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Hike - Rich Mountain Loop - Wed., Nov.20, 2013

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
Distance:   8.5 Miles 
Rating:    Moderate
Elevation Gain:   1750 feet
Driving time:  1-1/2 hours
Leader:   John Winn   865-675-6272
This is a loop hike combining three trails (Crooked Arm Ridge, Indian Grave Gap, & Rich Mountain Loop) and hiking along the ridge on the north side of Cades Cove.  The hike begins near the entrance to Cades Cove.  With no foliage on the trees, from the ridge top we will have outstanding views of Cades Cove, Tuckalechee Cove, and Townsend.    We will also pass and visit the John Oliver cabin.
This is a great hike for someone who feels comfortable doing a moderate 5 or 6 mile hike and wants to try something a little longer/harder.

Hike - Twentymile Loop - Fri., Nov.8, 2013

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
Distance:   7.5 miles
Rating:  Moderate
Driving Time: 1-1/2 hrs.
Elevation gain:  1300 feet
Leader:   Curt Sheldon   865-458-8510
This is a loop hike connecting three GSMNP trails.  The first three miles ascend the Twentymile Trail to the junction with Twentymile Loop Trail.  Twentymile Creek parallels the route most of the way, and there are many opportunities for water photography including Twentymile Cascade.   Most of the elevation gain is in the first three miles, and there are some steep sections.  The hike then follows the Twentymile Loop Trail to the descent on Wolf Ridge Trail. 
Note:  This hike requires driving the Tail of the Dragon, US Hwy.129, and some hikers have developed motion sickness on this road.

Hike - Mt. Cammerer - Wed., Oct.23, 2013

Depart at 7:00 a.m. from the Chota Center (NOTE DIFFERENT DEPARTURE TIME)
Distance:   11.2 miles round trip 
Rating:    Difficult
Elevation Gain:   2,728 feet
Driving time:  2  hours
Leader:   Terry Nyenhuis   865-206-9476
This challenging hike begins at the Cosby Campground in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  We will hike to the fire lookout building via Low Gap, the Appalachian, and Mt. Cammerer trails.  The view from the top will make all our efforts worthwhile.   We’ll have spectacular 360 degree views of the autumn landscape.

Hike - Angel Falls Overlook - Fri., Oct.11, 2013 (cancelled-govt. shutdown)

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
Distance:  6.5 miles
Elevation Gain:  Approx. 500 feet
Rating:  Moderate
Driving Time:  2 hours
Leader:   Bob Stewart   865-458-3727
This trail is in the Big South Fork Recreational Area.  It is one of the most scenic in the Big South Fork, with passages along rock faces and through boulders, past cascades, over footbridges, climbing to a dramatic finish.  The first part of the hike is relatively easy and provides very scenic views of the woods, river and rock formations.  At about 2.2 miles the trail leaves the river and begins the ascent to the overlook.  This is the only strenuous part of the hike as the trail climbs about 300 feet in about .6 of a mile through switchbacks and rock steps and between boulders.  At the top of the bluff the trail levels for the next .2 miles to the overlook.   Note that this is not a waterfall, but a scenic overlook.

Hike - Nemo Bridge - Wed., Sept. 25, 2013 (rained out) rescheduled for Fri., Oct.4, 2013 (cancelled-govt. shutdown)

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
Distance:   10 miles
Rating:    Difficult
Driving time:  1.5 hours
Elevation Gain:   800 feet
Leader:   Dolly Garnett    865-408-2547    
This hike is in a section of the Obed Scenic River within the Obed and Emory River Gorges.  The first 2.5 miles to Alley Ford is rated moderate and the final 2.5 miles is difficult as you find yourself hiking down into the Obed basin where there are rocky and steep stairs and rocks to climb over.  We will hike to Break Bluff which offers a beautiful view of the river gorge.  Hiking sticks are strongly recommended to maneuver the difficult rocky areas. 

Hike - Alum Cave - Fri., Sept. 13, 2013

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota Center
Distance:   6 miles
Rating:   Moderate
Driving Time:  1.5 hours
Elevation Gain:   2700 feet
Leader:  Hamish deWilde     860-716-4016
This hike is one of the best in the Smokies.  It follows the banks of the Alum Cave Creek through tall rhododendrons and passes through a rock tunnel known as Arch Rock.  The Alum Bluffs were mined up until the Civil War and produced Epsom salts, saltpeter and magnesia.

Hike - Meigs Creek/Curry Mtn. - Wed., Aug.28, 2013

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
Distance:    8.7 miles
Elevation Gain:    900 feet
Rating:  Moderate
Driving Time:    1 hr. 15 min.
Leader:   Tom Ringenbach    865-458-0915    
The trailhead for Meigs Creek Trail is at The Sinks, two miles from Metcalf Bottoms on Little River Road.  We will have an immediate photo op at The Sinks, and shortly thereafter at Meigs Falls.  During the 3.5 miles we are on this trail we will encounter 18 (we counted them) stream crossings.  Typical low water in late August hopefully should make these easy rock hops.   At the Meigs Mountain Trail, we will hike 1.9 miles to the Curry Mountain Trail, which will return us to Metcalf Bottoms.  There is a small family cemetery along the way to visit and a couple of scenic openings in the trail as well.  We should reach Campsite 19 about lunchtime, providing a good place for our break.

Hike - Charlie's Bunion - Fri., Aug.9, 2013

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center
Distance:  8.1 miles
Elevation Gain:  1640 feet
Rating:  Difficult
Driving Time:   Approx. 2 hours
Leader:  Larry Peck    865-408-1677
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 a distant observation of the North Carolina Smokies.  At the 2.7 mile point, you will pass Icewater Spring Shelter.  This water is cold, but should not be drunk without  treatment.  Many hikers rate the next two miles as some of the most spectacular in the Smokies.  The view from the Bunion makes all the effort worthwhile.

Hike - Lakeshore Trail - Wed., July 31, 2013 - cancelled, rain

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Depart at 7:00 a.m. from Chota Visitor Center (Note early departure)



Distance:  12.3 miles from campsite #76 to campsite #86

Elevation gain:  First 9 miles, flat and 100-200 feet gain, 600 feet gain in the 10th mile and a quarter

Rating:  Difficult (because of length)

Driving time:  1 1/2 hours to Fontana Lake

Boating time:  45 Minutes to campsite #76, 30 minutes back from campsite #86

Boating Cost: $40

Leader:  Bev Hawkins

Hike - Glendale Loop/Coytee Trail, East Lakeshore Trail - Fri., July 12, 2013

Friday July 12, 2013

Depart at 8:00 am from the Chota Center


Glendale Loop/Coytee Trail (East Lakeshore) Trail

Distance: Approximately 5 miles

Rating: Easy

Driving Time:  30 Minutes

Leader: Bob Kutschera 408-3092


This trail is a pleasant hiking experience winding along the shoreline of Powerline Cove and the main channel of Tellico Lake. Last year East Lakeshore Trail was placed on the National Register of Hiking Trails. 

Hike - Spence Field - Wed., June 26, 2013

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota (Cooper) Center
Distance:   10.5 miles round trip
Rating:    Strenuous
Driving time:  1.25 hours
Leader:  Hamish deWilde  860-716-4016
This trail begins at the circular parking area of the picnic area at Cades Cove.  I have been up to Spence Field three times this year and it is quite a challenge.  The trail is very rocky and steep but the rewarding view at Spence Field is well worth the effort.  Most of the guide books describe the trail as one of the most rewarding in the park.  A good supply of water and high energy food is needed especially if the weather is hot.  We should arrive at Spence Field in time for lunch.  At the shelter near Spence Field there is a spring, but the water needs to be treated.  Hiking pole(s) are very helpful on this hike.

Hike - Gregory Bald - Fri., June 14, 2013

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota (Cooper) Center
Distance:    11.2 miles round trip  
Elevation Gain:   3000 feet
Rating:   Strenuous
Driving Time:    Approx. 2.0 hours
Leader:   John Winn    865-675-6272
This out and back hike turns around at one of the prettiest destinations in the park, Gregory Bald.  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 - Mt. LeConte via Rainbow Falls - Wed., May 22, 2013

WEDNESDAY, May 22nd, 2013
Depart at 7:00 a.m. from the Chota (Cooper) Visitor Center
MT. LeCONTE via Rainbow Falls and returning Bullhead Trail)
Distance:   13.7 miles
Rating:  Difficult Very Strenuous
Elevation Gain:  3820 feet
Driving Time:  2+ hours each way
Leader:  Bob Stewart 865-458-3727
Points of interest will be Rainbow Falls, magnificent overlooks and vistas (weather permitting), and of course Mt. LeConte and the Lodge. The Llamas should be at the top when we are there for lunch. It will be a long but rewarding hike. Please bring extra trail snacks, lunch and water on the hike. Fresh water will be available at the Lodge for the hike back down.

Hike - Dark Hollow Loop at Big Ridge State Park - Fri., May 10, 2013

Friday, May 10th, 2013
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota (Cooper) Visitor Center

Dark Hollow Loop at Big Ridge State Park
Driving Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Distance of Hike: 5.5 mile loop
Elevation Gain: Approximately 450 feet
Rating: Moderate (won’t beat you up, but you’ll know you’ve been hiking)
Leader: Gail Eades 865-599-6785
Dark Hollow Loop trail winds partially along the Norris Lake and Big Ridge Lake. There is a short, but steep spur that offers a beautiful overlook of Norris Lake before the trail starts a loop through dense, beautiful forest. Hiking along the loop trail we pass two small cemeteries, stopping to look for Maston Hutchinson’s headstone. He’s the spirit that haunts the Ghost House Loop in the park.

Hike-White Oak Sinks & Spruce Flats Falls-Wed., Apr.24, 2013

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota (Cooper) Center
Distance:   Approx. 4 miles (White Oak Sinks) and 2 miles (Spruce Flats Falls)
Rating:    Easy
Driving time:  1.25 hours
Leader:  Tom Ringenbach    458-0915
The White Oak Sinks trail is not an official Smoky Mountain Park trail but it is one of the 3 or 4 best trails in the Park for viewing wildflowers.  One can expect to see the floor of the Sinks covered with purple Phlox.  It is also one of the few places in the Park where you can see Shooting Stars and Blue Bells.  If the time is correct we may also see Yellow Lady Slippers.  It can be a very exciting wildflower hike.  There is also an unusual “disappearing” waterfall and the “Bat Cave”!
We are also offering an optional 2 mile hike that starts just down the road at the Tremont  Institute.  The  highlight of this short hike is the Spruce Flats Falls, which are a very nice scenic destination for this hike.

Hike-Middle Prong to Indian Flats Falls-Fri., Apr.12, 2013

FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Chota (Cooper)  Center
Distance:   5 to 8.2 miles (depending on when you turn around)    
Elevation Gain:   1000 feet (gradual)
Rating:   Easy
Driving Time:  1.25 hours
Leader:   Larry Peck   408-1677
This is an in and out hike.  The trail is one of the most beautiful sections of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park near Townsend and Tremont.  The trail follows the rushing Middle Prong of the Little River, and features overlooks of waterfalls, cascades and rapids cut through a narrow gorge.  This hike follows a wide old logging railroad bed up a gentle slope with 1000 feet of gain.  The hike is 5 to 8.2 miles depending on if you continue on to Indian Flats Falls.  The Indian Flats Falls are a strand of four falls on Indian Flats Prong.  Since the hike is between 2000 and 3000 feet elevation, the temperature will be lower than in Tellico Village.  We plan to eat lunch along the trail on a bridge over the river.

Hike - Oswald Dome Trail - Wed., Mar.27, 2013

Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Chota Center (across from Marathon station)
Distance:    8 miles in and out
Elevation Gain:    2250 feet   
Rating:  Moderate
Driving Time:   1 hour to Reliance, TN 
Leader:   Gail Eades   865-599-6785
This well maintained trail reaches the top of Oswald Dome on Bean Mountain for some spectacular winter views west and north in the Cherokee National Forest.   The first 2.7 miles is a steady uphill grade to the almost flat top of the mountain, then the trail levels out to a moderate grade. 

Hike - Abrams Falls - Fri., Mar.15, 2013

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2013
Depart at 8:00 a.m. from Sloans Village Hardware Parking Lot
Distance:  Approx.  11 miles
Elevation Gain:  Approx. 1400 feet.  Several steep sections
Rating:  Moderate to strenuous
Driving Time:   45 minutes
Leader:    Gary Glesser      865-657-9677
This is an in and out hike to Abrams Falls from the Abrams Creek Ranger Station via the Cooper Road trail, Little Bottoms Trail and Abrams Falls Trail.  The trails consist of up and down terrain with a few steep portions and some rock hopping stream crossings.  Most of the trail follows Abrams Creek offering great views of the rushing water and mountain ridges.

Nils Johannesen

Nils Johannesen passed away February 20, 2013, on the trail, doing what he loved. He will be missed.


Hear Barbara Allen, 71, talk about her 2180 mile trek of the AT from Georgia to Maine



Tuesday, February 12, 7pm at the Tennesse Valley Unitarian Universalist Church 2931 Kingston Pike

Last year at the age of 71, Allen walked the AT from Georgia to Maine. Along the way she forged deep friendships with her fellow thru-hikers and by the time she reached the trail's end atop Mount Katahdin, she had lost 35 pounds.

Allen's presentaton is hosted by the Harvey Broome Group of the Sierra Club. The event is free and open to the public.