Caldwell Fork Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,464' 446 m
Descent: -65' -20 m
High: 4,032' 1,229 m
Low: 2,633' 802 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)
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“A pedestrian/horse trail along a scenic stream. Lots of good loop options off of this trail.”— Max Willner
The trail mostly follows the creek and is heavily forested, so it's a great opportunity to watch some of the local wildlife. Running southbound from the ranger station, the incline is moderate over 5.6 miles.
After passing the Boogerman Trail junction, the trail eventually leads to another junction, connecting the Big Fork Ridge Trail and the McKee Branch Trail. Further south, Hemphill Bald Trail splits off of the trail. If runners continue along Caldwell Fork Trail, they will come upon the Caldwell Fork Campsite (#41). The trail eventually leads to Rough Fork Trail.
This is a great trail for the number of diverse options it offers. Backpackers have the option of multi-day loops from the Cataloochee Ranger Station, and there are a variety of loop options that are great to explore in a single day outing.
As for local fauna, black bears are common in the area, along with white-tailed deer and 31 species of salamanders. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, notably the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus). For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage.
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Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park