Fresh air, rushing waters and stunning vistas, it’s Fall and time to get out into our backyard national treasure, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Friends of the Smokies will hold its next guided “Classic Hikes of the Smokies” series on Thursday, Nov. 15 as they hike amidst flowing creeks and intriguing historic remnants along the Smokemont Loop Trail. Beginning at one of the most popular campsites in the park the Smokemont Loop Trail receives relatively little traffic despite the scenic creek and history found along the trail.
Friends of the Smokies hiking enthusiast and author of two regional hiking guides Danny Bernstein will lead this 6.2 mile hike that is moderate in difficulty and has a total elevation gain of 1,400 ft. The originally scheduled Hyatt Ridge Discovery hike has been postponed, due to Park road closure.
Participants will gather for the all day excursion in Asheville at 8:30 a.m., Maggie Valley at 9a.m., or at the Park at 9:45. A donation of $35 to go to the Friends’ Smokies Trails Forever program is requested, and includes a complimentary membership to Friends of the Smokies. Current Friends of the Smokies members hike for $10. Hikers who bring a friend hike for free.
The next and last Friends of the Smokies guided hike in the 2012 series will be a half-day hike along Mingus Creek Trail, near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on December 15th. The outing will include a stop by the Visitor Center where hikers can enjoy the Holiday Homecoming festivities and purchase special holiday gifts.
To register for any of the hikes, contact Friends of the Smokies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-452-0720. For more information, including a complete list of the North Carolina Classic Hikes series, visit www.friendsofthesmokies.org. Information about helping with the improvements to trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be found at www.smokiestrailsforever.org.
– Friends of the Smokies