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Hike - Indian Boundary/Huckleberry Bald - Wed., Oct.25, 2017

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER  25, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
 
INDIAN BOUNDARY/HUCKLEBERRY BALD
 
Indian Boundary Lake
Distance:  3.6 mile loop
Rating:   Easy
Driving Time:  1-1/2 hours
Leader:   Bob Kutschera   865-356-1086  bkkutch@yahoo.com
Indian Boundary is a 200 acre lake just off the Cherohala Skyway.  This path follows the shoreline of this lake and the combination of this hike and the magnificent vistas from Huckleberry Bald both on the Cherohala Skyway will make for a wonderful day on the trails.
 
Huckleberry Bald
Distance:  2.5
Rating:  Easy
Driving time from Indian Boundary:  30 minutes
Huckleberry Bald is an in and out hike just off the Cherohala Skyway.  This short trail leads up a gradual slope through a thicket of dwarfed trees and shrubs to the bald above.  The bald (mountain top) rests in a sea of high grass overlooking the surrounding mountains, foliage and deep valleys.  It is a magnificent viewing area at 5000+ feet.  

 

Hike - Twentymile Loop - Fri., Oct.13, 2017

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center 
 
TWENTYMILE LOOP
Distance:   7.5 Miles  
Rating:    Moderate
Elevation Gain:   1000 feet
Driving time:  1-1/2  hours
Leader:   Bruce Fulton   865-657-3163  fultonb@outlook.com
 
This is a loop hike connecting three GSMNP trails.  The first three miles ascend the Twentymile Trail to the junction with the Twentymile Loop Trail.  Twentymile Creek parallels the route most of the way and there are many opportunities for water photography including Twentymile Cascade.  There is 1000 feet of elevation gain on this trail, and there are some steep sections.  The hike then follows the Twentymile Loop Trail to the descent on Wolf Trail.  
Note that this hike requires driving the Tail of the Dragon, US Hwy. 129, and some hikers have developed motion sickness on this road.

 

Hike - Chickamauga Battlefield - Wed., Sept.27, 2017

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
 
CHICKAMAUGA BATTLEFIELD
Distance:   10 miles, rated moderate
Rating:  Moderate
Driving Time:   2 hours
Leader:   Dolly Garnett   865-556-5014  dandbgarnett@charter.net
 
This historical hike will follow trails on the battlefield where we will view pyramidal (3-sided) monuments, state monuments, historical markers and historical cabins.  We will start at the Visitor Center and view a 25-minute orientation film at 10:00 before we begin the hike.   This is a fairly level trail, but rated moderate for the distance.   After the hike some hikers may wish to spend more time viewing the battlefield in their vehicle, as well as at the Visitor Center where there are many exhibits on the  Civil War era as well as exhibits specifically on the 1863 Campaign for Chattanooga.  There is also the Fuller Gun Collection, which is one of the best displays of military small arms in the U.S.  We can arrange carpools accordingly for those who wish to spend more time after the hike.

 

Hike - Virgin Falls - Fri., Sept.8, 2017

FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 8, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
 
VIRGIN FALLS – BOWATER POCKET WILDERNESS AREA
Distance:    11 miles
Rating:  Difficult
Driving Time:   2 hours
Elevation gain:   800 feet
Leader:   Bruce Barbre  865-458-3559  bruceb612@gmail.com
 
This trail is one of the most interesting and beautiful trails in Tennessee.  It features scenic overlooks and passes by several waterfalls and cascades including Virgin Falls where the stream emerges from a cave and crashes 110 feet into a sinkhole.

 

Hike - Glendale Loop & Coyatee Trail (East Lakeshore Trail) - Wed., Aug.23, 2017

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
 
GLENDALE LOOP/COYATEE TRAIL (EAST LAKESHORE TRAIL)
Distance:  2.2 - 5 miles (using short cut option is available)
Rating:   Easy
Driving Time:  30 min.
Leader:   Bob Kutschera   865-408-3092   bkkutch@yahoo.com
 
This trail is a pleasant hiking experience winding along the shoreline of Powerline  Cove and the main channel of Tellico Lake.  
East Lakeshore Trail was placed on The National Register of Hiking Trails.
Please refer to the following link for directions and a trail map you can save for future hikes.
http://tellicowater.org/documents/Complete%20ELT%20Map.pdf  
Hiking boots and hiking sticks are recommended. Driving directions will be provided the morning of the hike.
Bring water and a trail snack. Carpooling is recommended, passengers are asked to contribute $2 to help cover gas, etc.

 

Hike - Laurel Falls & Cove Mountain Trails - Fri., Aug.11, 2017

FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
 
COVE MOUNTAIN TO LAUREL FALLS (shuttle)
Distance:    12.5 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1700 feet  
Rating:   Difficult
Driving Time:  1-1/2 hours
Leader:   Terry Nyenhuis   865-206-9476   terrynyenhuis@gmail.com
 
We will drive to Sugarlands Visitor Center to consolidate for the trip back to begin the shuttle at the famous Laurel Falls Trail.  In 1.3 miles the 75’ waterfall appears for our enjoyment.  The difficult 1700’ climb over 4 miles is rewarded with a view at the top, a look at the air quality monitoring station, and the junction with Cove Mountain Trail.  This beautiful, comfortable walk has some views, waterfalls, and hopefully we will see some mountain laurel, azaleas, and rhododendron blooming on our 2700’ decent in 8.5 miles.
Hiking boots and hiking sticks are recommended. Driving directions will be provided the morning of the hike.
Bring water and a trail lunch. Carpooling is recommended, passengers are asked to contribute $6 to the driver.
 

Hike - Bald River Falls - Wed., July 26, 2017

WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
 
BALD RIVER FALLS
Distance:   6 miles
Elevation Gain:  Gradual with some steep sections
Rating:    Moderate
Driving time:  40 minutes
Leader:    Thom Lewis  865-458-3829  thom.lewis.8@gmail.com
 
This trail starts at Bald River Falls in the Cherokee National Forest.  The hike is rated moderate due to some short steep sections.  The river scenery is beautiful and refreshing.  After completion of the hike, those who are interested may meet for lunch at Tellico Plains Bakery as well as pick up some of that yummy pastry and bread.

Hike - Laurel Falls (Bowater) - Fri., July 14, 2017

FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
 
LAUREL FALLS (Bowater Pocket Wilderness)
Distance:  6 miles (7.2 with extension)
Elevation Gain:  1200 feet
Rating:   Moderate but with rocky footing (extension is strenuous)
Driving Time: 1 hr. 45 min.  
Leader:   Bev Hawkins   865-406-0297  bevhawkins@aol.com
 
The trail starts at an abandoned coal mine area along Richland Creek providing multiple rapids and natural pools.  Some of the trails are formed of rock and some maneuvering over and under large rock areas are necessary.  The primary hike will end at Laurel Falls, a beautiful 80 foot waterfall.  The adventurous might consider a steep and strenuous extension of a mile or so for a view at the top of the plateau above the falls.

Hike - Gregory Ridge Trail to Gregory Bald - Fri., June 23, 2017

FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2017
Depart at 7:00 a.m. from Chota Center
NOTE CHANGE IN START TIME
 
GREGORY RIDGE TRAIL TO GREGORY BALD
Distance:    11.4 miles  
Elevation Gain:   2300 feet
Rating:   Difficult
Driving Time:    Approx.  2 hrs. 10 min.
Leader:   Thom Lewis  865-458-3829  thom.lewis.8@gmail.com
 
This out and back hike turns around at one of the prettiest destinations in the park.  Gregory Bald is famous for its flame azaleas, large shrubs with beautiful orange-red clusters of flowers.  We hope the hike coincides with maximum bloom, when the Bald is alive with flame.
The trail to the Bald begins in the back of Cades Cove (we must drive the loop).  It climbs steadily and unrelievedly uphill, with the last quarter mile being as steep as any trail in the park.  The Bald is on the main spine of the Smokies, and you can feel the change in climate, so even on a warm day, bring a light jacket.  You will need it after the exertion of the climb.  As with any spectacular reward, this one takes effort.  On the way down you can congratulate yourself for seeing a special part of the park that only a hardy few can experience.

Hike - Bob Stratton Bald/Hangover - Fri., June 2, 2017

FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
(This hike is rescheduled from May 12, 2017)
 
BOB STRATTON BALD/HANGOVER (optional)
Distance:  6 or 12 miles
Rating:   Moderate or Difficult
Driving Time:   1.5 hours
Elevation Gain:  Approx. 900 feet
Leader:  John Winn  865-824-6200   john.winn@gmail.com

 

Hike - Alum Cave Trail to Mt. LeConte - Fri., June 9, 2017

FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2017
Depart at 7:00 a.m. from Chota Center
NOTE CHANGE IN START TIME
 
MT. LECONTE (Alum Cave Trail)
Distance:  10 miles   
Elevation Gain:  2600 feet
Rating:  Difficult
Driving Time: 1.75 hours
Leader:  Ed Walinski  865-657-4646  edwalins1954@gmail.com
 
This route up LeConte will begin at the Alum Cave Trail parking area on US 441 toward Newfound Gap and Cherokee.  Highlights include Arch Rock, Alum Cave Bluff, LeConte Lodge and views from High Top at an elevation of 6593 feet.  The lodge also has a small store where those interested can purchase the latest t-shirt.
Please keep in mind that weather conditions at these elevations can be more extreme than at lower elevations.  Water is available at LeConte Lodge.  

Hike - Wildcat Falls - Wed., May 24, 2017

WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
WILDCAT FALLS
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: Difficult
Driving Time: Approx. 1.75 hours
Elevation gain: 1000 feet
Leader: Tom Ringenbach 865-201-9014 tommamier@gmail.com
 
This hike is in the heart of the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Creek Wilderness Area. One website rates Wildcat Falls among the five best waterfalls in East Tennessee. This is a six mile, in-and-out hike to reach the falls. We will descend 1000 feet in the first 1.5 miles, which means we must eventually climb back up! We will make three stream crossings going in and the same three returning. If the water is low enough, these should be rock hops, but water shoes may be advisable.
 
Note that we reach the trailhead (Big Fat Gap) via U.S. 129 (the Dragon), whose twists and turns some may find difficult on the stomach.
 

Hike - Appalachian Trail to Charlie's Bunion - Fri., May 19, 2017

FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2017 (RESCHEDULED FROM APRIL 7)
Depart at 7:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
NOTE CHANGE IN START TIME
CHARLIE’S BUNION
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1640 feet
Rating: Difficult
Driving time: 2 hours
Leader: Ed Walinski 865-657-3636 edwalins1964@gmail.com
 
This challenging trail begins at Newfound Gap in Smoky Mountain National Park. The trail traverses some of the most spectacular views in the Smokies. The steady climb over the course of the first two miles will lead to distant observation of the North Carolina Smokies. Many hikers rate the next two miles as some of the most spectacular in the Smokies. This is an in and out hike. The view from the Bunion makes all the effort.
 

Hike - Bob Stratton Bald/Hangover - Fri., May 12, 2017 (MOVED TO JUNE 2)

FRIDAY, MAY 12, 2017 (MOVED to JUNE 2)
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
 
BOB STRATTON BALD/HANGOVER (optional)
Distance: 6 or 12 miles
Rating: Moderate or Difficult
Driving Time: 1.5 hours
Elevation Gain: Approx. 900 feet
Leader: John Winn 865-824-6200 john.winn@gmail.com
 
Bob Stratton Bald is a classic southern mountain bald located off the Cherohala Skyway at an elevation of 5360 feet with views of the Unicoi Mountains as well as the Joyce Kilmer Wilderness Area. Hangover is a rocky promitory three plus rugged miles beyond Bob Stratton Bald.  It offers one of the best mountain views in all of East TN. You can see both peaks from the Tellico Parkway as you head south down the hill near Sequoyah Drive.
 
The drive up the Cherohola Skyway will take care of most of the elevation gain; however, there is one steep section on the walk to Bob Stratton Bald where we will climb about 800 feet in one mile. We will have lunch at the Bald.  After lunch we are planning for many hikers to turn around.
 
For those who may want to continue, we will have an optional extended hike to Hangover Lead, 12.3 miles round trip.  Hangover Lead is a difficult rocky hike on a ridgeline, but the view is one of the best in East TN.  You can see  the Little Tennessee River Valley from Santeetlah Lake near Robbinsville to the 411 bridge in Vonore.  The portion of Hwy. 129 known as The Dragon runs through the valley far below and the Smokies stretch out in the distance in the center of the view.
 

Hike - Porters Creek - Wed., April 26, 2017

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
 
PORTERS CREEK
Distance: 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
Rating: Moderate
Driving time: 90 minutes
Leader: George Zola 614-937-0767
 
It would be hard to find a better spring hike than this one. For wildflower lovers, this is it. There’s fringed phacelia, bishop’s cap, several trillium and violet species, mayapple, blue cohosh, geranium, Fraser’s sedge, toothwort and phlox. If the flowers aren’t enough, there’s Fern Branch Falls, a surprisingly high waterfall which tumbles over mossy rocks and logs.
 

Hike - Appalachian Trail to Charlie's Bunion - Fri., April 7, 2017

FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 2017
Depart at 7:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
NOTE CHANGE IN START TIME
 
CHARLIE’S BUNION
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1640 feet
Rating: Difficult
Driving time: 2 hours
Leader: Ed Walinski 865-657-3636 edwalins1964@gmail.com
 
This challenging trail begins at Newfound Gap in Smoky Mountain National Park. The trail traverses some of the most spectacular views in the Smokies. The steady climb over the course of the first two miles will lead to distant observation of the North Carolina Smokies. Many hikers rate the next two miles as some of the most spectacular in the Smokies. This is an in and out hike. The view from the Bunion makes all the effort.
 

Hike - Appalachian Trail / Sweat Heifer Creek / Kephart Prong - Wed., Mar.22, 2017

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
 
APPALACHIAN TRAIL/SWEAT HEIFER CREEK/KEPHART PRONG (shuttle)
Distance: 7.4 miles
Rating: Moderate
Driving Time: 1 hr. 45 min.
Elevation gain: 800 feet
Leader: Bob & Sue Lehmann 734-497-7226 suelehmann@gmail.com
 
We’ll start this hike traveling along the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap. Many panoramic views of the Smokies pop up through gaps in the trees as you hike along this ridge. As we join Sweat Heifer Creek Trail we’ll begin a long descent with spectacular views of the North Carolina Smokies and beautiful creek pools and cascades. We’ll end the hike on Kephart prong with several footbridge crossings of the Oconaluftee River and pass the remains of a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps camp. We’ll shuttle from the Kephart Prong trailhead on Newfound Gap Road back to Newfound Gap.
 

Hike - Grapeyard Ridge / Injun Creek - Fri., Mar.10, 2017

FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
 
GRAPEYARD RIDGE/INJUN CREEK (shuttle)
Distance: 7.6 miles
Rating: Moderate
Driving Time: 1 hr. 45 min.
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Leader: Janette Pacitti 865-657-9217 jpacitti@ix.netcom.com
 
This hike will have a short shuttle. Beginning the hike on Grapeyard Ridge, we will go briefly off-trail to an old home site, spring house and cemetery. Then we will rejoin Grapeyard Ridge to pass the remains of a steam engine originally intended for sawing lumber. We will have lunch at campsite 32, then continue hiking down a beautiful man-way. The man-way follows a creek where we will view remains of home sites and see a very interesting cemetery. Off-trail might involve climbing over, under or around trees.
 

Hike - Honey Creek Loop, Big South Fork - Wed., Feb.22, 2017

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
 
HONEY CREEK LOOP at BIG SOUTH FORK
Distance:  5.6 miles
Elevation Gain:   500 feet
Rating:   Moderate plus
Driving Time:  2 hours
Leader:   George Zola  614-937-0767  zola1029@gmail.com

Everything about the 5.6 Honey Creek Loop hike reeks of cool, including the names of the landmarks along the way.  There’s Echo Rock, Boulder House Falls, Ice Castle Falls and an enormous rock house called the Great Room.  Located at the south end of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Honey Creek Loop Trail is one of the park’s most rugged and challenging trails.  This trail offers a little something for everyone.  Although it is only 5.6 miles, hiking time will approach 5 hours due to beautiful scenery, creek crossings and boulder climbs.

Hike - Schoolhouse Gap Loop - Fri., Feb.10, 2017

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2017
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
 
SCHOOLHOUSE GAP LOOP
(Note change in schedule.  Cove Mountain Trail is closed due to the fires.  Hopefully this hike can
be rescheduled later  this year.)
Distance:   8.9 miles
Elevation Gain:  500 feet
Rating:   Moderate
Driving Time:  1.25 hours
Leader:  Terry Nyenhuis  865-206-9476  terrynyenhuis@gmail.com
 
We’ll begin this hike 3.9 miles towards Cades Cove from the Townsend “Y” on Laurel Creek Road.  We’ll hike 1.1 miles up the Schoolhouse Gap trail, then turn left on Turkeypen Ridge trail for 3.6 miles to Laurel Creek Road.  We’ll cross the road and hike 2.8 miles on Finley Cane trail to Bote Mountain trail.  We’ll then hike this trail downhill 1.4 miles to Laurel Creek Road a short distance from where we began.  Most of the hike will be an easy walk in the woods.  There is an elevation gain of 200 feet in the first mile, then 300 feet in the first  3/4 mile of Turkeypen Ridge trail.