Trail Run Project Logo

Beard Cane Trail

Intermediate

Trail

4.3 mile 6.9 kilometer point to point
91% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 438' 133 m
Descent: -636' -194 m
High: 1,940' 591 m
Low: 1,318' 402 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)

Dogs

No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Ken Wise

A scenic trek along an old railbed overflowing with wildflowers.

Ken Wise

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Wildflowers

Description

Starting from the 3-way trail junction, the Beard Cane Trail works its way north through a narrow pass between Hatcher Mountain and Wedge Ridge then descends steadily on a hard-packed track to cross Beard Cane Creek.

At the stream crossing, the trail picks up the railroad trace, following it until crossing Hesse Creek. In some places the gently graded track is rocky and uneven, while in others it can be loamy. After a mile, the trail approaches Beard Cane Backcountry Campsite (#11).

For the next few miles, there are no real changes in either the trail conditions or the surrounding forest environment. The exception occurs in springtime when this wet, protected environment explodes with wildflowers.

Before reaching its crossing of Hesse Creek, the trail turns away from Beard Cane Creek and enters a wide flat occupied by the Hesse Creek Backcountry Campsite (#3). Immediately beyond the Hesse Creek Camp, the trail crosses Hesse Creek and begins a steep 400-foot climb up the face of Hurricane Mountain to terminate in Blair Gap.

At Blair Gap, the Beard Cane Trail reaches the park boundary and enters an intersection with the Ace Gap 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.

Flora & Fauna

One species of wildflower along the route, rare to the Smokies but indigenous along Beard Cane Creek, is the beautiful fringed polygala. Only three to four inches tall and flowering in May, the fringed polygala bears a reddish-pink, winged bloom. It is also known as gay wings and flowering wintergreen.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Runner Notes

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.

Contacts

Rate This Trail

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In

Check-Ins

none

Trail Ratings

  2.3 from 3 votes

#5

in Abrams Creek

#31444

Overall
  2.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
67%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
33%
Trail Rankings

#5

in Abrams Creek

#599

in North Carolina

#31,444

Overall
14 Views Last Month
548 Since Jul 25, 2016
Intermediate

0%
33%
33%
33%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running