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buster55 05-12-2008 11:06 PM

Hiking suggestions
Hello, I am new to post but have been reading for some time. I have made several trips to the Townsend end of the park and I am coming the day after Memorial day with my son and a couple of his friends to celebrate his 18th birthday. I am looking for info on some trails to hike in that end of the park that aren't all that challenging, but some challenge is fine. Also, if anyone can suggest a good hike that follows a decent stream to fish, that would be a plus. When I was younger, I did a lot of serious hikes in the park, but that was then, this is now. I want something to wear these kids out without killing me. I have to be able to fish after all!

Thanks for any input!

Alan a/k/a Buster55

ijsouth 05-12-2008 11:51 PM

If you're staying in Townsend, you can try the Lynn Camp's pretty wide and smooth (it's the old logging railroad bed), and it goes for quite a ways. Most importantly, it goes by a pretty good stream that will be closed to fishing in a few months, so now is the time to fish it before it's off limits for a number of years.

jpavoncello 05-13-2008 07:47 AM

Laurel Falls is an easy hike, I usually hike that the first day I'm in the Smokies, just to get my trail legs back.
For hiking and fishing, Chimney Tops is a good trail. Good fishing at the beginning of the trail and a beautiful view from the top. It's moderately difficult, but short, I think 4 or 5 miles round trip. Abram's Falls in Cades Cove is another fish/hike trail. The stream runs along side the trail the entire way except for one or two spots, 10 miles round trip.
If you want to do a serious hike while you're there, look to Ramsey's Cascades or Mt. LeConte. Both are 10-12 miles and are demanding hikes, but well worth it.

PeteCz 05-13-2008 08:52 AM

Elkmont +2 others
Its hard to beat the Little River Trail. Its a nice hike along some great water. You could stop at anytime and start fishing. If you were going to hike/camp you could stay at the Elkmont Campground (fee) or venture up to Backcountry Campsite #24 (reservations req'd) or Campsite #30.

Another good option is Deep Creek from either direction (Newfound Gap Rd [harder] or Bryson City[easier but a longer drive from Townsend]). Again there are a number of good campsites (Frontcountry and Backcountry) and great water to fish.

You could also hike into Abrams Falls from below on the Little Bottoms Manway. The fishing is not really that great until you get to the Falls and above, but the hike is much less crowded than the Cades Cove approach and there are a few campsites along the way as well.

All three hikes are back and forth hikes, so you could decide how far you want to hike and then turn around. So the length of the hike would be completely dependent on how you feel, rather than taking a loop hike and being somewhat committed to a certain distance to complete it.

How many days are you staying? Are you camping (if so, frontcountry [drive-in] or backcountry[hike-in])? I put together some info that you might want to look at that compares the relative difficulty of some of the trails. Its not very scientific, but it might help you pick a few spots. If you can, pick up a copy of "Hiking Trails of the Smokies" from the Smokies Bookstore. Its a great reference.

buzzmcmanus 05-13-2008 11:12 AM


Originally Posted by PeteCz (Post 52456)
Its hard to beat the Little River Trail. Its a nice hike along some great water. You could stop at anytime and start fishing. If you were going to hike/camp you could stay at the Elkmont Campground (fee) or venture up to Backcountry Campsite #24 (reservations req'd) or Campsite #30.

I second the Little River Trail for an easy hike with good fishing.

Redfish62 05-13-2008 11:26 AM

West prong
West prong is also a nice trail and lots of bows not much pressure.
Look for campsite 18 on the maps.

buster55 05-13-2008 11:54 AM

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'll only be there for 3 days and two nights, and you have given me plenty of good choices to pick from.


nvr2L8 05-13-2008 07:30 PM

One correction
All great options. One correction, from trailhead to falls and back, the Abrams Falls route is a 5 mile round trip. There is enough separation between trail and stream in the middle (at the big horseshoe) that hikers and fishers will definitely lose track of one another. If you're looking to do this together, might want to stick with Little River and Lynn Camp options.

golfballs03 05-13-2008 10:59 PM

I fished the West Prong last week for the first time. West Prong trail is a nice hike, I like the Bote Mountain trail to #18 better, but it doesn't follow a stream.

I also suggest the Little River trail. It's good fishing and a nice hike. Actually, the picture up next to my name was taken up there near the Huskey Gap trail... it was one of my best days in the park.

buster55 05-15-2008 12:07 AM

1971 Hiker's Guide
Thanks again for the suggestions. I dug out my old 1971 edition of "Hiker's Guide to the Smokies". I wonder how it matches up with the conditions today. I notice there are more names of camp sites than numbers. Also, it mentions trials that (at the time) were not maintained, but from what I can gather now, are well maintained today. Interesting bit of history. Back then my hiking was restricted to trails leading up to the AP and on the AP. Sure wish I had been more focused on these lower trails along the streams back then, when I could do a thirty mile two day trip at the drop of a hat. As they say, youth is wasted on the young!

I'll let ya'll know how things work out. I can't wait to get back up there. Byron, be ready to unnload some flies on me!

Alan a/k/a Buster 55

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