“A trail that leads directly from the end of Forge Creek Road to Gregory Bald Trail.”
— Max Willner
Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Great Smoky Mountain National Park closes secondary roads on a seasonal schedule due to snow. Schedules can be found here
All campsites must be registered with the park. Backcountry rules and regulations can be found here
This trail begins at the end of Forge Creek Road near Parsons Branch Road. The trailhead has a small parking area.
The trail follows Forge Creek up until it reaches Campsite #12. There's plenty of water at this site. From here, it's roughly a 2,400' climb towards Rich Gap - a bit more of a challenge than the first two miles. Runners will gain elevation quickly, though, and eventually reach the Appalachian Trail and Gregory Bald Trail
. The four-way intersection also cuts south as Long Hungry Ridge Trail
, towards the Twentymile Ranger Station.
Flora & Fauna
The Smokies are home to more than 1,600 species of plants, most of which produce an abundance of flowers in the spring. These species include mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea, and many others. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May. To learn more about the plants of the Smokies and even get a trees and shrubs checklist, visit the park's website
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