Springhouse Branch Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,564' 477 m
Descent: -1,937' -590 m
High: 4,071' 1,241 m
Low: 2,170' 661 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 29% (16°)
Popular runs nearby
Silers Bald Loop
19.6 mi 31.5 km • Loop • 4,326 ft Ascent 1318.45 m Ascent
Andrews Bald Out and Back
3.6 mi 5.8 km • Out and Back • 806 ft Ascent 245.82 m Ascent
Lakeshore Tunnel Loop
3.2 mi 5.1 km • Point to Point • 690 ft Ascent 210.18 m Ascent
Indian Creek to Deep Creek Loop
10.6 mi 17.0 km • Loop • 1,697 ft Ascent 517.37 m Ascent
Charlies Bunion Out and Back
8.0 mi 12.8 km • Loop • 1,632 ft Ascent 497.37 m Ascent
Kephart Prong Trail
4.1 mi 6.5 km • Out and Back • 842 ft Ascent 256.65 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“A steady climb and descent linking two backcountry camps.”— Ken Wise
Three-quarters of a mile past the campsite, Mill Creek is crossed on a footlog. After the crossing, the trail heads northwesterly up the narrow Springhouse Branch Hollow. Immediately to the right, a stone wall ranges along the edge of a field.
A half-mile beyond the stone wall, the trail crosses Springhouse Branch and enters a lush environment of old-growth cove hardwoods. At this juncture, the grade becomes slightly steeper as the trail heads south along the flank of Forney Ridge. In places, the path is quite rocky and in others, visited by seepages.
After another half-mile, the trail turns right, the grade moderating considerably, and the track becoming soft underfoot, cushioned by leafy detritus from shading oaks and maples. Eventually the trail breaks out into an open forest before dropping into Board Camp Gap.
Upon leaving Board Camp Gap, the trail enters a steep modulating climb over a course cushioned by layers of fallen leaves. After a half-mile, it briefly follows along a level ridgeline before beginning a modulating descent. From here, the trail turns and descends on a northerly three-mile course.
After descending little more than a half-mile, it crosses the upper end of Bee Gum Branch and settles into a slow sinuous journey around the southern flank of Rough-hew Ridge and into the Bee Gum Branch drainage. In places, the trail is saturated with seepages, and in others it follows stretches of dry ridge. A couple of minor feeder streams and an increase in seepages herald the approach to a wide shallow crossing of a tributary of Bee Gum Branch.
At the stream crossing, the trail reaches a wide bottomland where the remains of an old Civilian Conservation Corps Camp can be seen. To the right is Backcountry Camp 71, CCC. The trail skirts the lower side of the camp and terminates into the Forney Creek Trail near an imposing two-story chimney.
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.
About a half mile past the crossing at Springhouse Branch the moist shady environment features wood-betony, black cohosh, Jack-in-the-pulpit, crimson bee-balm, trillium, foamflower, may-apple, blood-root, yellow mandarin, rue anemone, and other.
Before crossing the Bee Gum Branch, runners will travel through the recovering slope of a dry-ridge hardwood mix of chestnut oak, black locust, pignut hickory, ash, Fraser magnolia, cucumber tree, and red maple.
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Need to Know
Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.
Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park