Enloe Creek Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,191' 363 m
Descent: -735' -224 m
High: 4,841' 1,475 m
Low: 3,650' 1,113 m
GradeAvg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 26% (14°)
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“A fantastic trail through one of the most remote wildernesses in the Great Smoky Mountains.”— Ken Wise
At the far end of the bridge, the Enloe Creek Backcountry Campsite (#47) is fitted deftly on a small bench, perched against a cliff high over Raven Fork.
The Enloe Creek Trail passes through the middle of the campsite and exits along the back corner. It then angles steeply up the adjacent slope on a course roughly parallel to Raven Fork. Within a quarter-mile, the trail enters a long gradual veer to the right, edging away from the Raven Fork gorge and into the Enloe Creek drainage. Enloe Creek finally comes into view about a half-mile above the campsite. During the cooler seasons when intervening vegetation is not too dense, several small waterfalls and shoals can be seen gracing the slow-moving stream.
Two miles above the campsite, the trail approaches Enloe Creek and crosses on a long slender footlog bridge. It immediately climbs through exceptionally wet and rocky terrain that is almost hazardous to traverse. A hundred yards up, the trail eases onto a more suitable track and enters an old-growth cove-hardwood forest of remarkable fecundity. Wildflowers, weeds, and low woody growth encroach on the trail which is flanked by venerable red spruces, yellow buckeyes, yellow birches, and Carolina silverbells. The riot of growth in this enclosure is unmatched by all but a few enclaves of the Smokies.
A mile above the stream crossing, the trail completes a wide double-switchback that directs the trail away from the Enloe Creek drainage and onto the east flank of Hughes Ridge. The grade remains steep and the course narrow, but conditions become somewhat less rocky. Five hundred yards above the switchback, the trail passes through a false gap and into an open forest of second-growth hardwoods. Along here the slopes are blanketed with ranks of large-flower trilliums interspersed with wild geraniums and violets. Soon the Enloe Creek Trail terminates into the Hughes Ridge Trail on the spine of Hughes Ridge.
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