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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Bluff City, TN

    Default Hazel Creek

    I am giving serious thought to Hazel Creek this Spring (probably in May).
    I am wondering just how much traffic does this creek get. I am especially interested in campsite #83, which I know requires a reservation but I don't know how many can really camp there. Where is most of the fishing pressure on this stream? I would think the middle section between campsite #84 and #82 would get most of the pressure (I don't know that that is officially the middle section that is just what I am calling it). I know that I want to spend at least one full day (maybe more) exploring Bone Valley.
    Also, and I know that this may sound nuts to some people, but I will probably hike in. I have done quiet a bit of hiking from the tunnel at the end of "the road to nowhere". This is about a 15 mile hike, has anyone personally made this trip. I have never hiked the entire length, but I have done the first 9-10 miles to the top of Bear Creek Trail on another backpacking trip but that was a long time ago and I don't really remember the terrain. I know that Bear Creek Trail makes a pretty significant elevation gain. Looking at the map it might be easier (or at least shorter) to come in from Fontana Dam. Has anyone tried this, I've hiked to Eagle Creek but no further.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Especially if you have ever hiked in.
    Also, which campsites have you stayed at #84, #83, #82; and how did you like that site? I will probably make it a Monday - Friday trip the 1st, 2nd or 3rd week of May.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Knoxville, TN



    I and a buddy of mine have thought about this trip also, but taking the shuttle from the marina. We were looking at second week in May. I'm curious what everyone has to say about this also?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    The last of May is an incredible time to fish Hazel, and I highly reccomend using an inchworm pattern. You can fish it wet or dry.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Lenoir City, TN


    Me and a buddy paddled from cable cove boat ramp and hiked up to 84. We stay for 6 days and fished from about 1.5 miles below 84 to a little above 82. also hit some of the feeders. This trip was in june of 06 and the creek was blown out by the rain and it rained on us for all but the last half day. Still a fantastic trip. My friend has hiked in the route your talking about a few times so i'll ask him about it and post any usefull info.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Fayetteville TN


    Hiked it and have taken the "Chester Express" to the mouth as well. To me, the hike eats up a lot of good fishing time and it's harder to justify larger items in my pack like deer tenderloin etc. If you're serious about the fishing take the charter and take whatever you need to "really" enjoy the trip. An extra rod can make or break a trip (no pun intended), good food and sufficient bedding etc. can also make the nights easier.

    In my experience the crowds naturally thin out the farther you go back up the trail. We like to camp at the split and fish up and down. Very few folks and good water!
    "even Jesus had a 12 man recon team"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Davidson and Bryson City, NC


    I hiked the length of the Lakeshore Trail 6 -7 years ago. My son and I hiked in from the tunnel to Forney Creek the first day and fished it that evening and the next morning. He headed back out and I continued on. I was only doing 6 to 8 miles a day and fishing here and there in the evenings along the way. This was before they cut the new trail from Hazel to Eagle. The old route took you up Hazel to 84, then across Jenkins Ridge to Eagle. That was my first of several trips to Hazel. As well as I recall, it took me about 3 days to get to 84. Some of the trail was flat along the lakeshore, but there seemed to be endless trips up and down little finger ridges. I'm sure it could be done in a day, but it would be one tough day. The trip from the dam to 84 could be made much easier in one day, especially now that you don't have to go over Jenkins Ridge.

    I think the question is going to come down to how much money do you have to spend and would you rather hike or fish. To take the shuttle over from the dam will cost you $50 a head but save you 3/4 of a day hiking. If you're determined to hike it, come in from the dam.

    Site 84 is about 4 miles up the trail. The hike is on an old road bed and probably has no more than 500 feet of elevation gain. It just might be one of the nicest camp sites in the Park. 83 is about a mile further, not as pretty, also a horse camp, but there are several nice tent sites over a small ridge, away from where the horses stay. If you're doing a Monday - Friday trip, that will really decrease your chance of sharing the site with horses. I've never stayed at 82, but it's also a pretty site. 84 and 83 have a spring fed water source - 82 has only the creek for a water source. (I hate pumping water.) The hike from 83 to 82 is about 3 miles, but it's not an easy 3.

    My personal preference is 83. It's an easier hike with a good water source. You can day trip on up to 82 and beyond much easier than lugging a full back pack up there. Sounds like you've done your homework in wanting to spend a day on Bone Valley. It's only a mile up the trail to the Hall Cabin (see my avitar), but don't be afraid to bushwack your way further up the creek.

    From what I've seen, the most pressure is from the mouth up to 85. Like highpockets said, the further up you go, the fewer people you will see. We also try to do our trips there during the week to avoid the crowds. One year we saw at least 20 to 30 folks at 86 on a guided trip out of Charlotte and another 10 or 15 at 85. That was on a Friday and thank goodness, we were on our way out.

    Lastly, I'd say the later in May, the better. I say this because I usually wade wet so I don't have to haul waders in. The water will be a little chilly first thing in the morning, but you'll get used to it soon. Avoid the Memorial Day weekend.


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