“A trail with many creek crossings accompanied by lots of wildflowers and a couple of great views.”
— David Hitchcock
River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
Road is closed in the winter, so access via that road is restricted during that time of year.
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.
Lots of slippery rocks around the creek crossings, making running along this trail difficult. Like most trails in the Smokies, its full of rocks and roots making for plenty of obstacles to be avoided.
As the trail drops from Clingmans Dome
to Deep Creek, you will pass through various second growth forests, providing a variety of trees for the visitor to observe.
This trail connects Noland Divide Trail
and Deep Creek Trail
. The best way to get this is to start on Clingmans Dome
Road and head down the Noland Divide Trail
for 3.7 miles to the junction with the Pole Road Creek Trail.
The trail descends from Upper Sassafras Gap along a dry ridge through a second growth forest. Wildflowers are found along the trail as it transitions into a cooler, wet, cove environment. As the trail continues downhill, it crosses Pole Road Creek for the first of many crossings. There are several small cascades that offer great photo opportunities if you are looking at the creek by the trail. The trail runs on the left side of the creek at this point and comes to a spot where a view of a waterfall is offered through the trees. The trail continues descending as it passes through a large stand of tulip trees at the 2 mile mark.
Ahead, the trail crosses Pole Road Creek and some feeder creeks multiple times. Rock hops are the the method for getting across these water hazards, so be aware if you are on trail after rain storms have gone through the area. If there has been rain, it might be worth finding a different trail until the creeks slow down some.
Wildflowers continue to be seen alongside the trail, making it great for wildflower lovers. Finally, the valley widens out a little bit and the trail levels out. A foot-log over Deep Creek brings the trail to its end at the junction with Deep Creek Trail
At this point, you can either return to Clingmans Dome
Road via the trails you just descended, although that is a lot of climbing to reach the road. If you follow the Deep Creek Trail
south, there are several campsites (Campsites 56, 57, 58, 59, 60) for you to spend the night before arriving at the Deep Creek Campground and Ranger Station.
Flora & Fauna
Lots of wildflowers on this trail. Violets, wood betony, rosebay rhododendron, galax, yellow-fringed orchids, Turk's cap lily, Solomon's seal, bluets, foamflower, trillium, and other flowers.