Of course one of the best parts about this lifestyle is I get to pursue one of my great passions: hiking! So, I am going to keep a log of my hikes. Hopefully after a few years of this I will have a nice collection of hike reviews for my readers to take advantage of.
Name: Smokemont Loop Trail
Location: Hike begins and ends in Smokemont Campground which is located 3.5 miles north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in GSMNP outside of Cherokee, NC
Distance: 6.5 mile loop
Difficulty: 7/10 Moderately difficult. Not recommended for young kids without hiking experience. The first half of the hike is easy, but there is a 2.5 mi section that has a very respectable climb. You are rewarded with a decent view.
Features: 7/10 Very Nice A good portion of the trail follows a very pleasant and sometimes swift stream. This is a great fishing stream. I witnessed one fly fisherman snag a nice trout! In addition to the stream, the flora is nice with hardwood forests, wildflowers, the longest foot bridge in GSMNP, and an old church to explore. The view from the top is a decent reward 3/4 seasons and probably spectacular in the winter.
Solitude: 9/10 Excellent Being that this hike starts and ends at a popular campground I expected to run into several other hikers…but I never saw a soul. It was a gorgeous day and the campground was busy, so I assume the somewhat difficult climb on this hike is a deterrent for the casual camper.
Overall Experience: 7/10 Very Good This hike is pleasant and challenging with decent aesthetics. Better views at the top would have bumped it to an 8.