All campsites must be registered with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park also closes secondary roads on a seasonal schedule due to snow. Schedules can be found here
Backcountry rules and regulations can be found here
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Spring — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
This is another one of the beautiful Smokies trails that follows a ridge and, in the spring, offers awesome views of flaming azaleas and wildflowers. The trailhead is located just off of Newfound Gap Road, close to the Smokemont Campground. Shortly into the run, a horse trail will connect - so watch your step!
A little over 4.5 miles into the trail is a junction with Mingus Creek Trail
. From here, runners follow Thomas Ridge and pass through Newton Bald. This was once used as a grazing area, but has since then grown over a bit. Just past the junction is the Newton Bald Campsite, #52.
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 < ahref="www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/plants.htm">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