View Full Version : Old Hiden Trails?

11-11-2007, 05:03 PM
I've been in the backcountry twice now.....I think. Last time I went I thought I saw a little trail, that was unmarked, and kinda hidden by trees and bushes. It was a trail, because I went over there to do some business, and saw that it was a trial that went on for a while. I thought that maybe it could be an old Indian trail, or trail that pioneers used or something. Or I have an over active imagination, and it was just a trail for the rangers or something, but still It would be neat to find a hidden stream, or an old house no ones ever seen. The GSMNP are old and big, there could be many undiscovered things out there, more in the backcountry, because it would be hidden better, because it's not full of people and tourist. I was just wondering if it would be possible for there to be a hidden trial in the backcountry and if you might find something there. Are there hidden trials in those mountains? Are you allowed to explore them? Do the rangers know they are there. Do they hide hidden streams full of fish for me to catch. (Giantfish) Could you find out about the history of the trail by researching the area. My main idea is could any of this be possible, could that trail i saw really be a hidden trail??

11-11-2007, 07:56 PM
I doubt that there are too many things like pathways undiscovered in the gsmnp. What you saw was probably a manway and some dedicated, hardcore hikers use those to get away from the crowds and add a little challenge. I think there was an article a few months ago in backpacker magazine that detailed the 5 best manways in the gsmnp. These paths are usually very tight and cramped and, honestly, i don't see why anyone would really want to use them, especially use fisherman. I wouldn't recommend hiking these, though, as technically they are not marked trails i think, so i would imagine you could get into some trouble. Someone may know a little more about this topic because i'm not exactly 100% sure.


old tom
11-11-2007, 08:51 PM
I suspect many of these, particularly those heading toward water, are simply game trails. Many animals, deer for instance, tend to be creatures of habit, using the same "trail" over and over again.

Rog 1
11-13-2007, 11:26 AM
Most of the major trails in the areas like Elkmont and Tremont are the remains of lumber train tracks....it is amazing how high these trains used to get on the mountains....a good read on this is a book called The Last Train to Elkmont....when I was younger I used to fish up the right fork of FCP where there was not supposed to be a trail back down....if you knew where to look there was an old railroad bed that was overgrown with moss and etc....the cross ties were mainly rotten and the rails were gone but the bed was still there and it was a lot easier than climbing back down the river....I have followed many a game trail and had to back track where it went where no mere mortal man could go safely....my uncle still talks about some of the oldtimers that knew of some of these forgotten trails and could get between spots where no map shows a route....my guess is that some of these may still be around but mostly you are asking for a lot of trouble if something happened to you while off exploring....

11-13-2007, 12:32 PM
Some times the little side paths lead to old homesteads or cemeteries. Just be careful and make sure you can find your way bact to the main trail. Learn to use a compass and map, or GPS. Cross country travel or the use of manways isn't safe without these skills IMO.