Great Smoky Mountains National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
HIGHLIGHTS: Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses 800 square miles of land and 95 percent of it is forested. In the park, the Appalachian Trail follows the ridges between the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, and it crosses the highest point on the entire Trail at Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet.
This hike starts at Newfound Gap on US 441 and climbs to Ice Water Springs (5920 feet) then to Charlie’s Bunion which has outstanding views to the north. From here, the route follow the Appalachian Trail for another mile along the ridge that marks the Tennessee and North Carolina border, then picks up the Dry Sluice Gap Trail and drops over 2500 feet to the Cabin Flats Trail. The hike continues for another 0.5 miles descending to a bridge over the Tennessee Branch then arrives at a junction with the Bradley Fork Trail. From this point, the trail is relatively flat as it follows Bradley Fork along an old dirt road to Smokemont Campground. It’s much easier to walk this route down rather than up – with the Dry Sluice Trail being the most steep section on this entire hike.