Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Regional Hiking Series)

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The Smokies are home to more than species of flowering plants. During the spring, wildflowers explode during the brief window prior to trees leafing out and shading the forest floor from about mid-April thru mid-May. During the early summer period from about mid-June to mid-July , awesome displays of mountain laurel, rhododendron, flame azalea, and other heath family shrub flowers can be enjoyed, especially on the higher elevation balds.

For Catawba rhododendron, take the relatively short hike to Andrews Bald. Although somewhat of a long trek, hikers going to Gregory Bald will be amply rewarded by the exceptional displays of flame azalea at the summit. Finally, Spence Field is by far the best place for mountain laurel. You can click here to see a list of trails known for abundant wildflowers. There are 66 species of mammals, including black bears, elk, bobcats, fox, coyotes and river otter that live within the park.

Based on a study conducted in , biologists estimate that approximately 1, black bears live in the park, a density of approximately two bears per square mile. This national park page will provide you with a better understanding of bear behavior and what to do if you see one on the trail.

Additionally, there are over varieties of birds, 83 native fish species, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians data is from the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory. Additionally, there are more than backcountry campsites, including several backcountry shelters along the A. During the wettest years more than 8 feet of rain can fall in the high country. Best Easy Hikes in the Smokies. Best Waterfall Hikes in the Smokies.


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Best Fall Hikes in the Smokies. Best Hikes for Wildflowers. Appalachian Trail Guide for the Smokies. Loop Hikes in the Smokies day hikes and backpacking options.

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Other Hiking Destinations in the Smokies Region. The Top 10 Longest Trails in the Southeast. Origins of the Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains. Planning for these projects began in , and work is expected to begin in The bridges involved in these projects have been deemed structurally deficient with deteriorating decks and substandard height bridge rails. The proposed projects will address structural deficiencies and improve safety by meeting current roadway design standards, including installation of crashworthy railings.

Alerts In Effect

Jeff HikingintheSmokys. Friday, September 20, Overmountain Shelter on Pisgah National Forest closed until further notice due to structural damage.

Forest Service engineers have determined that the building has become structurally unsound and cannot safely accommodate people. Further evaluations will occur to identify viable management options for the site. Unfortunately, the barn was not originally designed to accommodate human occupancy. Slope movement has caused a significant downhill lean in the structure and a support beam snapped under the large upper loft where people sleep.

The wood posts are rotting away. Strong winds from storms and heavy snow loads in the winter place additional stress on the structure. The elements have just taken their toll to the extent that, despite efforts to maintain it, the Overmountain Shelter has reached the point where it's not safe to be inside the building. If the bear gets closer, begin talking loudly or shouting at it. Act aggressively and try to intimidate the bear. Act together as a group if you have companions.

Make yourselves look as large as possible for example move to higher ground. Throw non-food objects such as rocks at the bear. Use a deterrent such as a stout stick if you have one. Help protect others, report all bear incidents to a park ranger immediately! Above all, keep your distance from bears! The best way to avoid bears is to not attract them. Keep cooking and sleeping areas separate. Keep tents and sleeping bags free of food odors; do not store food, garbage or other attractants i. A clean camp is essential to reducing problems. Proper food storage is required by regulation. Secure all food and other attractants at night or when not in use.

Where food storage devices are present, use them. Otherwise: Place all odorous items in your pack. Select two trees feet apart with limbs 15 feet high. Using a rock as weight, toss a rope over a limb on the first tree and tie one end to the pack. Repeat this process with the second tree. Raise the pack about six feet via the first rope and tie it off.

Day Hiking and Wildlife

Then pull the second rope until the pack is up at least 10 feet high and evenly spaced; it must be four feet or more from the nearest limb. Questions or comments? Reach out to us. We look forward to hearing from you! View Now. The bluff resulted from Confederate mining of saltpeter during the Civil War.


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  6. This trail continues to Mt. LeConte and its beautiful viewpoints. The round-trip distance from the parking area to LeConte is 10 miles.

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trekking Pole Decal

    Andrews Bald 4. Excellent views open to the south, toward Fontana Lake, and in the spring the azalea explode with color. This trailhead is not accessible by car from Dec. Charlies Bunion 8.


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    It has excellent views. Chimney Tops 4. From the top, they provide a spectacular degree view. Abrams Falls has the largest water volume of any park fall, and is among the most photogenic.