Half Acre Ridge is part of the Cataloochee Divide in the Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Not known for particularly spectacular vistas, open ridgetops, balds, jagged peaks, or exposed rock, the most amazing aspect of this long ridgetop is the forest which covers it. A large part of the land here was owned by a farmer named Roger "Booger" Palmer. Palmer, despite pressure from logging interests, refused to sell timber rights to his old growth forests. Because of his stubborn resolve, when the property was placed into the protectorship of the National Park Service, the public became free to walk amidst one of the finest stands of old growth trees in eastern America. Don't come here expecting towering peaks visible from exposed ridges. Instead, you will find the humbling experience of hiking amidst mile after mile of gigantic pines, poplars, oaks, and hemlocks. This is also the section of the park chosen for the reintroduction of the elk, which are often visible in the forest and along the edges of remaining fields.
From I-40 take 276 toward Maggie Valley. Almost immediately after leaving the interstate, take a right turn onto Cove Creek Road. Follow Cove Creek about ten miles to the Cataloochee campground inside the GSMNP. About a tenth of a mile past the campground you will see the trailhead for the Caldwell Fork Trail and the Boogerman Trail. Park here, if you're not camping, and hike in.
Old relic poplar.
No red tape to hike. The usual fees and permits are required for camping at Cataloochee or using the backcountry campsites. See the folk at the ranger station (just past the trailhead) if backcountry camping.
When To Climb
All year. Each season in this part of the park has its own charm.
Camping is allowed both in the backcountry of the park and in the established campgrounds, the nearest of which is the Cataloochee Campground.
Check the weather for Maggie Valley. Subtract a few degrees for the highest slopes.
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