Friday, September 30, 2011

Hikers Bear Warning

This is a warning to all hikers that are hiking The Meigs Creek Trail and The Meigs Mountain trail at The Sinks . I was hiking these trails yesterday when i was coming back down Meigs Creeks Trail when i come upon a bear right at one of the creek crossings . I believe both was surprised needless to say he ran back up the mountain and I continued on hiking back to the sinks. Just wanted to make all hikers aware that bears were active on these trails .


Meigs Creek Trail
About 3.5 miles from the Sinks to a four way intersection with Lumber Ridge Trail, Meigs Mountain Trail, and an unmarked Spruce Flats Falls Trail at Buckhorn Gap

Meigs Creek
Location: Great Smoky Mts National Park, TN
Map: USGS Wear Cove quad b
Trailhead: UTM NAD83 z17 259029e 3950521n 1557’
Access: From Townsend, take TN-73 southeast about 3.5 miles into Great Smoky Mts National Park, and take the first right after you enter the park on Little River Rd, heading towards Gatlinburg. Head east 6 miles to the Sinks. Trailhead is located behind the Sinks.
Trail: 3.2 miles, 848’ gain to junction with Lumber Ridge Tr
Fees: None
Dogs: Not allowed

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Being Smart when Backpacking over night or long distances

1. Your Pack !

When getting ready for a over night or even a longer backpacking trip a lot of us will over pack our backpacks.If you pack everything you think you need besides your food and water and your pack weighs over 30 lbs. think again . Must try to keep it under this weight your idea weight would be 20 lbs or less.

2.Tents and Sleeping Bags

Tents are nice to have ( especially if it is pouring down rain ) but some tents can be heavy and add way to much weight to your pack that you don't need ! I use the ENO Hammocks ( The DoubleNest one ) and at 1.6 lbs thats a lot lighter than a tent plus no need to carry a sleeping bag pad . Another get thing is that you can order a canopy that goes over it also to keep out the rain . And the weight of this is just 4 oz. which still is lighter than tents plus keeps you off the ground from critters ! I have also noticed a lot of people will spend all sorts of money on tents and then buy a cheaper sleeping bag which will likely be cold and heavy from getting damp.

3.Food and Water

Food is pretty simple pack what you need not what you want. Pack high energy bars , Granola bars and a hikers best food for protein peanut butter sandwiches (LoL).Water is simple get a steri pen or filteration system that way you always have something to drink. * Note you if get tired of water Wal-Mart has those little powders which you can add to water for flavor plus they have them for energy,metabolism and immunity .

4.Your Feet

So many people make the mistake for style , lightiness or the biggest thing i see is the cheapest . I see so many people wearing North Face , Patagonia , Marmot ,Mountain Hardwear , Mammut or Outdoor Research jackets and shirts and then have on a cheap pair of boots or shoes . Spend The money on your feet because that is what is taking you places not that North Face Jacket that cost 150 dollars ! Try them all on at your favorite store buy what feels good on your feet. I wear Merrell Gore-Tex Hikers but again thats what feels good on my feet . I have 3 pairs one of them that has well over 1,000 miles on them and i still wear them !
My Merrell Hiking Boots At Chimney Tops

Abrams Falls In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park




Trailhead to Abrams Falls

Abrams Creek is the largest creek wholly within the national park The Abrams Falls Trail begins by immediately crossing a large wooden bridge over Abrams Creek, which follows beside the trail for most of its length. Just downstream from here Mill Creek flows into and is absorbed by Abrams, and a side trail leads about a half mile to the Elijah Oliver Place, one of the best preserved housing establishments in Cades Cove, which was once home to a number of settlers before the area was bought into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Abrams Falls Trail continues beyond this point gently, only taxing hikers for short periods as the trail climbs over ridges that the creek maneuvers great distances to bypass.

 In fact, at Arbutus Ridge, 0.8 miles (1.3 km) down the trail, the river travels over a mile whereas the hiker traverses about two footsteps over the ridge. Most of this portion of the trail follows this same framework: gentle walking near the large stream, an uphill bout over a ridge, where the trail creek turns from the trail somewhat, but never drifts too far to be heard, and a subsequent reunion as the trail dips back down the ridge from which it came, along with a few mandatory rock-hopping creek-crossings. At 2.5 miles (4.0 km), however, this ends when the trail crosses over one more waterway, Wilson Creek, and arrives at the 20-foot (6.1 m) plunge of Abrams Falls.

 Abrams Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park for two reasons: its beauty and its 100-foot-wide (30 m) natural swimming pool, which is often littered with local children cooling off during the hot summer months.

Baskin Falls In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park




The trail leading to Baskins Creek Falls begins with a short easy climb. At roughly one quarter of a mile into the hike, the trail levels off and you'll have some decent views of the mountains towards the west, as well as a few glimpses of Gatlinburg, if you're hiking in the winter or early spring. These views, however, will more than likely be obstructed by summer foliage.
At 0.9 miles you'll cross Falls Branch without the assistance of a footbridge. If hiking right after a long hard rain, this could present a little bit of a challenge if your goal is to keep your feet dry. The trail then veers off to the left and follows the creek down the mountain. This is a fairly rapid descent, making for a challenging climb on your return trip.
At 1.1 miles a side trail spurs off to the left towards the Baskins Cemetery. Go right to continue onto towards the falls.
Shortly thereafter, the trail crosses over the creek again, but this time, a much easier crossing.
At 1.3 miles, you'll arrive at a trail junction. Going straight for another 1.3 miles will take you to the eastern side of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. To continue onto the falls, turn left at this junction.
The last 50 yards down to Baskins Creek Falls is a little rugged, but well worth the effort. Relative to their popularity, this 25-foot waterfall just might be the most underrated falls in the park.
It's also a great place to kick back and enjoy a picnic

Alum Cave Bluffs In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park




Trailhead to Arch Rock
The Alum Cave Trail provides many scenic overlooksThe Alum Cave Trail begins its ascent at 3,830 feet (1,170 m) by quickly crossing two streams: Walker Camp Prong and Alum Cave Creek, the latter of which flanks the trail for the first 1.3 miles (2.1 km) of its length. This first leg of the trail leads the hiker through an old-growth forest, consisting largely of hemlock and yellow birch and is relatively easy, as the climb is gradual and the footpath is well-maintained due to its heavy traffic. The first notable landmark comes 1.3 miles (2.1 km) into the hike at what is known as "Arch Rock", which is a large black slate rock that has, over millennia, come to create, as the name indicates, a large natural arch. Hikers maneuver easily through the cold, moist rock via stairs and steel cables acting as handrails which are placed at numerous points along the footpath.

Arch Rock to Alum Cave Bluff A hiker who ascends beyond Arch Rock will gradually hear the shift from the powerful company of Alum Cave Creek to the smaller Styx Branch, which accompanies the path for a short distance. Inspiration Point is the next landmark along this less trafficked, though still popular, portion of the trail. Upon this outcropping of rocks about 4,700 feet (1,400 m) in elevation, a hiker can, on a clear day, get an unobscured view of the surrounding landscape, most notably Little Duck Hawk Ridge. Not far from Inspiration Point, the Eye of the Needle (a round, see-through hole cut into the side of Little Duck Hawk Ridge) can be seen to the left as the hiker continues along the now rocky trail. Not far from there, at 2.2 miles (3.5 km) from the trail head, the hiker finds the ubiquitous orange clay of Alum Cave Bluff. The bluff is at 4,950 feet (1,510 m) in elevation [3], and is 80 feet (24 m) in height. The bluff is the final destination along the trail for many hikers. In winter, massive icicles often form and crash down onto the trail, making the bluff dangerous; in other seasons, the bluff forms a shelter from the frequent rainstorms in these mountains.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Video Of Baskins Falls In The Great Smoky Mountains

The trail leading to Baskins Creek Falls begins with a short easy climb. At roughly one quarter of a mile into the hike, the trail levels off and you'll have some decent views of the mountains towards the west, as well as a few glimpses of Gatlinburg, if you're hiking in the winter or early spring. These views, however, will more than likely be obstructed by summer foliage.
At 0.9 miles you'll cross Falls Branch without the assistance of a footbridge. If hiking right after a long hard rain, this could present a little bit of a challenge if your goal is to keep your feet dry. The trail then veers off to the left and follows the creek down the mountain. This is a fairly rapid descent, making for a challenging climb on your return trip.
At 1.1 miles a side trail spurs off to the left towards the Baskins Cemetery. Go right to continue onto towards the falls.
Shortly thereafter, the trail crosses over the creek again, but this time, a much easier crossing.
At 1.3 miles, you'll arrive at a trail junction. Going straight for another 1.3 miles will take you to the eastern side of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. To continue onto the falls, turn left at this junction.
The last 50 yards down to Baskins Creek Falls is a little rugged, but well worth the effort. Relative to their popularity, this 25-foot waterfall just might be the most underrated falls in the park.
It's also a great place to kick back and enjoy a picnic
video
Directions to Trailhead:
Starting from Light 8 in Gatlinburg, turn onto Historic Nature Trail / Airport Road. At 0.7 miles, veer right onto Cherokee Orchard Road. After driving another 2.2 miles, you will enter the one-way Cherokee Orchard Loop. Drive 0.9 miles on the loop before turning right onto the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The trailhead for Baskins Creek Trail will be on your left after driving about 0.2 miles on this one-way loop.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bear Closures In The Great Smoky Mountains ( Hikers Be Aware )

This is a warning to backpackers and hikers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park about all the Bear Activity here lately and the resent attacks out west people need to be more aware of the bears and where they have been sighted .

Warning: Due to a shortage of wild foods such as berries this year, bears have been approaching visitors challenging them for food. Do not feed bears!
Use extreme caution when you see a bear - they are dangerous and unpredictable. Do not approach bears or allow them to approach you!
Backcountry campers: store all gear, including backpacks, on the food storage cables when not in use. Day hikers: never abandon food or a backpack while taking a break - a bear may steal it.
 

Warning: Due to a shortage of wild foods such as berries this year, bears have been approaching visitors challenging them for food. Do not feed bears!
Use extreme caution when you see a bear - they are dangerous and unpredictable. Do not approach bears or allow them to approach you!
Backcountry campers: store all gear, including backpacks, on the food storage cables when not in use. Day hikers: never abandon food or a backpack while taking a break - a bear may steal it.

Bears in the park are wild and their behavior is sometimes unpredictable. Although extremely rare, attacks on humans have occurred, inflicting serious injuries and death. Treat bear encounters with extreme caution and follow these guidelines:
If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.)-you're too close. Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don't run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Try to increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same.
If a bear persistently follows or approaches you, without vocalizing, or paw swatting, try changing your direction. If the bear continues to follow you, stand your ground. If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout 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. Don't run and don't turn away from the bear. Don't leave food for the bear; this encourages further problems.
Most injuries from black bear attacks are minor and result from a bear attempting to get at people's food. If the bear's behavior indicates that it is after your food and you're physically attacked, separate yourself from the food and slowly back away.
If the bear shows no interest in your food and you're physically attacked, fight back aggressively with any available object--the bear may consider you as prey! Help protect others, report all bear incidents to a park ranger immediately. Above all, keep your distance from bears


 


Bears in the park are wild and their behavior is sometimes unpredictable. Although extremely rare, attacks on humans have occurred, inflicting serious injuries and death. Treat bear encounters with extreme caution and follow these guidelines:
If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.)-you're too close. Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don't run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Try to increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same.
If a bear persistently follows or approaches you, without vocalizing, or paw swatting, try changing your direction. If the bear continues to follow you, stand your ground. If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout 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. Don't run and don't turn away from the bear. Don't leave food for the bear; this encourages further problems.
Most injuries from black bear attacks are minor and result from a bear attempting to get at people's food. If the bear's behavior indicates that it is after your food and you're physically attacked, separate yourself from the food and slowly back away.
If the bear shows no interest in your food and you're physically attacked, fight back aggressively with any available object--the bear may consider you as prey! Help protect others, report all bear incidents to a park ranger immediately. Above all, keep your distance from bears!

Below is the current list of trails, campsites and shelters with posted warnings. Further down is the list of bear closures:
• Alum Cave Trail
• Clingmans Dome Trail
• Trillium Gap Trail - Grotto Falls parking area to Grotto Falls
• Laurel Falls Trail
• Little River Trail
• Pretty Hollow Gap Trail
• Rainbow Falls Trail
• Upper Forney Ridge Trail
• Double Spring Gap Shelter
• Laurel Gap Shelter
• Mount Collins Shelter
• Mount Le Conte Shelter
• Spence Field Shelter
Bear Closures:
• Backcountry Campsites 21, 24, 35, 68
• Cosby Knob Shelter
• Silers Bald Shelter
• Backcountry Campsites 18, 28, 36, 37, 38, 61, 85

Beautiful Fall Colors And Peak Times In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The park usually experiences an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountain sides from high elevation to low. However, the timing of fall color change depends upon so many variables that the exact dates of "peak" season are impossible to predict in advance.
Elevation profoundly affects when fall colors change in the park. At higher elevations, where the climate is similar to New England’s, color displays start as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry.
From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the Foothills Parkway.
The fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park’s most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories.
Autumn is both a beautiful and a busy time in the Great Smoky Mountains. The annual show of fall colors attracts huge numbers of sightseers, especially during the last three weeks of October. Areas in the park which experience the longest traffic delays are Cades Cove and Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441). Try some of these suggested autumn drives and hikes to enjoy fall leaf colors in areas of the park that are a little less crowded.
Why are fall colors so remarkable in the Smokies? One reason is the park’s amazing diversity of trees. Some 100 species of native trees live in the Smokies and the vast majority of these are deciduous.

Chimney Tops In The Fall

How do colors change? As summer ends, the green pigments in leaves deteriorate, giving other colors a chance to shine. Carotenoids, the pigment that makes carrots orange and leaves yellow, are exposed as the green fades. Reds and purples come from anthocyanins, a pigment that is formed when sugars in leaves break down in bright autumn sunlight.
September
By the later stages of September, the right ingredients are beginning to emerge, the time when cooler temperatures and sunny days mix with some rainfall to bring on a spectacular autumn color display in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The timing of color change and leaf fall is primarily sparked by the calendar; that is, the increasing length of night. As days grow shorter and nights grow longer and cooler, chemical processes in the leaf begin to paint the landscape with nature’s autumn palette.
While the typical peak of fall leaf color is at the middle to lower elevations where the greatest diversity of trees live, emerging changes above 4,000 feet begin the parade of color which then moves down the mountainsides into the valleys. The high country is still predominantly green, but fall is coming.
Sourwood, dogwood, maple, sassafras and birch trees are the first to make the change, turning red, orange and yellow. At this point, there is just a hint of color change among those early fall starters. Perhaps more notable now are the fall wildflowers including cardinal flower, black-eyed Susan, coreopsis, great blue lobelia, skunk goldenrod, southern harebell, ironweed, and a variety of asters, as well as the bright fruits on trees and shrubs such as hearts-a-bustin.
September’s suggested scenic drives:Parsons Branch Road, Newfound Gap Road and Clingmans Dome Road Suggested hikes: Albright Grove and Sugarland Mountain Trail as well as high elevation hikes to Andrews Bald or Mt. LeConte would be time well spent.
Another colorful opportunity includes a motor tour of the recently reopened Parson Branch Road, an eight-mile one-way narrow, low speed byway. The road provides motorists an opportunity to drive through a large area of mature second growth forest and experience the quiet and solitude a back-in-the-woods journey has to offer.  

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Early October
By the beginning of October, trees in the high country that are now showing bright color are the yellows of American beech and yellow birch and different shades of reds on mountain ash, pin cherry and mountain maple. In the lower elevations, a few early color changing species such as sourwood and sumac are showing bright reds now, but are scattered. Some dogwoods and maples are beginning to turn different colors in some areas as well. Fall wildflowers such as goldenrod and asters are colorful throughout the park and some blueberry and blackberry shrubs are also changing color, as well as the Virginia creeper plant.
Bright golds and yellows of American beech, yellow birch, and yellow buckeye and different shades of reds on mountain ash, pin and black cherry and mountain maple are painting the landscape. The big rounded leaves of witch-hobble are showing fine displays of color ranging from yellow to red.
The majority of the deciduous forest at 4,000 feet elevation and below is still predominantly green, but now with splashes of color dotting the slopes. Sourwood and sumac are showing bright reds; some dogwoods and maples are turning different colors in some areas as well. Fall wildflowers such as mountain gentian, black cohosh, and goldenrod are colorful throughout the park and some blueberry and blackberry shrubs are also in color, as well as the Virginia creeper plant.
Because the Great Smoky Mountains provide a range of elevations between 875 and 6,643 feet in the Park with differing moisture conditions and habitats, many trees will still produce significant color as the Park moves into its peak autumn season.
Recommendations: High elevation trails such as Sugarland Mountain Trail and Appalachian Trail, accessed at Clingmans Dome or Newfound Gap, would be good hikes for this time of year. Also, roads leading into the high country, including Newfound Gap Road, Heintooga Ridge Road, Foothills Parkway West and East, and Rich Mountain Road out of Cades Cove, are the best options for leaf seekers.

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Middle October
By mid-October at the lower elevations, fall color is nudging along. It is the sunny days and cooler nights that instigate the biochemical processes in the leaf to begin. The park continues to experience very dry and warmer-than-normal conditions. These conditions will affect the timing, duration, and intensity of fall leaf season. The peak of color at the lower elevations is over a week away. In the valleys, black gum, dogwood, sumac, and sourwood trees continue to show vivid reds. Golds are coming along on tulip tree, black walnut, birch, beech, and hickories. A few scattered maples and oaks are showing the first signs of fall colors.
A succession of warm, sunny days and cool crisp, but not freezing nights will bring about the most spectacular color display.
Some areas are showing more reds throughout the landscape than in other years. This may be due to the fact that the pigment anthocyanin, which gives color to such familiar things as cranberries, red apples, and blueberries, is in high production because of drought conditions. Anthocyanin is produced in response to lots of light and excess plant sugars within leaf cells. The carotenoids which produce yellow, orange, and brown colors are present in the green leaf but begin showing after the chlorophyll breaks down.
As the leaf color increases, so does the number of autumn leaf peekers. While scenic drives are a good way to see fall color, taking to the trails is a wonderful way to enjoy the splendors of autumn.
Recommendations: Suggested easy to moderate rated hikes through hardwood forests include Lower Mount Cammerer, Baskins Creek Falls, Little River, Old Settlers and Porters Creeks Trails. For the more hardy outdoor enthusiasts hikes that provide scenic overlooks include Sugarlands Mountain, Low Gap, Appalachian, Mt. Sterling, and Goshen Prong Trails. Roads providing views of good displays of fall color are the Foothills Parkway segments on the east and west side of the Park; Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) with its many scenic overlooks; Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail; Balsam Mountain Road; and Cove Creek Road.

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Early November
As October fades away, colors at mid elevations, from 3,000-5,000 feet, are at or slightly past peak and are very impressive. Reds are more pronounced now than in recent years, especially on the North Carolina side of the park. Colors at the very highest elevations (above 5,500’) are now past peak.
At the lower elevations, fall colors are quickly developing. The first frost of the season occurred this week in the low elevations, so the remaining leaves should begin to change color within a few days. Black gum, dogwood, sumacs, and sourwood trees continue to show vivid reds. Golds are present on tuliptree, black walnut, birch, beech, spicebush, and hickories. The peak of color at the lower elevations is still a few days away and will probably spill over into November.
It is not unusual for some autumn color to last through certainly the first week of November, but if weather cooperates autumn displays could last through mid-November as well. 
While colors are past peak in the high country and many trees have already shed their leaves, a number of species of trees in the middle elevations are still showing color. Oak trees are just beginning to change color, although their hues are somewhat muted compared to maple, hickory, and other trees. Some pockets of green can still be seen at middle to lower elevations so there is still some new color to appear in these isolated areas if mild weather continues.  
Recommendations: Good places to see fall color include Newfound Gap Road from Alum Cave Trailhead to Kephart Prong Trailhead, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Foothills Parkway East & West, and Heintooga Ridge Road to Balsam Mountain Campground. Suggested hikes include Rich Mountain Loop, Chestnut Top Trail, Smokemont Loop, Kanati Fork, and Sutton Ridge Overlook (Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail). Watch http://www.gatlinburg.com/ for weekly fall colors updates beginning in mid-September.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On The Trails - Defeat Heat Thieves

Radiation:Anytime air temperatures is below 98.6 F, bare skin vents heat. Fix cover exposed skin with gloves . a hat , a neck gaiter and a face shield . Go inside a shelter , which traps body heat .

Evaporation: During a tough hike , cooling sweat could drench your layers and drying them is a waste of energy ( unless your building a fire at campsite ) . Adjust your pace and clothing to avoid excess sweating , and slow down 30 minutes before reaching your shelter or campsite to let body heat dry your base layers .

Convection: Moving air cools skin fast that's why windchills make temperatures feel a lot cooler . Wear wind-proof outer layers , seek shelter and plan a route with minimal wind exposure , like a forest or canyon .

Conduction: Contact with fridge surfaces siphons heat as the temperatures equalize . Insulate your sleeping and sitting surfaces with your pack , sleeping pad or if you don't have a sleeping pad dry leaves .


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Top 10 Fall Hikes In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Pt. 2

6. Chimney Tops

Trail Features:Panoramic Views
  Trail Location:Newfound Gap Road
  Roundtrip Length:4.0 miles
  Total Elevation Gain:1350 feet
  Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 675 feet
  Highest Elevation:4677 feet
  Trail Difficulty Rating:6.70 (moderate)
  Parking Lot Latitude:35.63538
  Parking Lot Longitude:- 83.46979


7. Ramsey Cascade

Trail Features:
Waterfalls, Old growth forests
  Trail Location:Greenbrier
  Roundtrip Length:8.0 miles
  Total Elevation Gain:2375 feet
  Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 594 feet
  Highest Elevation:4400 feet
  Trail Difficulty Rating:12.75 (strenuous)
  Parking Lot Latitude:35.70267
  Parking Lot Longitude:- 83.3572


8. Meigs Mountain Trail
| Trail Features:                                   Quiet Forest Hike
| Trail Location:                                  Elkmont
| Roundtrip Miles:                                 4.6 miles
| Total Elevation Gain:                            661 feet
| Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:                           287 feet
| Highest Elevation:                               2744 feet
| Trail Difficulty Rating:                         5.92 (moderate)
| Parking Lot Latitude:                            35.64764
| Parking Lot Longitude:                           -83.5832

9. Abrams Falls

Trail Features:Waterfalls
  Trail Location:Cades Cove
  Roundtrip Length:5.0 miles
  Total Elevation Gain:340 feet
  Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 136 feet
  Highest Elevation:1710 feet
  Trail Difficulty Rating:5.68 (moderate)
  Parking Lot Latitude:35.59077
  Parking Lot Longitude:- 83.85293



10. Grotto Falls

Trail Features:Waterfalls, Old growth forests
  Trail Location:Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
  Roundtrip Length:2.6 miles
  Total Elevation Gain:585 feet
  Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 450 feet
  Highest Elevation:3777 feet
  Trail Difficulty Rating:3.77 (easy)
  Parking Lot Latitude:35.68037
 Parking Lot Longitude:
- 83.46243

Top 10 Fall Hikes In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Pt.1

Fall's here, and for many of us, that means that it's the best hiking season of all.
The temperatures are cooler and more comfortable for hiking. The bugs are all but gone. And could there be anything more beautiful than a forest shimmering orange,reds and gold?

1. Charlies Bunion 
Trail Features:Panoramic Views
  Trail Location:Newfound Gap
  Roundtrip Length:8.1 miles
  Total Elevation Gain:1640 feet
  Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 405 feet
  Highest Elevation:6122 feet
  Trail Difficulty Rating:11.38 (strenuous)
  Parking Lot Latitude:35.61084
  Parking Lot Longitude:- 83.42509                                               

2. Rocky Top / Thunderhead
Trail Features:Panoramic Views, Mountain Laurel
  Trail Location:Cades Cove Picnic Area
  Roundtrip Length:13.9 miles
  Total Elevation Gain:3665 feet
  Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 527 feet
  Highest Elevation:5527 feet
  Trail Difficulty Rating:21.23 (strenuous)
  Parking Lot Latitude:35.60493
  Parking Lot Longitude:- 83.77008           


3. Mt. Cammerer
Trail Features:Panoramic Views, History
  Trail Location:Cosby
  Roundtrip Length:12.0 miles
  Total Elevation Gain:2470 feet
  Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 412 feet
  Highest Elevation:4928 feet
  Trail Difficulty Rating:16.94 (strenuous)
  Parking Lot Latitude:35.75195
  Parking Lot Longitude:- 83.20590


4. Mt. LeConte (via Rainbow Falls Trail )
Trail Features:Panoramic Views, Waterfalls
  Trail Location:Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
  Roundtrip Length:13.8 miles
  Total Elevation Gain:3993 feet
  Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 579 feet
  Highest Elevation:6593 feet
  Trail Difficulty Rating:21.79 (strenuous)
  Parking Lot Latitude:35.67582
  Parking Lot Longitude:- 83.48527


5. Shuckstack Fire Tower
|Trail Features:                    Views / Wildflowers
|Trail Location:                   Fontana Village
|Roundtrip Miles:                  7.0 miles    
|Total Elevation Gain:             2120 feet
|Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:            606 feet
|Highest Elevation:                4020 feet
|Trail Difficulty Rating:          11.24 (strenuous)