This is a really cool trail because parts of it were home to hundreds of families in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This will become abundantly clear along the trail as runners will come across a large number of old homesteads and former settlements. Both parking and the trailhead are located on Ramsey Prong Road. There is an abundance of creeks and stream crossings along this trail, so runners need not worry about running short on water. Just be sure to clean/purify the water before drinking it!
The trail begins in what was once a community settlement known as Greenbrier, but most of the homesteads have been removed. It follows the little Pigeon River before splitting off towards Little Bird Branch. About a half-mile in is the Parton Homestead, which housed the ancestors of the famous country music singer and song-writer, Dolly Parton. The family cemetery is still there, near Little Bird Branch.
The trail then climbs what is known as the Copeland Divide, before dipping back down and following a series of creeks and stream crossings. About 6 miles into the run is Campsite #33, Settlers Camp. There's Redwine Creek nearby for easy water access. The trail then proceeds past Ramsey Creek (same relation to the family the Ramsey Cascades were named after) and then Noisy Creek.
The trail continues to wind along until it reaches Texas Creek, which runners will have to cross at a little over 10.5 miles into the trail. There are a couple of small waterfalls here which offer a nice place to take a break. Here, runners will see the remains of even more cabins. The trail will then follow Webb Creek, and will come across another series of homesteads at about 13 miles into the trail.
From there, runners will follow a ridge along Snag Mountain before crossing Dunn Creek and Maddron Creek. There are a lot of water crossings on this trail! It finally comes to an end at Maddron Bald Trail
. From there, runners can go straight on Gabes Mountain Trail
, left on Maddron Bald Trail
towards the trailhead near Highway 321 or right towards Maddron Bald.
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