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Bradley Fork Trail

Intermediate

Trail

7.5 mile 12.0 kilometer point to point
85% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 2,819' 859 m
Descent: -18' -5 m
High: 5,063' 1,543 m
Low: 2,263' 690 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 23% (13°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by David Hitchcock

An old road along various creeks.

David Hitchcock

Features River/Creek · Wildflowers

Closed if Newfound Gap Road (US HWY 441 between Gatlinburg TN - Cherokee NC) is closed due to snow and ice. Newfound Gap Road information can be found at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps or by calling (865) 436-1200 and dialing extension 2, 2.

A backcountry permit is required to stay in campsites and shelters. Camping is restricted to established campsites or shelters throughout the park.

Runner Notes

The first four miles is firm and well graded, making it easy to run along. After that, the trail becomes steeper and the footing less sure.

Description

The trailhead is at the far end of the D Loop in the Smokemont Campground.

If you are looking for an easy trail that follows a mountain stream, the first 4+ miles of this trail climbs gently along the Bradley Fork of the Oconaluftee River before it starts climbing steeply to the junction with the Hughes Ridge Trail. If it has been raining recently, water can be found flowing across, along and down the middle of the trail as it makes its way into the river. The trail can be muddy, so make sure you wear appropriate footwear.

The trail rises and falls for the first half mile as it works through the woods. The trail is wide and gravely for the first several miles, making it easy to navigate the trail. At mile 1.1, the trail crosses a side creek via a wooden bridge and then reaches the junction of Chasteen Creek Trail at mile 1.2. Once you pass the trail sign for Campsite #50, the trail continues along the river until you reach the Smokemont Loop Trail, which leads back to Smokemont Campground.

The trail then moves through an area with a large variety of wildflowers, making it a great place for wildflower lovers in the spring. There are a couple of creek crossings ahead via log bridges. When the trail reaches 4 miles, Cabin Flats Trail leads to Campsite #49 while the Bradley Fork Trail makes a right turn and starts climbing more steeply.

As the trail climbs up the ridge, it leaves behind the moist environs of the Bradley Fork and things become drier on the exposed ridges. The trail moves through a creek valley where the Taywa Creek makes its way downhill. Two wooden bridges cross the creek and at mile 6.0, the trail becomes steeper and narrower. At 7.3 miles, the trail ends at the junction with Hughes Ridge Trail.

At this point, there are several options for continuing your journey. You can return via the trail that you just climbed, or you can go left 2.2 miles to the Appalachian Trail (AT). If you go to the right, the trail leads 8.1 miles back to Smokemont Campground via the Hughes Ridge Trail followed by the Chasteen Creek Trail.

Flora & Fauna

There are lots of wildflowers and trees throughout the first four miles of the trail. Dwarf crested iris, foamflower, buttercups, umbrella leaf, and violets are just some of the flowers that will be encountered during the journey.

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Trail Ratings

  2.5 from 2 votes

#16

in Oconaluftee

#31029

Overall
  2.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#16

in Oconaluftee

#1,213

in North Carolina

#31,029

Overall
39 Views Last Month
1,571 Since Sep 4, 2015
Intermediate

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