Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
The Chasteen Creek Trail follows the course of an old logging road cut by the Badgett and Latham Lumber Company in the 1920s. When it leaves the Bradley Fork Trail
, the Chasteen Creek Trail follows a level track of loose stone for 130 yards before intersecting an access path on the right leading to the Lower Chasteen Backcountry Campsite (#50), one of the nicer campsites in the park.
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
Hemlocks, poplars, and hardwoods.