KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Friends of the Smokies, a nonprofit organization, are hosting several guided hikes across Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hikes will be a chance to learn more about the history of the trail while supporting trail rehabilitation efforts.
The hikes, which vary in distance and difficulty, will be held on the second Tuesday of the month from March until December. According to the Friends of the Smokies, each hike will offer a different experience from tours of historic structures in the valleys, to high Appalachian vistas, to fields of wildflowers, and streams teeming with life.
“This is a unique opportunity to experience the Smokies in community with other hikers while supporting ‘Trails Forever,’ which provides funding for the park’s ongoing work to reconstruct and rehabilitate the most impacted trails,” said Marielle DeJong, Development Director for Friends of the Smokies. “These guided hikes offer an enriching experience.”
Each hike will be led by the ‘Hike Advisory Team,’ a group of experienced hikers in Western North Carolina. The monthly series will kick off on March 14 and participants will hike the 5.2-mile Jakes Creek Trail. This hike is an easy to moderate hike and participants will be given a tour of historic homes in the Elkmont District. Rob Howard will lead the hike. The additional hikes in the series can be seen below.
- March 14 – Jakes Creek
- 5.8 miles | Easy/Moderate
- April 11 – Smokemont Loop & Chasteen Creek Falls
- 7.5 miles | Moderate/Difficult
- May- TBD
- June 13 – Chimney Tops
- 4.4 miles | Moderate/Difficult
- July 11– Hemphill Bald from Polls Gap
- 9.4 miles | Moderate/Difficult
- August 8 – Schoolhouse Gap
- 4.4 miles | Easy/Moderate
- September 12 – Mt. Cammerer Via Low Gap
- 11.2 miles | Difficult
- October 10 – Charlies Bunion
- 8 miles | Difficult
- November 14 – Cove Mountain
- 12.4 miles | Moderate/Difficult
- December 12 – Deep Creek Waterfall Loop
- 5.5 miles | Easy/Moderate
The hikes cost $35 for non-members of the Friends of the Smokies and $20 for members. The money will go to support Trails Forever, a program supporting the restoration and rehabilitation of some of the Smokies’ most impacted trails. The Friends add that space is limited and pre-registration is required. To register, visit the Friends of the Smokies website.