Chasteen Creek Trail
ElevationAscent: 2,454' 748 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 4,832' 1,473 m
Low: 2,379' 725 m
GradeAvg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 29% (16°)
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“A lateral connector that links the Bradley Fork drainage with the crest of Hughes Ridge.”— Ken Wise
The trail continues beyond the campsite on its wide level track for 200 yards before crossing Chasteen Creek on a wooden bridge. At this juncture, the grade stiffens noticeably as the trail charts a course parallel to the stream. About a half-mile above the bridge, an access path drops down sharply from the left side of the trail heading to Chasteen Creek Falls, a fifty-foot waterslide attractively sequestered in heavy thickets of woody undergrowth and large second-growth hemlocks and poplars. The rock surface over which the falls flow is not steeply pitched, and thus the stream does not display a forceful plunge.
Beyond the access to the falls, the Chasteen Creek Trail continues climbing while edging away from the main stream to follow an upstream course along a nameless tributary. The trail soon crosses the tributary at a switchback. Beyond the crossing, the trail becomes considerably rockier and narrows appreciably. Following the tributary downstream, it returns to Chasteen Creek, turns, and resumes its upstream course.
For the next mile, the trail continues climbing steeply while maintaining a course high above Chasteen Creek. When the trail descends to the stream, it actually crosses a headwater tributary of Chasteen Creek and then immediately intersects an access path leading into the Upper Chasteen Backcountry Campsite (#48).
Above the campsite, the steep climb resumes while the track degenerates into a bed of large loosely shifting stones that roll underfoot. After almost a half-mile, the trail diminishes to a single-file track and then begins negotiating at irregular intervals a series of switchbacks and feeder streams. Except for a couple of excursions through dry-ridge conditions, second-growth hardwoods remain the primary forest cover. A mile and a half above the campsite, the trail rolls up onto the crest of Hughes Ridge and terminates into the lower terminus of the Hughes Ridge Trail.
This content was contributed by author Ken Wise. For a comprehensive hiking guide to the Great Smoky Mountains and to see more by Ken, click here.
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Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park