The trailhead is located 1.9 miles from Lake View Drive on the Lakeshore Trail.
Whiteoak Branch Trail can be muddy as it climbs a low ridge following a tributary of Gray Wolf Creek to a crossing. The trail is sandy as it moves through a pine/oak forest. Around 0.4 miles, an old roadbed cuts off to the right before the trail crosses Gray Wolf Creek via a rock hop. Climbing another ridge, the trail levels out a little bit. At 0.9 mile, a pile of chimney rocks are the only remains of an old house that once stood on the site.
The trail climbs again to a saddle on the ridge at 2,260 feet. The trail begins to descend via switchbacks as the sounds of Whiteoak Branch and Forney Creek become audible. Rhododendron and dog hobble become more prevalent in the area due the increased moisture. The trail transforms into a rocky, old roadbed that can be wet and muddy if its been raining. The trail crosses Whiteoak Branch Creek one final time before the trail reaches the junction with Forney Creek Trail
If you turn right, the trail heads up Forney Creek Trail
toward Springhouse Branch Trail
and ultimately Clingmans Dome
. If you turn left, the trail returns to the Lakeshore Trail to make for a good loop run.
If it has been raining recently, you may want to consider finding an alternate trail to run. This area of the Smokies is known for the amount of water that flows in the creeks. Heavy rains can make creek crossings trickier.
Ferns, tuliptrees, dogwoods, pine, rhododendrons, dog-hobble, and mountain laurel are just some of the varieties of plants found along the trail.
Wild hog damage can be seen, indicating that the non-native species is in the area.