountain Rd
Rough Creek #24 2860' Yes Accommodates 15; Little River Trail 4.4 miles from Elkmont
Scott Gap #16 1700' No Hannah Mountain Trail 2.7 miles from Abrams Creek area
Settlers Camp #33 1960' No Settlers Trail approx. 8 miles from Greenbrier Rd
Sheep Pen Gap #13 4640' Yes Wolf Ridge Trail 6.8 miles from Twentymile Ranger Station. Just below Gregory Bald
Sugar Cove #34 3240' No Accommodates 15; Gabes Mountain Trail 4.8 miles from Cosby area
Three Forks #30 3400' No Accommodates 15; end of Little River Trail 6.2 miles from Elkmont
Turkeypen Ridge #6 3400' No 2 sites; Scott Mountain Trail 2.3 miles from Cades Cove Loop Rd
Twentymile Creek #93 1880' No Twentymile Trail 1.8 miles from Twentymile Ranger Station
Upper Flats #92 2520' No Long Hungry Ridge Trail 4.2 miles from Twentymile Ranger Station or 3.0 miles from the AT at Sassafras Gap
Upper Henderson #19 2880' No 3 sites; Meigs Mountain Trail 4.6 miles from road to Elkmont
West Prong #18 1600' No 5 sites; West Prong Trail 2.1 miles from Tremont Rd or 1.9 miles from Laurel Creek Rd


Backcountry Campsites South of the AT…

Campground Site # Elevation Reservations
Required?
Comments/Location
Bald Creek #61 3560' Yes Noland Creek Trail 5.7 miles from Clingmans Dome Rd
Bear Pen Branch #65 2040' No Noland Creek Trail 1.3 miles from Lakeview Drive
Big Hemlock #40 3100' No Rough Fork Trail 1.5 miles from Cataloochee Road
Big Walnut #97 2400' No Eagle Creek Trail 4.3 miles from the AT at Spence Field Shelter
Bone Valley #83 2280' Yes Accommodates 20; Hazel Creek Trail 9.7 miles from the AT just north of Spence Field Shelter
Bryson Place #57 2360' Yes Deep Creek Trail 6.0 miles from Deep Creek area
Bumgardner Branch #60 2120' No Deep Creek Trail 2.5 miles from Deep Creek area
Burnt Spruce #56 2405' No Deep Creek Trail 6.5 miles from Deep Creek area
Cabin Flats #49 3060' No 5 sites; Cabin Flats Trail 4.1 miles from Smokemont
Caldwell Fork #41 3360' No Caldwell Fork Trail about 5 miles from Cataloochee
Calhoun #82 2720' No Hazel Creek Trail 6.4 miles from the AT at Silers Bald
Chambers Creek #98 1720' No Lakeshore Trail 9.6 miles from Lakeview Drive trailhead
Double Island #78 1720' No On island in Fontana Lake; Boat access only
Eagle Creek Island #96 2880' No 4 sites; on island in Eagle Creek; Eagle Creek Trail 8.7 miles from Fontana Dam or 6.3 miles from the AT at Spence Field
Enloe Creek #47 3620' Yes Enloe Creek Trail about 8 miles from Smokemont
Forney CCC #71 2180' Yes Accommodates 12; Forney Creek Trail 9 miles down from the Clingmans Dome area
Goldmine Branch #67 1840' No Goldmine Loop Trail 1.5 miles from end of Lakeview Drive
Gunter Branch #72 1720' No Boat Access only from Fontana Lake
Huggins #69 2800' No Accommodates 12; Forney Creek Trail 6.5 miles down from the Clingmans Dome area
Jerry Flats #63 2920' No A popular horse camp; Noland Creek Trail 5.5 miles from trailhead at Lakeshore Drive
Jerry Hollow #87 1720' No Boat Access only from Fontana Lake
Jonas Creek #70 2400' No Jonas Creek Trail 6.5 miles from AT at Silers Bald or 8.4 miles from Clingmans Dome area
Kirkland Creek #76 1770' No Lakeshore Trail 11.9 miles from trailhead at Lakeview Drive
Lost Cove #90 1760' No Lakeshore Trail 5.6 miles from trailhead at Fontana Dam or 3 miles from the AT at Sassafras Gap
Lone Pine #73 1720' No Boat Access only from Fontana Lake
Lower Chasteen #50 2360' Yes Chasteen Creek Trail 1.2 miles from Smokemont
Lower Ekanetlee #89 1880' No 6 sites; Eagle Creek Trail 7.2 miles from Fontana Dam or 7.3 miles from the AT at Spence Field
Lower Forney #74 1720' No Lakeshore Trail 3.1 miles from trailhead at Lakeview Drive
Lower Noland Creek #66 1720' No Boat Access only from Fontana Lake
Lower Walnut Bottom #37 3000' Yes Big Creek Trail 5.3 miles from Big Creek Campground or 3 miles from the AT at Low Gap just N of Cosby Knob
McCracken Branch #59 2320' No Deep Creek Trail 5 miles from Deep Creek Campground
McGee Spring #44 5040' No Hyatt Ridge Trail 3.5 miles from Balsam Mountain Gap Rd
Mill Creek #64 2540' No Large camp; Noland Creek Trail 4.1 miles from trailhead on Lakeview Drive
Mt. Sterling #38 5820' Yes Accommodates 12; Highest campsite in park at summit of Mt. Sterling 1.9 miles from Mt. Sterling Gap or 6.1 miles from Big Creek
Nettle Creek #54 2600' No Deep Creek Trail 6.6 miles from trailhead at Clingmans Dome Road near Mt. Collins
Nicks Nest Branch #58 2360' No Deep Creek Trail 8.8 miles from trailhead at Clingmans Dome Road near Mt. Collins or 5.4 miles from Deep Creek area
North Shore #81 1800' No Very Remote; Lakeshore Trail 13.8 miles from trailhead at Fontana Dam
Pilkey Creek #77 1800' No Very Remote; Lakeshore Trail 18.0 miles to trailhead at Fontana Dam or 16.6 miles to other trailhead at Lakeview Drive
Newton Bald #52 5000' No 4 sites; Ridge-top site on Newton Bald Trail 4.7 miles from US-441 near Smokemont
Poke Patch #53 3000' No Deep Creek Trail 3.9 miles from US-441 just S of Newfound Gap or 5.1 miles from Clingmans Dome Road near Mt. Collins
Pole Road #55 2410' Yes Deep Creek Trail 6.5 miles from Deep Creek Campground or 9 miles from Clingmans Dome Road near Mt. Collins
Poplar Flats #75 2800' No Bear Creek Trail 5.1 miles from Lakeview Drive
Pretty Hollow #39 3040' No Pretty Hollow Gap Trail 2 miles from Cataloochee Road
Proctor #86 1680' No Lakeshore Trail 10.4 miles from trailhead at Fontana Dam
Sawdust Pile #85 2000' No Hazel Creek Trail 13.5 miles from Fontana Dam
Spruce Mountain #42 5480' No Spruce Mountain Trail 1.1 miles from Balsam Mountain Gap Road
Steeltrap #68 3960' No Accommodates 8; Forney Creek Trail 3.5 miles from Clingmans Dome Parking Area
Sugar Fork #84 2160' No Hazel Creek Trail 15.0 miles from Fontana Dam or 9 miles up to the AT just N of Spence Field
Upper Chasteen #48 3320' No Chasteen Creek Trail 3.6 miles from Smokemont or 6.5 miles from the AT at Pecks Corner
Upper Lost Cove #91 2040' No Lost Cove Trail 6.2 miles from Fontana Dam or 2.1 miles from the AT at Sassafras Gap
Upper Ripshin #62 3160' No Noland Creek Trail 6.7 miles from the trailhead at Lakeview Drive or 7.3 miles from Clingmans Dome Rd
Upper Walnut Bottom #36 3040' Yes Equestrian Campsite



Front Country Camping is available at 10 sites around the perimeter of the park. Campgrounds have showers and flush toilets but no electricity or water hookups.

Campground Elevation # of Sites Cost('06) Location
Abrams Creek 1125' 16 $14 Happy Valley Rd off Foothills Parkway - W end of park
Balsam Mountain 5310' 46 $14 Balsam Mountain Road off Blue Ridge Parkway
Big Creek 1700' 12 $14 N end of Mt. Sterling Rd near I-40
Cades Cove 1807' 161 $17-$20 entrance to Cades Cove Loop Rd
Cataloochee 2610' 27 $17 off Mt Sterling/Cove Creek Gap Rd
Cosby 2459' 157 $14 off TN-32
Deep Creek 1800' 108 $17 north of Bryson City, NC
Elkmont 2150' 220 $17-$23 off Little River Rd
Look Rock 2600' 96 $14 off Foothills Pkwy - W end of park
Smokemont 2198' 140 $17-$20 US-441 near South Entrance

More Info / Links


Official National Park Service Page

NPS Road & Trail Closure Page

National Park Service Camping Page

National Park Service Maps Page

Carolina Mountain Club South Beyond 6000 Smokies Page

Smoky Mountain Info Page

Look Rock Webcam

Purchase Knob Webcam

AT Distance Calculator

NCWaterfalls.com - The best waterfall site I know of. Excellent info and photos from all over the Southern Appalachians.

National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for the Smoky Mountains

DWhike's Adventures - Shameless self promotion...come visit my website for more pics of the Great Smoky Mountains and other places that I have wandered off to in recent years...







Additions and Corrections

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Viewing: 1-4 of 4    
dwhikeRe: waterfalls

dwhike

Hasn't voted

Excellent idea, It's a great website I use quite a bit. I'll try to get it in there as soon as I can. Thanks for the tip! -Dan
Posted Jul 29, 2006 3:10 am
EleutherosMount Guyot

Eleutheros

Voted 10/10

I posted a page on Mount Guyot. You can link to it if you like, thanks!



Best,

Eleutheros
Posted Apr 18, 2011 7:59 pm
BobSmithRe: Mount Guyot

BobSmith

Voted 10/10

I'll post it on the Sixers page.
Posted Apr 19, 2011 4:59 pm
silversummitNPS Trail Map link has changed

silversummit

Voted 10/10

Here is the current link I believe:



http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/trail-map_JULY13-full.pdf



Thanks!



Kathy
Posted Jan 6, 2014 3:08 pm

Viewing: 1-4 of 4    

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