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fcfly
02-06-2009, 04:22 PM
This Spring I am thinking about exploring/fishing the
3 Forks region of Raven Fork (also known
as the "big pool"). I have studied the area on
Google maps and am thinking about accessing from either
campsite 47 or 44.
I like to check out the more isolated sections of the
Park and have fished the lower part of Raven Fork known
as "the Gorges"...would not recommend to
faint of heart.
Any info appreciated.

Speckleman5
02-06-2009, 08:20 PM
Just as the gorges section, not for the faint of heart. Not likely to be done staying at either of the 2 campsites you mentioned either, would be a very tough day trip from either.

MtnMike
02-06-2009, 09:06 PM
I asked a similiar question last year and it seems like nobody wants to talk. That is a remote area I was also specifically interested in campsite #44 at McGee Spring and wondering if you could work your way down to the 3 forks area from there. I'm not familiar with that area at all, but maybe one of these days. Would love to hear if you ever try it. But my guess is that if any of us ever make it we would probably decide not to tell.

Mike

duckypaddler
02-07-2009, 02:09 AM
There is also a out of print hiking guide to the Smokies that has the unmaintained Smokies trails and 3 forks is listed. You access it from an old trail that is named Break neck ridge trail. Described as a rudementry manway to 3 forks. You must definately be comfortable with off trail navigation to take this on by yourself. Not impossible by any means, but not something for the Old Geezers. I plan on kayaking this stretch one day. My buddy that did it, who has traveled the world over, said it was one of the most incredible experiences he ever had. Considering fishing gear is much lighter than a boat and gear you may be just fine, but us paddlers can get out much easier by paddling downstream then hiking out at the next campsite having a good trail and only a few miles to my car. Without a trail, I would have several days food and shelter with me if I did it as a fishing trip.

There was a video posted here or on SE Fly Fishing fourm a few months back of people hiking up from Lower campsite. They never mentioned where they were, but I doubt they got all the way to 3 forks. While I don't have the hiking book I mentioned, I did scan this part and can e-mail to you if you are going to take it on.

Ooh and the "Gorges" section below the Lower campsite get boated frequently, but is extreme Class 5+, and I wouldn't try fishing it without good rapelling gear. Here is a link to some video of some of easier, yes easier rapids in this section: http://vimeo.com/2667017

Good Luck,
James

fcfly
02-07-2009, 09:01 AM
Thanks to all replys especially James with
the video.Unless you have been
thru the Gorges its unlike any place I've
been in the Smokys... incredible beauty and awesome power
...takes some real skill and kahunas to pull that off!
I day hiked to McGee Springs last summer
and bushwacked a short distance towards
Right Fork...very thick laurel **** and
decided not a good idea solo.
Also, have heard about the old Breakneck Ridge
manway thru a website by a fella
named Griztrax.
Would appreciate the guide...send to fffc160@hotmail.com.
Thanks again!

bugg
02-07-2009, 12:04 PM
shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

duckypaddler
02-08-2009, 01:00 AM
shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


I'm a newby here, and please clarify if I'm missing something, but why should I not answer this guys questions? It's not like I didn't talk about the difficulties of access, or extreme nature of this trek. I would think if the guy is smart enough to be on a fourm asking questions he's already smarter than most people in these parts. He had mentioned he had done the "gorges" which I know is even more difficult, so obviously this guy has some mountain experience. Is it that you want it all to yourself? If so, then that's pretty sad. If it's some good reason that I'm just ignorant of, then please enlighten me and I'll be happy to be quiet, otherwise you shhhhhhhhhhh!

Speckleman5
02-08-2009, 02:13 AM
I believe that may have been a sarcastic jab as to how little response the thread got.

BlueRaiderFan
02-08-2009, 10:24 AM
This Spring I am thinking about exploring/fishing the
3 Forks region of Raven Fork (also known
as the "big pool"). I have studied the area on
Google maps and am thinking about accessing from either
campsite 47 or 44.
I like to check out the more isolated sections of the
Park and have fished the lower part of Raven Fork known
as "the Gorges"...would not recommend to
faint of heart.
Any info appreciated.

Any one got a link to a map?

pineman19
02-08-2009, 11:34 AM
Here is a link to topo maps of the Smokies. They also show the older trails that are no longer maintained by the Park


http://www.dlia.org/atbi/science/park_quad_maps.shtml

BlueRaiderFan
02-08-2009, 12:34 PM
Thanks. Do you know what campsite, trail, etc that this area is near and in what relation to it?

BlueRaiderFan
02-08-2009, 12:40 PM
Ok...Noticed the campsites mentioned above...I guess it's Cataloochee?

BlueRaiderFan
02-08-2009, 12:44 PM
Never mind...Found it...at least I found Raven Fork. Doesn't look like much on the map.

rainBBow
02-08-2009, 01:29 PM
I have been talking with Mayday about hiking this trip this spring. I have yet to do much research on it but would love to and plan on making it. Please keep this thread informed on your progress and any plans you finalize. We can share info and might find others interested.
Thanks.

BlueRaiderFan
02-08-2009, 01:48 PM
Where did the guys in the video go in to get to that stretch of water?

fcfly
02-08-2009, 05:43 PM
To Duckypaddler...Been out of town
a coupla days so I did not respond. I took the shhh...same way you did and you hit the nail on the head...yes, I have done a lot
of backcountry but have not been to 3 Forks and the more I know
the better I'm prepared. That's why I posted.
Thanks and 'nuff said.

To RainBBow...I left my email address on a previous post and if interested let me know.

duckypaddler
02-08-2009, 06:43 PM
I believe that may have been a sarcastic jab as to how little response the thread got.

Like I said newby here.

BlueRaiderFan
02-08-2009, 09:53 PM
Found this page on google. Says use campsite 30, but I have no idea how you would get a kayak back there:

http://books.google.com/books?id=28V_iZPyH5gC&pg=PA160&lpg=PA160&dq=hiking+three+forks+smokies&source=web&ots=CXjgEzvfgn&sig=H5MznMJ9OZjdCrb7lT1GDgQre3Q&hl=en&ei=OYuPScO-FOCbtwf7wLiiCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result

duckypaddler
02-08-2009, 11:30 PM
Where did the guys in the video go in to get to that stretch of water?

And it not the one that was Hazel or Forney or one of those Fontana ones.

CinciVol
02-09-2009, 08:33 AM
I've always been intrigued by the "big pool" up Raven Fork where all three forks come together and have always wanted to hike down there if only to see it (apparently has some nice old growth forest left). There is an older account on the web about a group that hiked down Breakneck Ridge and then hiked out the creek bed. Unfortunately it turned into an overnight trip and some good lessons learned about off-trail hiking. (http://www.twohikers.org/SE_Hiking/RavenFork1.htm)

Kenneth Wise's book on hiking trails in the Smokys discusses the hike down Breakneck Ridge to the Three Forks.

If you do go, please take a picture and post it as, again, I have always wanted to see that part of the Park.

MtnMike
02-09-2009, 09:55 AM
CinciVol, thanks for the twohikers link.
I'm going to look into this myself, but maybe someone already has the answer. What are the park regulations and requirements when it comes to hiking unmaintained trails or no trail at all? Obviously when we are fishing up a stream, we are not necessarily on a maintained trail. Just wondering what is allowed and what is not allowed.

Mike

Crockett
02-09-2009, 04:49 PM
Hey MtnMike there are no regulations against hiking on unmaintained trails or even on no trail at all. I am sure if you ask a ranger they may try and disuade you but it ain't against the law as they say. There is an unmaintained trail right behind the greenbriar ranger station that leads to injun creek and I have taken it before waving at the rangers as I set out and parking right there at the ranger station.

Speckleman5
02-09-2009, 06:28 PM
I am not sure if this is accurate or not, but I believe the prk gives an off trail hiking permit for bushwhackers who want to travel by compass and such. I don't think they have any problem with it as long as you don't have a fire. I believe you can even get a backcountry permit as long as there is no fire. Once again, I am not sure this is accurate but I soon will be finding out as I am planning on some deeper treks this year.

nvr2L8
02-09-2009, 07:12 PM
Defeat Ridge Trail up towards Sams Creek is also an unmaintained trail if I'm not mistaken. I'm sure there are a lot of trails whose only maintenance is the regular foot travel of folks like us.

Speckleman5
02-09-2009, 07:56 PM
Yeah usually there is an old logging trail of some sort close by. Straight Fork is another prime example, i just wish it went all the way to Balsam Corner.

mayday
02-11-2009, 05:51 PM
Don't forget there are two places in the Smokies labeled Three Forks...but only one big pool!

Rog 1
02-11-2009, 06:20 PM
When I was first starting to fish the Park my relatives mostly referred to areas rather than specific streams....Elkmont, Greenbrier, Tremont, Sportsman's Stream(WPLP)....one particular area that we sometimes fished was above Elkmont beyond campsite #30....this area was known within our circle as 3 Forks....am sure there must be other such areas in the park.

WNCFLY
02-12-2009, 02:38 PM
My dad has fished it back in the day. He is a surveyor and very good with maps. He has said that he would love to take me up there sometime, but his knees just will not hold up these days. He has fished in the most rugged places in the mountains and he told me that this area was one of, if not the worst. He said the fishing was great and the old growth forest is incredible. I want to make the trip sometime when I have enough days off from work to explore it thoroughly.

mayday
02-15-2009, 07:46 PM
Hey James...shoot me an email with the scanned hiking guide for Raven Fork/Big Pool. I am planning to spend my first night at Pecks Corner and the next day going to see two old plane crashes off Mt Sequoyah then drop on down to Big Pool. I will be seeking an off trail overnight permit in the area then on day three (hopefully) go up Breakneck Ridge to C44 spend the night and come out.

jeffwadley@bellsouth.net

duckypaddler
02-15-2009, 09:58 PM
Anyone else want them?

Hey James...shoot me an email with the scanned hiking guide for Raven Fork/Big Pool. I am planning to spend my first night at Pecks Corner and the next day going to see two old plane crashes off Mt Sequoyah then drop on down to Big Pool. I will be seeking an off trail overnight permit in the area then on day three (hopefully) go up Breakneck Ridge to C44 spend the night and come out.

jeffwadley@bellsouth.net

Speckleman5
02-15-2009, 10:49 PM
Yeah shoot that on over to corbodiesel@yahoo.com if you don't mind.

pineman19
02-15-2009, 11:29 PM
Duckypaddler, I would be interested as well if you're willing to send them to pineman19@yahoo.com

Thanks,

Neal

MtnMike
02-15-2009, 11:42 PM
Duckypaddler, I would love to see those as well
fbcpastormike@embarqmail.com
Thanks for the offer.
Mike

CinciVol
02-16-2009, 10:01 AM
I'd like to see it too

deriesten@yahoo.com

Thanks! Dave R

duckypaddler
02-16-2009, 09:22 PM
Someone better take me along is all I know!

Troutman
02-16-2009, 10:19 PM
Duckypaddler, send me an email to gltroutman at gmail dot com.
I have a kayak question to ask you.

mayday
02-17-2009, 10:46 PM
Hey guys...James emailed me the Raven Fork info. When I opened it I realized it was from the Sierra Club hiking guide to the Smokies. Is the same size as the newer brown hiking guide that the Smoky Mountain Association published. The little book is blue and was published in 1973. The title is "A Sierra Club Totebook, HikersGuide to the Smokies". This book contains many descriptions of trails that are no longer maintained. If you have a copy hang on to it!

Jeff

sammcdonald
02-18-2009, 06:14 PM
ducky...
please send to sammcdonald3@gmail.com

Vern
02-18-2009, 08:25 PM
I just ordered the book from Amazon for $5, there are several copies available. The range from $1.85 for a used copy, to $85 for a new copy. I can never understand why one would charge $85 for a bookwhen you can by a used one for cents!

duckypaddler
02-20-2009, 11:57 PM
I just ordered the book from Amazon for $5, there are several copies available. The range from $1.85 for a used copy, to $85 for a new copy. I can never understand why one would charge $85 for a bookwhen you can by a used one for cents!


$45 + shipping is the cheapest I can see.

The Book is Hiking Trails of the Great Smoky Mountains by Kenneth Wise. It's way out of print, and I wish I had a copy. I'm not sure where the Sierra Club reference is coming from, and this book is in no way affiliated with the Smokies Brown Hiking Guide that everyone has

flyguys
02-21-2009, 11:08 AM
Here is a link to topo maps of the Smokies. They also show the older trails that are no longer maintained by the Park


http://www.dlia.org/atbi/science/park_quad_maps.shtml

I noticed that some of the trails are marked restricted, at certain points. Does this mean they are restricted to motor traffic and foot traffic, or just motor traffic. Were these restricted trails restricted at the time of the maps making or is this a permanent thing? Any info would be helpful in deciding on a location to fish this spring and summer. Thanks a lot!! flyguys.:smile:

pineman19
02-21-2009, 11:11 AM
I have to agree with Duckpaddler on this one. I thought the pages that were sent to me were from the Ken Wise guide. It seems to be highly regarded by off-trail hikers in particular, hence the high price since it is out of print. I may disregard my cheapness one day and buy a copy. I think I will buy the other book since it is pretty cheap, for five bucks or so I think I could easily get my monies worth.

Neal

flyman
02-21-2009, 05:24 PM
Hey guys...James emailed me the Raven Fork info. When I opened it I realized it was from the Sierra Club hiking guide to the Smokies. Is the same size as the newer brown hiking guide that the Smoky Mountain Association published. The little book is blue and was published in 1973. The title is "A Sierra Club Totebook, HikersGuide to the Smokies". This book contains many descriptions of trails that are no longer maintained. If you have a copy hang on to it!

Jeff

I have a copy, it's by Dick Murlless and Constance Stallings. It does have some information about a Raven Fork manway. Why not just camp at #47? The trail according to the description I have follows the stream and streambed up to the big pool. Oh it also says the trail should not be attempted during times of high water or inexperienced hikers. It says it passes thru some of the most rugged wilderness in the Appalichians. Can I have ya'lls stuff if you die?:biggrin:

sammcdonald
02-21-2009, 07:26 PM
flyguys,
those are roads that were open prior byron eviston being superintendent and are noted on most older maps.....for example, the greenbrier area the jeep road from the split to ramsey cascades trailhead was once limited access.....a lot of other jeep roads were closed by eviston....middle prong being one...
sam

flyguys
02-21-2009, 10:04 PM
thanks for the info, sam. flyguys

bugg
02-22-2009, 12:13 PM
In all seriousness folks, this is a tough place to get to and should not be taken lightly. Do not even attempt this trip if you are not familiar with the extreme backcountry. Make sure you are in good shape, can read a map, and can survive in backcountry situations, without any shaddow of a doubt. Remember, the more people that get lost or injured on trips like these, the more likely the Rangers will be to crack down on people going in there.

You guys that are talking about paddling from there (I'm assuming thats what you are wanting to do...), might want to reconsider. Granted, I don't know how you get your gear into places, and you might have a method I have no idea about, but it just seems like a very ambitous task. I'm not trying to burst anyone's bubble here, just figure'd I'd put it out there cause if I didn't and someone got hurt I'd feel guilty. Good luck to all and be safe out there.

calebB
02-22-2009, 05:06 PM
If you are an experienced backpacker you may look into the crosscountry travel/camp permit. Section 2.10 of the Compendium of Regulations. http://www.nps.gov/grsm/parkmgmt/upload/07%20Compendium.pdf

It allows you to camp in the backcountry off-trail. You cannot camp in the same spot for more than one night (see the link for more regs).

It is not a self fill-out form and it has to be issued and reviewed by a ranger. But it may eliminate the need of having to make the trip in a day and still get back to a backcountry campsite.

Caleb

sammcdonald
02-22-2009, 06:45 PM
but that off trail camping cannot include a fire

calebB
02-22-2009, 08:52 PM
True, but I would rather carry a pack stove or non-cook food than to travel several miles just to set up a tent.


Caleb

duckypaddler
02-22-2009, 10:32 PM
In all seriousness folks, this is a tough place to get to and should not be taken lightly. Do not even attempt this trip if you are not familiar with the extreme backcountry. Make sure you are in good shape, can read a map, and can survive in backcountry situations, without any shaddow of a doubt. Remember, the more people that get lost or injured on trips like these, the more likely the Rangers will be to crack down on people going in there.

You guys that are talking about paddling from there (I'm assuming thats what you are wanting to do...), might want to reconsider. Granted, I don't know how you get your gear into places, and you might have a method I have no idea about, but it just seems like a very ambitous task. I'm not trying to burst anyone's bubble here, just figure'd I'd put it out there cause if I didn't and someone got hurt I'd feel guilty. Good luck to all and be safe out there.

If you see from my first reponse where you were shushing me, I specifically brought up all the obstacles.

As for how we get our gear in there, we carry it on our backs. Yes this is abitious, and it has already been done, and if I ever do do it, I will take all precautions necessary and go with the guy who has already done it. That being said, we paddle hard stuff all the time, take rescue classes every year, and are typically better prepared than most rescue teams that would be called in the event something did happen. Please don't think we are a bunch of morons over our head, and god forbid if anything did happen please don't feel guilty as it was a consious choice we made to take on the risk. While I would never wish my demise on the river, it sure would beat a car wreck, dying in a war, in a fire, or many other ways.

BTW - I've injured myself more in 6 months of fly-fishing than in 5 years of kayaking!

bugg
02-22-2009, 11:50 PM
Well then I was warning everybody else that may not know.

Tedious
02-23-2009, 12:10 PM
Thanks Vern. I got one for $5. TDS

WNCFLY
02-23-2009, 12:12 PM
Anyone else want them?


Hey ducky, could you send me a copy? I may just be dumb enough to try it out?:biggrin:


No worries, I will not redistribute the info. Thanks in advance

copper78@bellsouth.net

mayday
05-03-2009, 11:07 PM
Three Forks via Camposite 44 (two routes). Hike to Campsite 44. Find the spring easliy located 40 yards downhill from the fire ring. Hike downhill for 1/2 mile (there is a faint easily followed trail with cairns along the way down). In about 15-20 minutes you will come to the Right Fork of Raven Fork. Turn left and go downstream (very easliy wadable) for 1 mile. Don't even try to rock hop...just go in...but be prepared! You will have four log jams to crawl over. The stream you are on will intersect with Middle Fork (on your right) then within 10 yards is the Big Pool. Not as "big" as the legend though. Left Fork joins where Right Fork and Middle all come together to form Big Pool. It is about 40' by 15'. I went from Campsite 44 along the top of Breakneck Ridge to Raven Fork (coming out just below Big Pool) then I returned to C44 via Right Fork. Easy hike to the top of Breakneck but within a 1/4 mile off the top you will hit lots of rhodo to the main Raven Fork. In fact I found a fishing net in a tree along the way! If you chose to return to Campsite 44 going up Right Fork, as you came down to begin with, make sure you put a cairn at the spot where McGee Sprinsg Branch meets Right Fork so you will know where to turn off the creek. Someone has put orange flagging at a small creek 300 yards below McGee Springs Branch perhaps thinking that was the correct route but it is NOT....that is the WRONG drainage to ascend. In fact you know you are at the correct drainage to ascend when you see the McGee Springs Branch flowing into Right Fork about 100 yards below a waterfall. You can see the small waterfall just upstream from where you will turn right off Right Fork. It took us from 9:00 am to 3:00 to get to Big Pool via Breakneck Ridge and from 4:30-7:00 to make it back up via Right Fork. My advice is to be prepared, be safe and have fun.

The Principal
05-04-2009, 04:29 PM
Yes, please! pmcwhorter@tds.net