View Full Version : Thunderhead prong/SAMs creek?

07-27-2013, 04:01 PM
Took my 7 year old daughter up tremont this morning. Ran into an old high school buddy I hadn't seen for 18 years at the trail head! Water was a little high but very manageable, but not with a 7 year old girl. We fished about an hour. Caught one small rainbow and then proceeded to turning over rocks. While doing that a family of otters came right down the creek at us. A momma and 2 young uns. They didn't notice us until they popped up on a rock about 10 feet from us. They saved the trip for my daughter. She wants to go again now.

I was looking on the trail map and can not find the trail we were on. I can't even find thunderhead creek labeled anymore. Why isn't that trail shown on the park map? We ran into 2 guys loaded down with gear for camping but a shelter isn't shown on the map. Maybe they were going all the way to the at and going to a shelter there but that would be a long, long hike. Plus climbing thunderhead mountain would likely kill them! Does anyone know of a map that shows that trail?

07-27-2013, 06:07 PM
Russ, you were on the now unmaintained and therefore unidentified Defeat Ridge Trail. Its winding path to the AT can be seen on the Wear Cove and Thunderhead Mountain quadrangle maps available in print at Sugarlands Visitor Center and online as free downloads at http://store.usgs.gov/.

As is the case with the couple of hundred or so similarly sized streams, Thunderhead Prong is not, as you say, labeled on the Trail Map. A few more streams are labeled on the map on the back of the free Fishing Regulations brochurem but not TP. There are about 700 streams labeled on the many quad maps that cover the Park. Others still are indentified on the old historical maps.


07-27-2013, 07:25 PM
The trail isn't shown on the park map because for some reason they don't list the "quiet walkways" on the trail maps. The trail that you were on is maintained by the park until it crosses Thunderhead prong as a quiet walkway. If you look at my attached pic the area in grey shows this. There are not any shelters up this trail, but a handful of off-trail routes do exist such as Thunderhead manway, Defeat Ridge manway, Sam's creek manway going up to Starkey Gap or Sugar Cove, and The trail from the Caddy on Lynn Camp over Green Cove Gap down to Sam's. I would guess they were camping illegally or maybe did green cove gap, or just fished on way out camping somewhere else legally.

And Climbing up to Starkey Gap isn't nearly as hard as climbing up Bee Cove which was over 1000 feet in the last 1/4 mile:eek:


Brown line is old rail grade. One on bottom L goes up Defeat ridge. One bottom right goes up Sam's:smile:

07-27-2013, 10:34 PM
It was great seeing you today Russ!!! Awesome that you were there with your little girl. Mine just turned two and loves going for walks up Jake's Creek. We saw those guys you were talking about as well. My buddy Sig and I startled them when we came walking out of some rhodo on up the manway.:eek:
We had a good day and caught several fish. I'll contact you and will gladly accompany you whenever you can get some time to hit the water.

Duckypaddler: Is the offer still good for a trip sometime when your schedule permits?

07-28-2013, 07:53 AM
Duckypaddler: Is the offer still good for a trip sometime when your schedule permits?

Yeah for sure. Things have been pretty hectic lately and just as things were settling down my wife's grandfather died. I'm actually fishing today, but let my wife decide when and if I went this week, and didn't know till yesterday I was even going today. We may be able to get away next weekend, and I'm gonna try and camp at Smokemont with our TU chapter the next weekend after that.